Respect: Advocacy

The Office of Respect is Emory's central hub for interpersonal violence prevention and survivor resiliency. We end violence by ending oppression.

If you are seeking support or someone who has experienced interpersonal violence help is available. For free and confidential* support, accompaniment, and/or resources, contact the Office of Respect Support Hotline available 24/7 and speak with an On-Call Advocate at 470.270.5360.

*this denotes federal reporting obligations

Advocacy Services We Offer

Advocacy services we offer include:

  • Free and Confidential Advocacy  Based Counseling involves the primary focus on safety planning and on the empowerment of the participants through reinforcing the participants autonomy and self-determination. Also including emotional support and crisis intervention. Please note that if a survivor is seeking more long term support such as therapy to process the trauma  experienced the Respect Advocate  can assist with connecting them with our Counseling Psychological Services (CAPS) here on campus.
  • Accompaniment which includes the option of being accompanied by an advocate while navigating the different system/entities such as hospitals and medical providers, Counseling Psychological Services (CAPS),  law enforcement, courts, and Title IX  adjudication process.
  • Medical Options such as obtaining a sexual assault forensic exam from local hospital.

A sexual assault forensic exam affords the opportunity to collect any DNA that may have been left by the offender. The kit is filled with tools that may be used by the examiner for evidence collection during the forensic medical exam. The exam will most likely begin with the examiner obtaining a complete and thorough medical history from the victim. The medical forensic exam also involves a head to toe physical examination, which includes the genital area. This may also include:

  • Collection of blood, urine and hair samples.
  • Photo documentation.
  • Collection of the victim’s clothing, especially undergarments.
  • Collection of any possible physical evidence that may have transferred onto the victim from the rape scene.

Once the examination is completed and all specimens are collected, they are carefully packaged and stored to assure that they are not contaminated. They are maintained under chain of custody until further action is taken. A sexual assault forensic exam must be done within 120 hours of the assault.

Georgia Network to End Sexual Assault contains a list of locations that offer rape kits.

Victims of sexual assault in the State of Georgia may request, at no cost to the victim, a forensic medical examination for sexual assault, regardless of whether the victim participates in the criminal justice system or cooperates with law enforcement in pursuing prosecution of the underlying crime. For more information, refer to the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council.

Legal Options: such as assisting with obtaining a Temporary Protective Order (TPO) which is a legal document issued  by a court ( Clerk of Superior Court of DeKalb County) to help victims obtain protection from persons abusing, harassing, or stalking them. A TPO will generally prohibit contact between parties and may remove or restrict someone from a certain place or residence.

Title IX adjudication process: advocate can accompanied survivor through a Title IX process.

Academic Assistance: work with the office of Title IX to request academic leniency for a survivor who has experienced some form of violence.

Safety Planning: creating a plan specific to the needs of the survivor to ensure safety when preparing to navigate a situation that could or has put their safety a risk.

Emory University Sexual Misconduct Policy

Emory University is dedicated to providing equal opportunities to all individuals regardless of sex, race, color, religion, ethnic or national origin, gender, gender expression, gender identity, genetic information, age, disability, sexual orientation, or veteran status. Emory University does not discriminate in admissions, educational programs, or employment on the basis of any factor stated above or prohibited under applicable laws, including Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Titles VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Age Discrimination Act of 1975, and other applicable statutes and University Policies.  Students, faculty, and staff are assured of participation in University programs and in the use of facilities without such discrimination 

Thus, in accordance with these federal laws and consistent with its commitment to a fair and open campus environment, Emory cannot and will not tolerate discrimination against or harassment of any individual or group based upon sex, race,  color, religion, gender, ethnic or national origin, genetic information, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, veteran status, or any factor that is a prohibited consideration under applicable law. The University recognizes its responsibility to increase awareness discrimination of all types, prevent its occurrence, and diligently investigate reports of misconduct.

Emory University prohibits sexual and gender-based harassment, including sexual assault, and other forms of interpersonal violence.  Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972 protects individuals from sex discrimination in educational programs and activities at institutions that receive federal financial assistance. However, Title IX’s prohibition of sex discrimination is not limited to sexual harassment and violence. Inquiries concerning application of Title IX may be made to the Office for Civil Rights in addition to or instead of such other campus and non-campus resources.Emory fosters a safe learning and working environment that supports academic and professional growth of students, staff, and faculty and does not tolerate sexual harassment, including, but not limited to, violence in its community, and is obligated to address incidents of which it has notice.

