Award Honors UMass Amherst Sexual Assualt Counseling Director

A leading sexual assault prevention organization honored the co-director of UMass Amherst’s Center for Women and Community Tuesday. As New England Public Radio’s Henry Epp reports, the National Sexual Violence Resource Center honors 23 individuals throughout the country each year.

Becky Lockwood heads up counseling and rape crisis services at UMass Amherst. She is one of the recipients this year of an award called “Visionary Voices.” Northwestern District Attorney David Sullivan says Lockwood’s work over twelve years at UMass has raised awareness of sexual violence and provided a resource for survivors.

“She’s been that heart, that soul, and that intellect to move an agenda forward, to break those barriers that we all know exist in the world of sexual violence.”

Lockwood says the number of reported sexual assaults at Umass has gone up in recent years, but she says that’s in part due to better awareness of the university’s support services. But she says more education is needed throughout the school to prevent sexual assault – especially with over four thousand new students coming to campus each year.

“Experiencing sexual violence is so disruptive to someone’s educational career, that I think we really need to think about innovative ways of providing that education to every student on campus, and we need to talk to the administration and the faculty so they know how to help someone if they receive a disclosure.”

Lockwood says the award is a recognition of the center’s day-to-day work.