Duke IDEAL, a new campaign from the Women’s Center, seeks to combat gender violence on campus beginning with the Class of 2021.

According to a February campus climate survey, 40 percent of undergraduate women and 10 percent of undergraduate men reported experiencing sexual assault before graduating from the University. The Women’s Center created the Duke IDEAL prevention campaign in response to the high rate of gender violence on campus. April-Autumn Jenkins, gender violence intervention services coordinator for the Women’s Center, heads the new program, which rolled out its initiative with first-year students during Orientation Week.

“Duke IDEAL looks at the root causes that perpetuate violence,” Jenkins said. “[It] charges us to challenge them in our personal beliefs, our relationships with others and in our community.”

Jenkins indicated that the program aims to create an "ideal" campus community that is free of gender violence, and explained the acronym of the program.

“Imagine a community that’s safe for all students, faculty and staff members, where we are Dedicated to co-create this community,” Jenkins wrote in an email. “Next, we Educate and empower everyone on the root causes of gender violence and Activate a healthy culture around alcohol, relationships, and sexual health. Finally, we leave a Legacy that speaks to our leadership in cultivating a community of safety.”

The IDEAL Community, one of the campaign’s first initiatives, provided students with a training session on how to create a community safe from gender violence. First-years participated in the program as part of their residence hall meetings during Orientation Week.

Lisa Beth Bergene, associate dean for East Campus, explained that the IDEAL Community hall meeting was designed to establish “floor expectations about safety” and to create a “positive climate” in first-year dorms.

During the meeting, resident assistants guided first-years through various scenarios that allowed them to practice appropriate ways to respond when met with situations of gender violence. The meeting concluded with residents making posters to describe how they imagine their personal legacy on campus and how others can support them in their endeavors.

Jordan Hale, director and assistant dean of new student programs, expressed satisfaction with the O-Week collaboration between the Women’s Center and his office.

“I am glad we added the content,” Hale wrote in an email. “[My office] will continue to be an office that seeks to build community here at Duke, which includes creating a space that is free from gender violence.”

Jenkins added that the IDEAL Community session was just the start of Duke IDEAL programming, which she hopes first-years will continue to attend throughout their time on campus. Future initiatives will raise awareness of gender violence and provide in-depth conversations about cultural change.

“We hope that through [the program], first-year students were able to begin having important conversations about ending gender violence and making Duke a safer place,” Jenkins wrote.