Zumba for sexual assault awareness

With reports saying that the University of Wisconsin-Platteville has a higher sexual assault rate than the national average, the campus held a Zumba event to help raise awareness.

On Sept. 28 from 11 a.m.-1 p.m., Campus Programming and Relations, along with student counseling services, held a Zumba dance event open to the public on the west lawn by the Markee Pioneer Student Center.

“[We chose to do Zumba because] it has positive body movements. It’s loud and obnoxious. It makes people look twice,” senior electrical engineer major and organization liaison for CPR Greg Frechette said. “Counseling services wanted to do Zumba to raise awareness for sexual assault and we [CPR] decided to back their event and work with them.”

Normally, the Zumba event is held in the spring semester but because of these reports, counseling services thought it was a better opportunity to educate students at the beginning of the school year instead.

“Based on reports, sexual assault is a big issue on campus,” counseling service counselor Jodi Moen said.

The Spring 2015 Sexual Assault Violence Campus Climate Report revealed that 78.8 percent of UW-Platteville students experienced at least one form of sexual assault. The national average is 48 percent.

From those 78.8 percent of students, 81 percent were female-identified who experienced at least one form of assault and 17.4 percent were also female-identified who experienced at least one form of sexual violence. 89.2 percent of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and other students have responded with having experienced at least one form of harassment and 16.2 percent experienced at least one form of sexual violence.

“Well, statistics like that can be tricky. It’s well known that sexual assaults are widely underreported nationwide because of the stigma surrounding sexual assault, plus the lack of knowledge on what sexual assault is. On top of that, the justice system often fails survivors and that can lead to underreporting, as recently seen by the Brock Turner case. I would say if nothing else, having that high of a response in comparison to the national average, while unfortunate, shows that we have a campus that supports survivors and educates students and encourages them to come forward with the knowledge that something’s going to be done about it,” senior mathematics education major Cassie Roach said in an email interview.


Before the Zumba event started, statistics about sexual assault on campus were presented by students in an effort to get people talking about it and to get the conversation going.

After the statistics presentation, Zumba instructor, Amelia McConnell was presented on stage.

“I was invited by counseling to help raise awareness and to [create] positive energy,” McConnell said. “I came out and helped with a playlist about positivity. Most of the playlist was female heavy, [but all of them] were positive uplifting songs that got you to move.”

Counseling services offered some helpful tips to stop sexual assault.

“Bystander intervention. You see something, you say something. Raise awareness by not being afraid to intervene,” counseling services counselor Jason Artz said.

By keeping the conversation going and educating students on what sexual assault is, students are able to take a stand against sexual assault.

“Participate in events. Speak up when you see something and report it! Know your resources,” Moen said.