RELATIONSHIP & SEXUAL VIOLENCE PREVENTION

SUPPORT, INFORMATION, ADVOCACY

We provide advocacy support for students impacted by sexual assault, relationship or domestic violence, stalking, sexual harassment, and other related experiences.

Located in the University Health Center’s Health Promotion Department, RSVP Services are FREE and CONFIDENTIAL. Meeting with a trained advocate does not trigger any investigation or formal reporting or complaint process.

What happened to you was not your fault. We believe you and are here to help.

PREVENTION, EDUCATION, OUTREACH

RSVP facilitates /co-sponsors interpersonal violence Prevention, Education and Outreach programs for the campus community (student groups, professors, Resident Assistants (RAs), and faculty/staff.)

Topics include Interpersonal Violence 101, Healthy Relationships, Domestic Violence Escalation, Consent and more. Request a program.

RSVP also provides UMatter Bystander Intervention Training to teach how to recognize and safely intervene in potentially risky situations. Request a UMatter program.

CONTACT

We're here to help!

24 hour hotline: 706-542-SAFE

Please fill out this contact form to get in touch with us and one of our confidential advocates will reach out to you soon.

For any questions or general information, please call 706-542-8690.

RSVP 24 Hour Hotline: 706-542-SAFE

Sexual assault can happen to ANYONE, regardless of age, race, gender, sexual orientation, social class, ability, religion, or education level. There are actions we can take to reduce the risk of experiencing sexual assault, but the only person who can stop sexual assault completely is the perpetrator.

Know that it is NOT your fault. You may be replaying the situation over and over in your mind, asking yourself what you could or should have done differently. But remember, sexual violence is an act of power, and you are not responsible for another person’s choices and actions! You did what you needed to do to survive. Nothing you did caused the violence!

 

First Steps to Consider:

  • Get to a safe place
  • Don’t shower or wash clothing
  • Go to a nearby hospital or medical center
  • Tell a trusted person about the incident
  • Contact the Relationship & Sexual Violence Prevention office: 706-542-7233 (SAFE) / Health Promotion Department, University Health Center, 55 Carlton St.
 

Support During the Healing Process

As a result of Sexual violence, in any form, you may be feeling as though your life is chaotic or out of control. Depression, fear or anxiety is normal and can surface days, weeks, months or even years after the incident.

Remember that it is a time to take special care of yourself. If you have never talked about what happened with anyone, you may decide that now is a good time to do so. Healing from abuse can be a process, and RSVP can be a source of support in many ways:

  • Emotional Support to discuss all such incidents and concerns, examine potential on- and off-campus Safety Planning and options, and above all, provide ongoing non-judgmental support and encouragement.
  • Coordination for Medical Services, including sexual assault exams, mental health services, and domestic violence and local crisis centers.
  • RSVP also offers Legal Advocacy, accompaniment to the police or law enforcement or Equal Opportunity Office (if you want to make a report)
  • Academic Assistance if a student is forced to miss classes or other coursework as a result of the incident.
 

What Happened Was Not Your Fault

Rape, harassment, relationship abuse, and other forms of sexual abuse are crimes. They are motivated by someone else’s desire to control, humiliate and harm. No matter when, where or how it happened, sexual abuse is never a victim or survivor’s fault. Only the perpetrator could have prevented what occurred.

Relationship and sexual abuse can happen to ANYONE. It impacts people across all boundaries; regardless of one’s gender identity, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, religion, race, ability level, education level, or sexual orientation.

If you choose to talk with an advocate, you may expect to:

  • Share as much or as little information as you would like.
  • Discuss options and resources for medical care.
  • Discuss how you can take care of yourself and discover options to begin the healing process whether through counseling, stress reduction techniques, support groups, and/or other resources available to you.
  • Develop a safety plan. 
    • Learn about your rights and reporting options. If you choose to make a report, the advocate is available to help support you throughout this process.
  • Discuss how your experience may have affected your academics or work and how the advocate can help you navigate this.
  • Learn about other campus and community resources.
  • Make a wellness plan for managing the impact of this experience at UGA.

All University community members have the right to feel safe on campus. Whether you are a student, faculty or staff member coping with sexual abuse or harassment, resources and support are available to you.

 

An Advocate Can Help

With your permission and/or at your request, an RSVP advocate can provide you with support, information and discuss options to help you determine any next steps you want to take.

They are a free and confidential resource to support you, the victim/survivor. To reach an advocate, contact RSVP at (706) 542-SAFE (7233).

 

Confidential Services on Campus

When sexual violence occurs, it can often shake your sense of security and control. You may experience changes in mood or behavior, and have trouble concentrating, attending class or getting to work. Sometimes, talking with understanding people and exploring your options can help.