Sexual misconduct is a form of sex discrimination that is prohibited under federal law, the Emory University Equal Opportunity and Discriminatory Harassment Policy (Policy 1.3), and the University’s Sexual Misconduct Policy (Policy 8.2). Sexual misconduct can occur in many forms, including, but not limited to, sexual harassment, domestic violence, dating violence, intimate partner violence, sexual assault, stalking, and gender-based bullying.

All members of the Emory University Community are encouraged to promptly report incidents of sexual harassment and discrimination to the University Title IX Coordinator, the Title IX Coordinator for Students, a Deputy Title IX Coordinator, or other mandatory reporters in order to invoke the university’s Title IX process.Reports may be made in a written or verbal format. A reporting form is available at


Respect’s Definitions

Interpersonal violence, regardless if it is one instance or years of abuse, involves a perpetrator establishing control over the survivor by relying on systems of oppression.  However, sexual assault and relationship violence can be perpetrated against anyone regardless of her/his/hir gender identity, sex, sexual orientation, race, socioeconomic status, religion, ability, country of origin, or education level. Sexual assault and relationship violence are pervasive public health problems, but they are not inevitable.

Respect defines sexual violence as any form of unwanted sexual contact obtained without consent and/or obtained through the use of force, threat of force, intimidation, or coercion.

The Respect Program defines relationship violence as a pattern of behavior used by a perpetrator to gain and maintain power over his/her/hir intimate partner/s. This may include physical, emotional, spiritual, mental, sexual, verbal, psychological, and/or economic abuse.

Relationship violence is sometimes referred to as dating violence or intimate partner violence (IPV). Abusive or violent acts can also be considered relationship violence if they occur between people who were previously dating, in a relationship, or engaging in sexual activity with each other.

Respect values survivors’ safety by empowering them and reinforcing her/his/hir autonomy and self-determination.

Why do we say “survivor?”

“Sexual assault is a physically, emotionally, and spiritually traumatic experience, an intimate violation of the worst kind.”- Jeffrey T. Burgin, Jr. of the Dean of Students Office at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

We often hear various terms used to describe a person who has experienced sexual assault. Among them are “victim” and “survivor.” While people who have experienced or are experiencing sexual violence are victims, they are also in a constant state of “surviving” the experience. The idea of survival carries within its definition the ongoing fight to live or “survive” a traumatizing experience, a process that includes dealing with a multitude of feelings and health consequences. Furthermore, a survivor will also have to cope with living in a society in which victim blaming is rampant. In light of these circumstances, we refer to anyone coping with the aftermath of sexual assault or who has survived or is surviving an abusive relationship a “survivor.”

Emory's Definitions 

Allegation. A statement by a complainant that an act of sexual misconduct has occurred..

Coercion. Coercion is inappropriate pressure for sexual activity. Coercive behavior differs from seductive behavior based on the type of pressure someone uses to get consent from another. When a person makes clear that they do not want sex, wants to stop, or that going past a certain point of sexual interaction is unwanted, continued pressure beyond that point can be coercive.

Complainant. The person making an allegation or complaint of sexual misconduct.

Complaint. A formal notification, either orally or in writing, of the belief that sexual misconduct has occurred.

Consent. Consent is clear, unambiguous, and voluntary agreement between participants to engage in specific sexual activity. Consent is active, not passive, and is given by clear actions or words. Consent may not be inferred from silence, passivity, or lack of active resistance alone. A current or previous dating or sexual relationship is not sufficient to constitute consent, and consent to one form of sexual activity does not imply consent to other forms of sexual activity. Being intoxicated does not diminish one’s responsibility to obtain consent. In some situations, an individual may be deemed incapable of consenting to sexual activity because of circumstances or the behavior of another, or due to their age.[1] Examples of such situations include, but are not limited to, incompetence, impairment from alcohol and/or other drugs, fear, unconsciousness, intimidation, coercion, confinement, isolation, or mental or physical impairment.

Force. The use of physical violence and/or imposing on someone physically to gain sexual access. Force also includes threats, intimidation (implied threats), and coercion that overcomes resistance or produces consent. There is no requirement that a person has to resist the sexual advance or request, but resistance is a clear demonstration of non-consent. The presence of force is not demonstrated by the absence of resistance. Sexual activity that is forced is by definition non-consensual, but non-consensual sexual activity is not by definition forced.

Incapacitation. Incapacity can result from mental disability, sleep, involuntary physical restraint, or from intentional or unintentional taking of alcohol and/or other drugs. An incapacitated person does not have the ability to give knowing consent. Sexual activity with a person who one should know to be – or based on the circumstances should reasonably have known to be – mentally or physically incapacitated, constitutes a violation of this policy. The perspective of a reasonable person will be the basis for determining whether one should have known about the impact of the use of alcohol and/or drugs on another’s ability to give consent.

