Evans Scholars get involved on campus

Our Scholars have once again been getting involved with some amazing organizations! We’ll be posting new stories about what they’re up to this week, including this Q&A with current sophomore Jacob DeCoste. Jacob is a part of a growing organization on campus that is fighting hard to combat one of the most pressing issues on college campuses nationwide: sexual assault.

What is "We’re Better Than That"?
We’re Better Than That (WBTT) is a UW-Madison student organization that aims to combat the problem of sexual assault on our campus. Our organization is focused mostly around recruiting male students and emphasizing that if we as men practice what we preach, we can make a BIG difference in combating sexual assault.

What got you interested in WBTT?
When I heard the statistics about sexual assault, I couldn’t believe it. One in five women on college campuses nationwide will be sexually assaulted. On our campus, it is one in four women… let that sink in. On our campus there are about 16,000 women. That means that 4,000 of them will be sexually assaulted while in college. About 80 percent of sexual assaults go unreported. It is apparent that this is a HUGE problem on our campus and campuses nationwide. Someone needs to speak up, so why not me?

What is the most important thing being in WBTT has taught you?
The most important thing I have learned is that WE ARE making a difference. Although we can’t reach everyone on campus yet, I’ve learned to value each and every interaction we do have. Multiple people have reached out to us, including a mother whose daughter was sexually assaulted. She wrote us a letter and was so grateful that we as men are taking a stand against sexual assault. Being aware of the problem is the first step to change; the more people we educate on our campus and the community, the bigger difference we can make.

What can others do to prevent sexual violence?
Educate yourself and others around you.

Familiarize yourself with the correct definitions:
Sexual Assault – Any type of sexual contact (touching) or intercourse (penetration) done without consent.
Consent – The presence of a yes, not the absence of a no. One can NOT give consent when they’re under vulnerable conditions like under the influence of heavy alcohol consumption.

Know the four D’s of bystander intervention and practice them – INTERVENE!
Direct – Intervene in the situation and tell the offender what they are doing is wrong.
Delegate – Use the people near you to to help intervene. Collectively, you have more power to change the direction of the situation.
Delay – Address the problem at a later time.
Distract – Instead of causing a scene or being confrontational, create a distraction to direct the attention of the offender onto a less harmful topic.

Does WBTT have any events coming up that others can get involved in?
We will have a variety of events second semester, so check out our social media pages for updates! Please like us on Facebook if you would like to keep up with us.

Feel free to contact me if you’re interested in getting involved in WBTT, interested in starting a similar organization on your campus, or if you have any other questions.

Jacob DeCoste
decoste2@wisc.edu