Faces of VAWA

Brooke Ruxton
Brooke Ruxton

When it comes to initiating sexual encounters, only “yes” means “yes” is the message for the NIU community since NIU’s consent policy was officially adopted.

Many have worked diligently behind-the-scenes on the university’s Violence Against Women Task Force and the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) Implementation Committee to bring this issue to the forefront.

NIU Today talked with Brooke Ruxton, executive director of NIU’s Counseling and Consultation Services, to learn more.

“Throughout my career working in university counseling centers, I have seen firsthand the terrible impacts of interpersonal violence on college students,” Ruxton said. “Sexual assault, domestic/dating violence and stalking are serious traumas that take away an individual’s sense of control and can bring long lasting challenges to a student’s ability to be successful, both personally and academically.”

Ruxton’s team provides free, confidential counseling and crisis services to students at NIU. In addition, they assist students who have been impacted by interpersonal violence to make sure that they have access to the full range of available support services.

It is essential, she said, to provide students with safe, confidential and non-judgmental spaces to explore their options, gain control and be empowered to begin the process of healing.

“We are fortunate at NIU to have a group of passionate and knowledgeable individuals who care very much about these issues and will continue to work to make sure that we are providing students with great information and strong resources,” Ruxton said. “This process is not something that ends, as new recommendations and ideas continue to surface every day. Going forward, we will continue to collaborate and keep this important progress moving.”

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