New WI campaign aims to raise awareness for victims of sexual assault

Published: Aug. 20, 2020 at 8:00 PM CDT
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - New billboards are up in 29 counties across the badger state hoping to raise awareness about a specific issue. According to the CDC, more than one in three women and nearly one in four men will experience sexual violence in their lifetime.

‘By Your Side Wisconsin’ is a new campaign with a goal of spreading awareness on the services available to victims of sexual assault crimes.

Attorney General Josh Kaul and the Wisconsin Coalition Against Sexual Assault joined forces to bring awareness of the support services available to sexual assault victims by using billboards.

“In 29 counties there are a total of 35 billboards, and the billboards are working to raise awareness about folks who are survivors of sexual assault or their friends and family members who they can contact to get support,” said Kaul.

The 29 counties chosen are mostly rural areas. Kelly Moelitke from WCASA says this campaign is a way for the state to communicate directly to survivors in these areas and inform them of available resources.

"Often times in rural areas people are further away from services there are less services available and there can even be stronger held beliefs around misconceptions about how frequently sexual assault happens".

Friends and family members of sexual assault survivors can also take advantage of these services. Kaul told WEAU,

"Friends and family members can also suffer as a result both by knowing that a family member has been harmed but also by reaching out and connecting with support folks they can learn more about how they can assist a family member or friend who is a survivor," said Kaul.

For survivors, Moelitke says the message is clear,

“There are support services available, they will be believed, they will be supported and there are people and advocates who will be by their side regardless of how long it’s been since the incident happened”.

The state's efforts go beyond billboards.

Thursday, Kaul announced news regarding the progress of testing sexual assault kits.

“It’s critical that we pursue these cases because when a kit goes untested that means a survivor has gone without justice in their case”.

The DOJ is increasing transparency by making data public and available as they work to clear the backlog of sexual assault kits being tested.

“We hope that people do look at that data, learn from it and that we can strengthen Wisconsin’s response to sexual assault”.

WCASA also says this campaign is even more important during these times where victims may be feeling isolated and far from needed assistance.

Copyright 2020 WEAU. All rights reserved.

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