Women's Center

Gender Violence

If you are a student at Duke University (male or female) and are the victim of gender violence, contact us 24/7 at the Women’s Center  at 919-886-6814 or email WCHelp@duke.edu.

If you feel you are in danger,
call 911 or Duke Police at 919-684-2444.

What Is Gender Violence?

Gender violence includes rape, sexual assault, relationship violence in heterosexual and same sex partnerships, sexual harassment, stalking, prostitution and sex trafficking. The term "gender violence" reflects the idea that violence often serves to maintain structural gender inequalities, and includes all types of violence against women, children and adolescents, and lesbian and gay people. This type of violence in some way influences or is influenced by gender relations. To adequately address this violence, we have to address cultural issues that encourage violence as part of masculinity.

Gender is also the most powerful predictor of rape, sexual assault and relationship violence. These crimes are predominantly against women and perpetrated by men. According to the National Violence Against Women Survey (1998), 15% of women will be the victim of a completed rape in their lifetimes and 2.1% of men. According to the Department of Justice, 99% of all people arrested for rape are men. While some men are rape victims, men are almost always the perpetrator. That is not to say that all or even most men are violent, or that women cannot perpetrate such violence. Gender violence highlights a male-patterned violence: a prevalent violence committed most often but not always by men, often motivated by aggression, revenge, competition, and entitlement, and includes sexual and other violence against women, partners and children.

Sexual Assault and Rape

Sexual assault is any physical act of a sexual nature that is without consent or when the victim is unable to give consent. If you have been assaulted in the last 72 hours, or know someone who has, please contact us immediately at 919-684-3897 during normal business hours or at 919-886-6814 after hours and on weekends.

Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment is unwelcome behavior of a sexual nature that interferes with a student’s ability to learn, study, work or participate in school activities. The harassment may be from another undergraduate/graduate student or staff/faculty member.

Who To Call For Help
If you are a student at Duke University (male or female) and are the victim of sexual harassment, you may contact the Women’s Center M-F 9-5 919-684-3897 or email womenctr@duke.edu. We can talk with you about your situation, review your options, and assist you with reporting the incident.

You may also contact one of the Harassment Prevention Advisors for advice and assistance. Or, contact the Office of Institutional Equity directly to lodge a complaint, 919-684-8222.

Relationship Violence

Relationship violence also known as "dating violence" or "intimate partner violence", is a chronic pattern of abuse by one person in an intimate relationship as a means of gaining power and control over the other person. This abusive behavior is frequently a combination of physical, sexual, psychological, emotional and/or economic abuse.


Stalking occurs when an individual repeatedly follows or sends unwanted communication to another—placing a person in reasonable fear for his/her safety or causing a reasonable person emotional distress.

Who to Call for Help at Duke University
If you are a student at Duke University (male or female) and are the victim of stalking, contact us at the Women’s Center M-F 9-5 919-684-3897 or email WCHelp@duke.edu.

If this is an emergency situation and you feel you are in danger, call 911 or Duke Police at 919-684-2444.

How We Can Help

Female or male students who are victims of gender violence--sexual assault, rape, sexual harassment, dating violence, stalking--can get information and support about their options including, but not limited to, talking to academic Deans, room reassignment, reporting to the Office of Student Conduct, referrals and accompaniment for medical care, assistance with law enforcement or the district attorney’s office, or obtaining a no contact order. We also help survivors think through access to other support by helping them make the best decisions about who to tell, and if and how they should tell their parents.

Support is available any time.

Below is a full list of the services we can provide.

Information for Parents

You may also use the Women’s Center for coaching and support in how to talk to your child about these important issues.

If Your Child is Assaulted
When a child is sexually assaulted or the victim of relationship violence, parents may experience a range of mixed feelings.  Sometimes parents can even have what is referred to as “secondary post traumatic stress symptoms.”   Parents may start to exhibit some of the same psychological and physical symptoms as the actual victim of the sexual assault or violence.  These reactions may include, sadness, anger, fear, disrupted sleep, intrusive thoughts, thoughts of revenge and retribution, difficulty concentrating, or lack of appetite.  You should listen to these symptoms and seek help, both the support of family and friends and professional help. 

If you have been sexually victimized at an earlier point in your life, this event may be “triggering” that memory and clouding your response.

 How can you help your child?