While the University encourages students to report violations of their Non-Discrimination and Anti-Harassment (NDAH) Policy, students are not required to report the violation through campus/local police or the Equal Opportunity Office to receive support services.

On the University of Georgia campus, you can contact any of the below services for support and confidential assistance as you heal. They can also help answer questions you may have about the University reporting process, and aid you in accessing medical, academic or workplace accommodations.

Relationship & Sexual Violence Prevention (RSVP)706-542-SAFE (7233)

University Counseling Services (CAPS)706-542-2273

The Gynecology Clinic at the University Health Center

Office of Ombudsperson706-542-8220

Student Care and Outreach Department706-542-7774 (located in the Dean of Students office)

 

Reporting Your Rape or Sexual Abuse to the University

You may decide to report your sexual harassment, stalking or abuse to the University for a number of reasons. Some victims/survivors want to hold their perpetrator(s) accountable. Others want to feel safer on campus or require special accommodations to continue their academic or professional pursuits.

While the University encourages students to report violations of their Non-Discrimination and Anti-Harassment (NDAH) Policy, students are not required to report the violation through campus/local police or the Equal Opportunity Office to receive support services.

To file a criminal report, contact the University Police Department

To file a complaint for a violation of this policy, contact the Equal Opportunity Office.
Should you choose to make a University report, you will need to contact the Equal Opportunity Office (EOO). The Equal Opportunity Office (including the Title IX Coordinator) will help you interpret UGA policies and procedures to better understand the specific ways in which they can assist you.

The Equal Opportunity Office can take steps to stop the sexual abuse, harassment and/or stalking that has taken place. Their responsibility is to protect you, and help prevent the incident(s) from reoccurring.

Making an EOO (Title IX) Report or Complaint

For more information about reporting procedures, you can also refer to the University of Georgia Equal Opportunity Office Non-Discrimination and Anti-Harassment (NDAH) Policy or visit: eoo.uga.edu/Forms/ndah-complaint-form/.

If you have additional questions about reporting options, or would like more specific information about options, please contact Caron Hope, RSVP coordinator (706-542-SAFE [7233]) at the University Health Center.

 

Your Rights as a Victim/Survivor

The Jeanne Clery Act and Title IX of the Civil Rights Act give campus community members the right to specific information and procedures regarding sexual abuse and harassment. If you have disclosed that you are a victim/survivor of sexual violence, the University has a responsibility to notify you of your: 

  • Right to seek counseling
  • Options to change academic or living situations
  • Right to an adequate, reliable and impartial investigation, as well as prompt time frames for the process
  • Right to have your complaint investigated, regardless of where the misconduct occurred
  • Option to be a complainant or a witness, and your right to refuse to participate
  • Right to have an attorney who participates in the process at the same level as the perpetrator(s)’ attorney
  • Right to know the outcome of the complaint, including sanctions, regardless of your level of participation in the process
  • Right to not abide by a non-disclosure agreement that would prevent you from disclosing the outcome to others

24 Hour Confidential Hotline: 706-542-SAFE

As a faculty or staff member, you are in constant contact with students which may place you in a position where a student may disclose they have been impacted or are being impacted by relationship or sexual violence. Read more about what constitutes relationship or sexual violence. In the event a student makes such a disclosure, please know that you are in a special position to act as a resource. We hope to be able to provide you with the necessary information to be a source of positive support in a student’s time of need. RSVP’s staff of trained advocates are available via our 24 hour hotline 706-542-SAFE should you have any questions about how to support a student in the event of a disclosure. Read more about how an advocate can help.

RSVP staff are also available for class presentations, guest lectures or presentations during staff meetings on any topic related to interpersonal violence (Request a Program). Call us at 706-542-8690 for a consultation.

What to do:

First, know your obligations as a responsible employee and refer to the University’s Sexual Assault Response Protocol

  • Make it clear to your students early on about your role as a responsible employee. It can be helpful to note on your syllabi and discuss briefly in class that you are a responsible employee and obligated to report instances or sexual assault and/or relationship violence to the University which may trigger an investigation the student may not want.
  • If you believe someone is about to disclose their experience with relationship and sexual violence with you, it is important to interrupt them and remind them you are not a confidential resource. By interrupting the student, you’re giving the student power to decide what to do next. This is a great time to talk with the student about who is and is not a confidential resource. Let them decide if they would like to continue talking with you.
  • Refer the student to RSVP. An RSVP advocate can confidentially discuss options and resources with the student-survivor and coordinate any care they may need.
  • Be supportive. A student survivor’s disclosure and the reaction they receive is key to their recovery. A negative/unsupportive reaction could dissuade the student from seeking further help or assistance.

