UW-Green Bay has Wisconsin’s first Project Beloved soft interview room

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) – The UW-Green Bay Police Department is helping to support sexual assault survivors with a new soft interview room on campus.

It’s a victim-centered approach, a first in Wisconsin, sponsored by the non-profit “Project Beloved”.

There are many obstacles when seeking justice for sexual assault survivors.

That first step is reporting what happened to them. It can be one of the toughest hurdles.

The soft interview room and a show of support from students for “Wear Denim Day” is having an impact today and beyond.

Maddie Paulsen is one of the many students wearing denim on Wednesday, showing support in a subtle way for sexual assault survivors.

Not so subtle are the displays to spread awareness.

“Denim Day comes from a woman whose rape judgment was overturned because they said her jeans were so tight you must have helped him take them off,” said Paulsen. “So he is no longer guilty and he’s going to walk free and the very next day a female official showed up to the courtroom wearing denim, because they were like, in no way is this an invitation.”

UW police officer Kelly Jones connected with Project Beloved, a non-profit based out of Texas. He gave them the dimensions of a room on campus and they put together a plan based on the science centered on survivors of sexual assault and provided the finished soft interview room for free.

“They knew what works best for everything looking at the lighting and ceilings and everything they have a whole marketing scheme for just rooms specific to us, right down to the colors of the rugs,” said Jones,

Research shows a trauma-informed approach is considered the best practice when investigating sexual assault.

“It’s not that we want to use this, but if somebody does need this, this is available,” said Jones.

It’s also about the push for survivors to know there are resources on campus available.

“Year-round, there’s always somebody there, you are believed, you are loved, we want to help you,” said Paulsen. “Even if it’s a friend, a parent, a family member, an educator, reach out to somebody.”

The important message is that when April ends, the awareness and action to make a difference does not.

You can visit the Project Beloved website to get involved.

There was also an exhibit on several UW campuses called “What Were They Wearing?” which features outfits recreated from the stories of survivors to combat “one of our culture’s most pervasive rape myths”.

Source: UW-Green Bay has Wisconsin’s first Project Beloved soft interview room

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