Intimate Partner Violence (IPV). Physical, sexual, or psychological harm by a current or former partner or spouse. This type of violence can occur among heterosexual or same-sex couples, whether cohabitating or not, and does not require sexual intimacy. IPV can vary in frequency and severity, can occur on a continuum, and can include acts of physical violence, sexual violence, threats of physical or sexual violence, or psychological or emotional violence. Psychological or emotional violence is a broad term that results in trauma to a victim caused by acts, threats of acts, or coercive tactics, and can include acts of humiliation, intimidation, isolation, stalking, and harassment.

Non-Consensual Sexual Contact. Any intentional sexual touching by a person upon a person, that is without consent and/or by force. Sexual Contact includes, but is not limited to, intentional contact with the breasts, buttocks, groin, or genitals, or touching another with any of these body parts, or making another touch you or themselves with or on any of these body parts; any intentional bodily contact in a sexual manner, though not involving contact with/of/by breasts, buttocks, groin, genitals, mouth or other orifice, with any object.

Non-Consensual Sexual Intercourse. Any sexual intercourse by a person upon a person, that is without consent and/or by force. Intercourse includes, but is not limited to, vaginal penetration by a penis, object, tongue or finger; anal penetration by a penis, object, tongue, or finger; and oral copulation (mouth to genital contact or genital to mouth contact), no matter how slight the penetration or contact.

Respondent refers to the person against whom the allegation or complaint of sexual misconduct is made.

Sexual Exploitation occurs when a student takes non-consensual or abusive sexual advantage of another for his/her own advantage or benefit, or to benefit or advantage anyone other than the one being exploited, and that behavior does not otherwise constitute one of other sexual misconduct offenses. Examples of sexual exploitation include, but are not limited to the following:

  • invasion of sexual privacy;
  • prostituting another student;
  • non-consensual video or audio-taping of sexual activity;
  • going beyond the boundaries of consent;
  • observing unsuspecting individuals who are partly undressed, naked, or engaged in sexual acts;
  • knowingly transmitting an STI or HIV to another student;
  • exposing one’s breasts, buttocks, groin, or genitals, in non-consensual circumstances; inducing another to expose their breasts, buttocks, groin, or genitals;
  • sexually-based stalking and/or bullying may constitute a form of sexual exploitation, as well as a form of sexual harassment, as discussed above.

Sexual Harassment. Unwelcome conduct, based on sex or on gender stereotypes, which is so severe or pervasive that it unreasonably interferes with a person’s university employment, academic performance or participation in university programs or activities or creates a working, learning, program or activity environment that a reasonable person would find intimidating, hostile or offensive. Sexual harassment may include, for example, an attempt to coerce an unwilling person into a sexual relationship; to repeatedly subject a person to egregious, unwelcome sexual attention or advances; to punish a refusal to comply with a sexual based request; to condition a benefit on submitting to sexual advances; sexual violence or sexual assault; intimate partner violence; stalking; and gender-based bullying.

Sexual Misconduct. Sexual misconduct encompasses sexual harassment, non-consensual sexual contact (or attempts to commit same); non-consensual sexual intercourse (or attempts to commit same), and sexual exploitation. Sexual misconduct can occur between strangers or acquaintances, including people involved in an intimate or sexual relationship. Sexual misconduct can be committed by persons of any gender or sex, and it can occur between people of the same or different sex.

Stalking. Behavior where a person follows, places under surveillance, or contacts another person without the consent of that person for the purpose of harassing and intimidating him or her. The term “contact” means to make or attempt to make any communication, including, but not limited to, communication in person, by telephone, by mail, by broadcast, by computer or computer network, or by any other electronic device. “Harassing and intimidating” refers to communication directed at a person that causes emotional distress because of a reasonable fear for the person’s safety or safety of others, and which serves no legitimate purpose. It does not require that an overt threat of death or bodily injury be made.

Student. The term student means any person pursuing academic studies at the university. The term also includes: (1) a person not currently enrolled who was enrolled in the fall, spring, or summer term preceding the alleged violation, or (2) a person who, while not currently enrolled, was previously enrolled in Emory University and who is reasonably anticipated to seek enrollment at a future date, (3) a person who has applied to or been accepted for admission to Emory university and has accepted an offer of admission or may reasonably be expected to enroll, or (4) a person enrolled in the Emory University Pre-College Program on a credit or non-credit basis.


[1] In Georgia, minors under the age of 16 years are generally unable to provide consent, with narrow exceptions. See Georgia Code Ann. § 16-6-3, Statutory Rape.

