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Friday, July 28, 2017 - 3:30pm

Karol Dean, PhD, dean of the School of Social and Behavioral Science and professor of psychology, was an invited speaker at a Town Hall meeting organized by the National Organization for Women. The purpose of the June 3, 2017 gathering was to petition Congressman John Faso for his support of the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which will expire in 2018.

Although Faso did not attend the event because of a prior engagement, the gathering afforded an opportunity for concerned citizens and supporters to be heard on a key issue. Among the presenters were women who had survived rape and/or partner violence as well as advocates from agencies that support victims of sexual violence.

Dr. Dean was invited to deliver a case for continuing VAWA’s federal funding. Her opening remarks acknowledged the need to honor all survivors of sexual violence. Citing VAWA as a source of direct assistance for women and men harmed by sexual violence, Dean pointed to the organization’s indirect support in the form of counseling and related services for survivors, transitional housing, legal aid for survivors of partner violence, and training for law enforcement and prosecutors. Yet, she observed, “Researchers still don’t know enough about how to stop sexual violence. This is the real work left to be done.”

Dr. Dean concluded, “Ongoing funding from VAWA creates and maintains an environment in which prevention of sexual assault is a priority. This is why it is vital that congressional legislators continue to support federal funding of VAWA grants.”