The Division of Student Affairs will establish a Center for Gender Violence Prevention and Intervention in fall 2022, according to a Tuesday email sent to undergraduate, graduate and professional students from Mary Pat McMahon, vice provost and vice president for student affairs, and Kimberly Hewitt, vice president for institutional equity and chief diversity officer.
The GVPI “will allow us to significantly expand Duke’s prevention and intervention efforts and improve transparency and accessibility of supports for ALL graduate, professional and undergraduate students,” the email read.
A survey conducted in spring 2018 found that 47.8% of female respondents and 13.5% of male respondents reported being sexually assaulted since matriculating to Duke.
Feedback from student leaders, campus partners and alumni inspired the new center, according to the email.
“The GVPI center will allow us to sustain efforts to create a safer and healthier environment on campus and improve transparency and access to needed supports and trainings,” the email read.
Student Affairs is currently searching for a director for the program and students will be involved throughout the selection process, according to the email.
Once Student Affairs hires a director, GVPI will hire “clinicians who will offer therapeutic services for students of all genders who are survivors of gender violence, including sexual violence, intimate partner violence, stalking, cyber sexual harassment, and sexual harassment,” the email read.
The GVPI will deploy peer educators and facilitators to prevent sexual misconduct. According to the email, Student Affairs hopes to strengthen partnerships with student leaders, including the Sexual Harassment and Assault Prevention and Education (SHAPE) Initiative, Residential Staff, and DuWell Interns to expand programming on “sexual health and well-being, gender-based violence prevention, healthy relationships, campus policies, and Federal and State laws.”
Duke has a long history of student groups advocating for sexual assault prevention. Prior to SHAPE, there was Duke Students Against Gender Violence, a coalition of student groups and campus affiliates ranging from Women’s Center Gender Violence Prevention interns to the Interfraternity Council Sexual Assault Prevention Team. However, the coalition lost its formal DSG recognition in fall 2019 after being recognized a year prior.
“While much work lies ahead, we remain wholeheartedly committed to ensuring Duke is a place where every member of the community can learn, teach, study, and work, free from sexual misconduct of any sort,” the email read. “True prevention is an ongoing collaborative effort and shared responsibility, and we remain committed to taking tangible steps toward a safer community at Duke.”
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Kathryn Thomas is a Trinity junior and news editor of The Chronicle's 118th volume.