Faces of VAWA

Holly Orcutt
Holly Orcutt

Only “yes” means “yes” is the message for the NIU community now that NIU’s consent policy officially was adopted in regard to initiating sexual encounters.

Over the next few months, NIU Today will feature members of the university’s Violence Against Women Task Force and the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) Implementation Committee who have worked so diligently for more than two years to bring this issue to the forefront.

Holly Orcutt, professor of psychology, joined the task force in June 2014. With extensive expertise in trauma and violence, Orcutt is a valuable asset to the task force and implementation of the VAWA.

“Sexual assault and sexual abuse are traumatic events that are associated with higher risk for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD),” Orcutt said. “Given how common this issue is and the significant costs (on all levels), I find it hard to grasp that this would not be important to everyone.”

Orcutt said there are a number of great ideas being discussed by the implementation committee, such as providing “evidence-based prevention programs” to students and surveying them over multiple points in time to see if the prevention programs are effective.

“I am very passionate about preventing sexual violence as well as providing the best psychological treatments following interpersonal violence,” Orcutt said. “I am looking forward to continuing to contribute to the process.”

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