Sexual Assault Policies in Georgia

There are five sexual offenses listed in the Criminal Code of Georgia that will likely be most applicable to students who are concerned they have experienced sexual assault. These are Rape, Aggravated Sodomy, Sexual Battery, Aggravated Sexual Battery, and Publication of Name or Identity of Female Raped or Assaulted with Intent to Commit Rape.

In this section, you will find definitions of sexual offenses as they are defined in Georgia. The language and definitions used in the Criminal Code of Georgia will sometimes differ from those used in Emory’s Sexual Misconduct policy.

Note that the legal definition of Sexual Assault may vary from state to state, but the Respect Program uses the term "sexual assault" as an umbrella term for a range of experiences, as it is a term that many survivors use to self-describe their experiences.

If a student wishes to pursue criminal charges for any of the following offenses in the State of Georgia, these definitions will be useful for both the student and the professionals working with him/her/hir.

However, some students may feel that the legal definitions of sexual offenses in the Georgia Code are not inclusive and/or supportive of their experiences. Therefore, the university sexual misconduct process operates independently of the criminal legal system. Both processes may be initiated simultaneously, and the Emory process does not and will not wait for the conclusion of a criminal case.

Where quotation marks are used in this section of the manual, the language has been taken directly from the Criminal Code of Georgia. You can read the full code online here:



Rape is defined in the Code as a male having “carnal knowledge” of “a female forcibly and against her will.” In this instance, carnal knowledge is defined as “penetration of the female sex organ by the male sex organ.” The Code recognizes that rape can occur even between spouses so the defendant cannot use the fact that he is married to the person accusing him of rape as a defense.

Rape is punishable by death, life imprisonment with or without parole, or a minimum of 25 years imprisonment, followed by probation for life.


Aggravated Sodomy

Aggravated sodomy is defined in the Code as sodomy that is perpetrated “with force and against the will of the other person.” As with a charge of rape, a marital relationship between the defendant and accuser cannot be used as a defense.

Aggravated sodomy is punishable by life imprisonment or a minimum of 25 years imprisonment followed by probation for life.


Sexual Battery

Sexual battery occurs when a person “intentionally makes physical contact with the intimate parts of the body of another person without the consent of that person.” The Code defines “intimate parts” as the “primary genital area, anus, groin, inner thighs, or buttocks of a male or female and the breasts of a female.”

The first offense of sexual battery is punished as a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature. Subsequent offenses are considered felonies, punishable by one to five years in prison.


Aggravated sexual battery

Aggravated sexual battery occurs when a person “intentionally penetrates with a foreign object the sexual organ or anus of another person without the consent of that person.”

The Code defines “foreign object” as “any article or instrument other than the sexual organ of a person.”

Aggravated sexual battery is punishable life imprisonment or a minimum of 25 years imprisonment followed by probation for life.


Publication of name or identity of female raped or assaulted with intent to commit rape

Georgia law prohibits the media and members of the public from publishing the identity of any female survivor of rape or attempted rape. The Code specifies that, “it shall be unlawful for any news media or any other person to print and publish, broadcast, televise, or disseminate through any other medium of public dissemination or cause to be printed and published, broadcast, televised, or disseminated in any newspaper, magazine, periodical, or other publication published in this state or through any radio or television broadcast originating in the state the name or identity of any female who may have been raped or upon whom an assault with intent to commit the offense of rape may have been made.” This section of the Code does not apply to information disclosed in public court documents that are available to the public. Violation of this section of the Code is classed as a misdemeanor.

State of Georgia Definitions for Relationship Violence Offenses

What we might consider relationship violence or intimate partner violence is narrowly defined in the Criminal Code of Georgia as “family violence” and requires that a perpetrator and survivor live or have lived together, or have a specific kind of familial relationship. There are, however, other charges that can be brought if the perpetrator and survivor do not or have not lived together and do not meet the criteria for having a family relationship under the law. This section of the manual includes the legal definition of family violence in Georgia, plus excerpts from other sections of the Code that deal with the forms of interpersonal violence you are most likely to encounter in conduct cases.

Note that in the cases of simple battery, battery, aggravated battery, simple assault, and aggravated assault, more severe punishments will apply if the defendant is found guilty of committing the offense within the context of “family violence.” You can read more about how the charges and punishments differ in the Criminal Code of Georgia here: Where quotation marks are used in this section of the manual, the language has been taken directly from the Criminal Code.

