The Sexual and Relationship Violence Prevention Education and Response program will continue this year with a new name: the Respect Program.
An initiative of the Office of Health Promotion’s subdivisional Student Health and Counseling Services, the Respect program encompasses the efforts of student staff, interns and affiliated student organizations such as the Alliance for Sexual Assault Prevention, Sexual Assault Peer Advocates and Grads Against Violence to engage the Emory community to prevent and respond to sexual assault and relationship violence.
Because most campus sexual assaults occur during the first three weeks of the semester, the Office of Health Promotion hopes that the name change will also help to further community engagement in the program, said Lauren Bernstein, the coordinator of the Respect Program and advisor for the Alliance for Sexual Assault Prevention and Sexual Assault Peer Advocates.
“We realized that the title was too long to be memorable and did not articulate our vision of creating a violence-free Emory community,” Bernstein said. “We needed to become a program with a name that reflects our vision. Students didn’t want another acronym. They wanted a name and mission that could encompass all students as we are all a part of ending violence at Emory.”
College sophomore Kaylee Tuggle, who was a summer intern with the Respect program, came up with the new name after thinking of words that encompassed what she felt were the programs’ values and purpose.
“Sexual assault prevention stems from individuals asking themselves the questions: Am I respecting this person? Am I respecting myself?” Tuggle said. “It functions for all areas of relationship violence and sexual assault â€” the perpetrator, the survivor and the bystander. It’s succinct and value-driven.”
College senior Emily Chapman, the Respect Program’s current Undergraduate Assistant, said she feels that the name change was just what the program needed.
“I want Emory to be a leader on these issues,” Chapman said. “The name really allows us to identify a unifying vision that underlies all of what we do. At a sometimes acronym-heavy university, I think that’s really powerful.”
Bernstein said that the Respect program not only responds to crises but also creates “a campus without sexual assault or abuse in relationships.”
“We are launching a new strategic plan that continues to highlight the importance of supporting survivors while also working on a community level, engaging students as leaders and working to prevent violence before it happens,” she said.
The new program bases its work on the values of respect, student engagement, social justice and inclusion, survivor empowerment, advocacy and collaboration, according to Bernstein.
Their mission statement envisions an Emory community where all students “learn, work, play and love” without experiencing or fearing sexual assault or relationship violence, she explained.
Bernstein commented that Respect Program administrators are hoping that the new name will accompany an increased passion for engagement within the Emory community in an effort to find solutions to an issue that continues to have far-reaching effects.
She remarked that those affected by sexual assault or relationship violence and need support should contact her at (404) 727-1514.
â€” By Elizabeth Speyer