History of the Respect Program

-          Our History

Pre 2003 – Advocacy services for students were provided in a decentralized manner by student affairs personnel and staff via the Center for Women at Emory. An information hotline was established at 404-727-RAPE. There were no sustained prevention or training initiatives.

-          2003-2004 - After increasing student input and long-time advocacy from the Center for Women at Emory, Residence Life and other partners, Emory recruits and hires a coordinator of sexual assault response. The position is housed in the Student Counseling Center and maintains both clinical duties as well as outreach responsibilities.

-          2005 - Emory hosts its first Take Back the Night Rally.

-          2007 - In order to more fully accommodate clinical demand at the Counseling Center and allow more personnel time for prevention education and outreach, the position of Coordinator of Sexual Assault Prevention Education and Response is moved to the Office of Health Promotion.

-          2007-2011 Aline Jesus Rafi, the first full-time coordinator, developed the grassroots support for this program through regular meetings with students and staff and by convening an advisory board. She made frequent guest lectures in classes and PE101. She supported the student group that would later become Alliance for Sexual Assault Prevention, supporting advocacy from Greek women and Take Back the Night. She collaborated with Residence Life and Housing, the Center for Women at Emory, the IPV Working Group and others to bring advocacy and a voice for students to these issues.  This established Emory as having a coordinated response to students affected by sexual assault. Aline also created the 2008-2011 strategic plan for her position.  

-          2011 – “Relationship violence” is added to the Coordinator title, Coordinator of Sexual & Relationship Violence Prevention Education & Response, to highlight the importance of preventing and responding to intimate partner violence and stalking.  Sexual Assault Peer Advocates had its first pilot training session in April. Lauren (LB) Bernstein came to Emory in May. She now serves as the Assistant Director of the Respect Program in the Office of Health Promotion.

-          2012 – The program was officially named the Respect Program in July 2012 after extensive needs assessment, benchmarking, and feedback from students.  The Respect Program was originally suggested by Kaylee Tuggle ‘15C, an intern in 2012-13.   The Respect Program saw increases in students seeking advocacy due to increased student engagement, advocacy, and outreach.  The Respect Program created its 2012-2015 strategic plan establishing a mission, a vision, and values as well as a focus on engaging students, the primary prevention of interpersonal violence, and social justice.  The first student staff members in the Respect Program started in Fall 2012.  Project Unspoken’s first video launched in August 2012, receiving almost 20,000 views on youtube and being recognized by universities and other organizations across the country including the Whitehouse.  

-          2013 – Meera Seshadri joined the team as Advocate for the Respect Program.  The Respect Program hosted its first conference, RespectCon, in April bringing together professionals and students from thirteen states for one day to talk about sexual assault prevention and social justice.  The Respect Program received funding to expand with a full-time Health Promotion Specialist position, focusing on prevention education.