O.C.G.A. § 19-13-10

Family Violence

“The term ‘family violence’ means the occurrence of one or more of the following acts between past or present spouses, persons who are parents of the same child, parents and children, stepparents and stepchildren, foster parents and foster children, or other persons living or formerly living in the same household:

   (1) Any felony; or

   (2) Commission of offenses of battery, simple battery, simple assault, assault, stalking, criminal damage to property, unlawful restraint, or criminal trespass.”

O.C.G.A. § 16-5-23

Simple Battery

A person commits simple battery when he or she “intentionally makes physical contact of an insulting or provoking nature” with another person, or “intentionally causes physical harm” to another person.

Simple battery is usually classed as a misdemeanor in Georgia but there are some exceptions. Read more about classifying and sentencing for this offense in the Code.

O.C.G.A. § 16-5-23.1


A person commits battery when he or she “he or she intentionally causes substantial physical harm or visible bodily harm to another.” The term “visible bodily harm” means harm that someone other than the victim can perceive, and might include but is not limited to “substantially blackened eyes, substantially swollen lips or other facial or body parts, or substantial bruises to body parts.”

First and second battery offenses are classed as misdemeanors in Georgia but third and subsequent offenses against the same person are classed as felonies. If the battery occurs between two family members, the second and subsequent offenses will be classed as felonies. Read the Code for other exceptions in classifying battery offenses and for sentencing information.

O.C.G.A. § 16-5-24

Aggravated Battery

A person commits aggravated battery when “he or she maliciously causes bodily harm to another by depriving him or her of a member of his or her body, by rendering a member of his or her body useless, or by seriously disfiguring his or her body or a member thereof.”

Aggravated battery is classed as a felony in Georgia.

O.C.G.A. § 16-5-20

Simple Assault

A person commits assault when he or she “attempts to commit a violent injury to the person of another” or “commits an act which places another in reasonable apprehension of immediately receiving a violent injury.”

Simple assault is usually classed as a misdemeanor in Georgia but there are some exceptions. Read more about classifying and sentencing for this offense in the Code.

O.C.G.A. § 16-5-21

Aggravated Assault

A person commits aggravated assault when he or she assaults someone with the intent to murder, rape, or rob him or her. In order to be found guilty of aggravated assault, the person committing the assault must use a deadly weapon or other object, device, or instrument that causes serious bodily injury or is likely to.

Aggravated assault is classed as a felony in Georgia.

O.C.G.A. § 16-5-90


A person commits stalking when “he or she follows, places under surveillance, or contacts another person at or about a place or places without the consent of the other person for the purpose of harassing and intimidating the other person.”

In the Code, “contact” is defined as “any communication including without being limited to communication in person, by telephone, by mail, by broadcast, by computer, by computer network, or by any other electronic device.”

“Harassing and intimidating” is defined as “a knowing and willful course of conduct directed at a specific person which causes emotional distress by placing such person in reasonable fear for such person’s safety or the safety of a member of his or her immediate family, and by establishing a pattern of harassing and intimidating behavior, and which serves no legitimate purpose.” The defendant does not have to make a threat of death or bodily injury to be found guilty of stalking.

A person can be convicted of stalking if he or she is found guilty of violating a restraining order, protective order, injunction, or an order to refrain from contact with a certain person as a condition of pretrial release, probation or parole.

A person also commits the offense of stalking when he or she broadcasts or publishes the picture, name, address, or phone number of a person who benefits (ie: is supposed to be protected by) such an order or injunction without their consent in a way that causes others to harass or intimidate that person. A person can also be found guilty of stalking if he or she knew or had reason to believe that publishing another person’s personal information would result in harassment or intimidation by others.

The first conviction of a stalking offense is classed as a misdemeanor. Subsequent stalking offenses are classed as felonies punishable by one to ten years’ imprisonment.

O.C.G.A. § 16-5-91

Aggravated Stalking

A person commits aggravated stalking when he or she violates a temporary or permanent restraining or protective order, preliminary or permanent injunction, good behavior bond, or condition of pretrial release, probation, or parole by following, contacting, or placing under surveillance another person for the purpose of harassing or intimidating him or her.

Aggravated stalking is a felony that carries a prison sentence of one to ten years and a maximum fine of $10,000.

Sexual Assault and Interpersonal Violence Information for Families of Emory Students

Preparing your child for college for the first time can be incredibly rewarding but also can be challenging. One challenge you may have is how to talk to your child about sexual violence; or you may have concerns about what Emory University is doing to prevent and respond to sexual assaults, intimate partner violence, and stalking on our campus. Although you may not be with us on campus, you are an important part of the Emory community.

Visit "Information for Families" as a resource, or contact us at the Respect Program via or 404.727.1514.