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Faces of VAWA

December 15, 2015
Shana Ware

Shana Ware

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

Many NIU employees have diligently worked to draw attention to this issue as part of the Violence Against Women Task Force and the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) Implementation Committee.

NIU Today talked to Shana Ware to learn more. As the advocacy services coordinator in the Department of Counseling and Consultation Services, Ware knows firsthand the importance of this issue.

“I work with students who have been impacted by sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking,” said Ware, who served on both the VAWA Presidential Task Force and VAWA Implementation Task Force. “The work that I do in my role as coordinator is directly connected to and impacted by VAWA, and I am grateful that I was selected to be part of such important conversations.”

Ware said her involvement allows her to not only make a difference, but to be a voice for the many individuals she serves on a regular basis.

“This work is important to me because I get the honor of advocating for individuals who otherwise may not have a voice,” Ware said. “Because I work with survivors on a day-to-day basis, I can help bring their voices to the table to systematically impact change.”

Ware said the policy is one way that “NIU can set the bar in higher education for other institutions to measure themselves against,” and provides an atmosphere for survivors to “be able to come forward and feel supported.”

“My expectation is that the institution will continue to educate individuals about the prevalence of these issues,” Ware said. “And while doing so, they will offer solutions to make individuals accountable who perpetrate these offenses, and empower our citizens to advocate for others who are impacted by this type of violence.”