What to say:

  • Tell the student your obligations around confidentially & duties as a responsible employee
  • Listen to what the student chooses to share
  • “Thank you for telling me”
  • “I’m sorry that happened to you”
  • “It’s not your fault”
  • “I’m concerned about you”
  • Believe and affirm what the student tells you. 
  • Refer the student to additional resources: Check out this list of confidential and non-confidential resources for students who have been impacted by interpersonal violence.

What now?

  • The student may or may not want to continue talking with you as a resource. Respect their decision on who they want to talk to, and when.
  • As a result of experiencing interpersonal violence, students may report experiences of distress, anxiety, and difficulty concentrating due to trauma. The student may ask for accommodations on coursework.
  • You don’t have to do this alone. Our RSVP advocates are here to support you as faculty/staff, so please call (706-542-8690) for any questions or concerns you have.
  • Be trauma informed. Contact Jessica Wiggs, jwiggs@uhs.uga.edu, if you are interested in learning more about how to have a trauma informed classroom.

Interpersonal violence (IPV) is an umbrella term that includes all forms of sexual violence and relationship violence.

 

Sexual Violence

Sexual violence can be defined as any unwanted sexual attention, contact, or activity without consent. Sexual violence can be:

Sexual assault: Any sexual activity that an individual does not agree to. This can include rape, unwanted touching, or any other type of sexual violation. Sexual assault is often the most recognizable form of sexual violence.

Sexual harassment: Interaction between individuals of the same or opposite sex that is characterized by unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature in the context of employment, living conditions, or education. Sexual harassment can also include stalking.

Sexual battery: Any unwanted or non-consensual touching of intimate parts by another.

 

Relationship Violence

Also termed domestic or intimate partner violence, relationship violence describes physical, emotional, sexual, or psychological harm by a current or former partner, spouse, or loved one. Relationship violence can occur on a continuum beginning with emotional abuse (isolation, name calling, humiliation) and often progresses to sexual and physical abuse. 

Stalking: Stalking is also a form of interpersonal violence and is defined as a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to feel fear i.e. unwanted communication, being followed or surveilled, direct or indirect threats. While stalking can occur stranger to stranger, most people are stalked by someone they know or by current or former intimate partner. 

 

How Does Interpersonal Violence Impact One’s Health?

Interpersonal violence can negatively impact health in many ways. Some effects can lead to long-term health problems. There is no set of reactions exhibited by all individuals who have been sexually assaulted. Individuals may feel a range of emotions which vary with time and intensity.

The following is not intended to be an exhaustive list, but rather, shows the range of reactions and the impact of sexual assault on psychological wellbeing. Each survivor of sexual assault responds uniquely to the assault, and the recovery process is different for each individual. Survivors may experience some or many physical, emotional, cognitive or social symptoms below: 

  • Physical health effects may include chronic pain, headaches, stomach problems, sleep disturbances, easily startled, nausea/vomiting, and sexually transmitted infections.
  • Interpersonal violence can have emotional impacts as well. Victims often feel fearful and anxious, and they may have problems with trust and be wary of becoming involved with others.
  • The anger and stress that victims feel may lead to eating disorders and depression. Some even think about or attempt suicide.
  • Interpersonal violence is also linked to negative health behaviors. For example, victims are more likely to smoke, abuse alcohol, use drugs, and engage in risky sexual activity.

If you have been impacted by interpersonal violence and are looking for help – RSVP advocates are available 24 hours a day at 706-542-SAFE.

 

Decreasing One’s Risk of Sexual Assault

Although victims are NEVER responsible for being assaulted, there are precautions you can take to lower your risk.

  • Know your limits and communicate them clearly and firmly.
  • Be aware of your surroundings and avoid secluded places, especially with someone you don’t know well.
  • Have a safety plan (such as buddy system) in place – especially BEFORE heading out with one or more friends – and avoid people who display controlling behavior and don’t respect your limits.
 

Alcohol Safety

Adapted from RAINN.ORG
Like many other substances, alcohol can inhibit a person’s physical and mental abilities. In the context of sexual assault, this means that alcohol may make it easier for a perpetrator to commit a crime and can even prevent someone from remembering that the assault occurred.

Alcohol is the most commonly used substance for drug facilitated assaults on college campuses.

What can I do to stay safe?
You can take steps to increase your safety in situations where drinking may be involved. These tips can help you feel safer and may reduce the risk of something happening, but, like any safety tips, they are not foolproof. It’s important to remember that sexual assault is never the victim’s fault, regardless of whether they were sober or under the influence of drugs or alcohol when it occurred.

