Women's Center

Gender Violence

If you are a student at Duke University (of any gender) and are a victim-survivor of gender violence, contact us 24/7 at the Women’s Center

  • Monday–Friday, 9am-5pm: Call 919-684-3897, email WCHelp@duke.edu, or walk in – no appointment necessary.
  • After-hours, weekends, holidays: Call 919-886-6814 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.

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 men, women, children, adolescents, gay, transgender people and gender non conforming. 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 performed without consent or when the person is unable to give consent. If you have been assaulted, 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 a form of sex discrimination under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Sexual harassment is unwelcome verbal or physical conduct that, because of its severity and or persistence, interferes significantly with an individual’s work or education, or adversely affects an individual's living conditions.  Harassment also occurs if a person uses a position of authority to engage in unwelcome sexual advances.  More complete information can be found on pages 39-43 by downloading the Duke Community Standards in Practice at http://studentaffairs.duke.edu/conduct/about-us/duke-community-standard.

Who To Call For Help
If you are a student at Duke University of any gender and are the victim of sexual harassment, you may contact us. We can talk with you about your situation, review your options, and assist you with reporting the incident if you chose to do so.

  • Monday–Friday, 9am-5pm: Call 919-684-3897, email WCHelp@duke.edu, or walk in – no appointment necessary.
  • After-hours, weekends, holidays: Call 919-886-6814 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.

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.

Intimate Partner 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.  More complete information about Duke University specific policies can be found by downloading the Duke Community Standards in Practice at http://studentaffairs.duke.edu/conduct/about-us/duke-community-standard.

How We Can Help

Graduate and undergraduate students of any gender who are victims of gender violence--sexual assault, rape, sexual harassment, intimate partner violence, stalking--can get information and support about their options including, but not limited to:

  • Housing and academic accommodations
  • Filing a formal report with the Office of Student Conduct
  • Referrals and accompaniment for medical assessment and treatment
  • Assistance with law enforcement and obtaining a protective order
  • Safety assessment and planning
  • Assessment of the need for additional social and emotional support

Here is a document to help you know what to expect if you decide to contact us regarding an experience with gender violence.

Here is a full list of the services we can provide:

Information for Parents

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? 

Get Help Now

Have you been sexually assaulted, stalked, harassed or abused? The Women's Center provides confidential crisis support for people of all genders who are survivors of gender violence.

  • Monday – Friday, 9am-5pm: Call 919-684-3897, email WCHelp@duke.edu, or walk in – no appointment necessary.
  • After-hours, weekends,holidays: Call 919-886-6814 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.

If you have been sexually assaulted within the past 120 hours (5 days), it is important to know your options for proper medical intervention and legal protection. Call the Women's Center first to talk through your options and make the decisions that feel right for you. If you wish, an advocate can accompany you to the hospital. Other campus resources are also available under Title IX and the Duke Sexual Misconduct policy.

No matter when you experienced the abuse, you can still benefit from talking with someone.

Our counseling services are confidential. Counselors will not disclose information about your abuse unless you give them permission to do so. Staff of the Office of Gender Violence Prevention and Intervention will not file a report with the University or Police unless you ask them to. 

How We Can Help.