R.A.P.E. Center changes its name to The Advocacy Center
Beginning this fall, the scope of services provided by the R.A.P.E. Center has officially expanded to include relationship violence. As a result of this broadening of services, as well as feedback from students, staff and faculty about the R.A.P.E. Center name creating a barrier to accessing services, the center has been renamed The Advocacy Center: Sexual and Relationship Violence Services, Prevention and Education.
“We believe our new name reflects what we have learned from the students who shared their stories with us, and the work of the inspiring volunteers who take action to bring about positive change,” says Janet Epstein, associate director of The Advocacy Center.
In 2010, the Division of Student Affairs determined there was a need to identify a campus resource to provide confidential advocacy and support, and prevention/educational programs related to the issue of relationship violence. It was decided that the R.A.P.E. Center would be that resource.
“As the influence of the center has grown over the years, it is only appropriate to rename the center in a way that explains to the community the important work of this vital campus resource,” says Thomas V. Wolfe, senior vice president and dean of student affairs.
Over the course of six months, the R.A.P.E. Center staff engaged various stakeholders throughout the campus and into the community in the name-changing process. This collaboration resulted in a significant amount of input that helped guide the process.
“We thank all who participated in the process and are truly grateful to the students, staff, faculty and community members who partner with us in supporting the mission of the center, and assist us in creating a community of empowered bystanders,” says Epstein.
The new name, The Advocacy Center, meets the goal of reflecting both the services the R.A.P.E. Center provides, and the prevention programming and caring-community aspects of the center’s work. It is welcoming and empowering, and will hopefully increase student comfort in accessing the center’s services.
The Syracuse University R.A.P.E. Center (Rape, Advocacy, Prevention and Education) was established in 1990, as a result of the recommendations from the Task Force on Rape created by Chancellor Melvin Eggers. Among the recommendations from the Task Force was that SU adopt the policy on rape and sexual assault presented by the group and establish a center to develop and continue comprehensive sexual assault prevention programs, as well as provide counseling and support services for sexual assault victims. At the time the R.A.P.E. Center was established, no comparable center existed on a college campus in the United States.
Student, staff and faculty volunteers have always been key members of the R.A.P.E. Center team, and their involvement has led to the continued growth of the center. Over the years, the R.A.P.E. Center has responded to the identified needs of students and has provided advocacy and education related to all forms of interpersonal violence.