  • Keep an eye on your friends. If you are going out in a group, plan to arrive together and leave together. If you decide to leave early, let your friends know. If you’re at a party, check in with them during the night to see how they’re doing. If something doesn’t look right, step in. Don’t be afraid to let a friend know if something is making you uncomfortable or if you are worried about their safety.
  • Have a backup plan. Sometimes plans change quickly. You might realize it’s not safe for you to drive home, or the group you arrived with might decide to go somewhere you don’t feel comfortable. Download a rideshare app, like Uber, or keep the number for a reliable cab company saved in your phone and cash on hand in case you decide to leave.
  • Know what you’re drinking. Don’t recognize an ingredient? Use your phone to look it up. Consider avoiding large-batch drinks like punches or “jungle juice” that may have a deceptively high alcohol content. There is no way to know exactly what was used to create these drinks.
  • Trust your instincts. If you feel unsafe, uncomfortable, or worried for any reason, don’t ignore these feelings. Go with your gut. Get somewhere safe and find someone you trust or call law enforcement.
  • Don’t leave a drink unattended. That includes when you use the bathroom, go dancing, or leave to make a phone call. Either take the drink with you or throw it out. Avoid using the same cup to refill your drink. Use lids for drinks if possible.
  • Don’t accept drinks from people you don’t know or trust. This can be challenging in some settings, like a party or a date. If you choose to accept a drink from someone you’ve just met, try to go with the person to the bar to order it, watch it being poured, and carry it yourself.
  • Check in with yourself. You might have heard the expression “know your limits.” Whether you drink regularly or not, check in with yourself periodically to register how you feel.
  • Be aware of sudden changes in the way your body feels. Do you feel more intoxicated than you should? Some drugs are odorless, colorless and/or tasteless, and can be added to your drink without you noticing. If you feel uncomfortable, tell a friend and have them take you to a safe place. If you suspect you or a friend has been drugged, call 911, and be upfront with healthcare professionals so they can administer the right tests.

Healthy relationships are based on shared values, mutual respect, honesty, equality, fairness, and open communication. No one deserves anything less than that, and no one has the right to treat someone in ways that are less than that. They may or may not involve sexual activity. If partners choose to engage in sexual activity, it must be consensual.

Sexual activity should also be free of coercion, meaning someone is not making you feel obligated or forced to do something you don’t want to do. By definition, sexual coercion is “the act of using pressure, alcohol or drugs, or force to have sexual contact with someone against his or her will” and includes “persistent attempts to have sexual contact with someone who has already refused.”

In a healthy relationship, you should be comfortable speaking up if something is bothering you knowing you are able to come to a compromise if there is a disagreement. There is also respect for your partner and their privacy. It is important that each person is able to function as both an individual and as part of the couple. Having boundaries and a sense of independence allows each person to be themselves within the relationship, reducing the dependence on each other.


Mutual Respect — Listening to one another’s ideas; treating each other well; supporting and being proud of each other; understanding each other’s boundaries

Trust — Having faith in each other’s decisions; understanding and accepting each other’s need to have independent activities

Honesty — Telling each other the truth without fear; feeling that you can truly be yourself

Equality — Treating each other as equals; giving and taking equally; making decisions together; compromising or recognizing the other’s perspective, even if you do not fully understand it

Fairness/Forgiveness — Both admitting when wrong; forgiving and moving past each other’s mistakes

Good Communication — Talking openly about your feelings, directly expressing needs and wishes; working through disagreements; listening without judgment. (Adapted from loveisrespect.org)


Know the difference between healthy and hurting (abusive) behaviors within a dating relationship. If someone is hurting you, there is help available for you. If you are doing the hurting, STOP NOW! You have no right to hurt someone else.

Hurting (Abusive) BehaviorsLoving (Healthy) Behaviors
Put-downs/insultsRespectful words/praise
Isolation from family and friendsEncouragement to spend time with others
Controlling/authoritative decisionsPartnership/shared decisions
Intimidation/threatsKindness/safety
Extreme jealousy/possessivenessRespect for your wishes and feelings
Stalking behaviorsRespect for your privacy and space
Physical/sexual abuseRespect for you and your body

 
Did you Know? Females between the ages of 16 -24 experience the highest rate of intimate partner violence—almost triple the national average.
(Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice and Statistics, Intimate Partner Violence in the United States, 1993-2004. Dec. 2006)

It is a violation of the University of Georgia Non-Discrimination Anti-Harassment Policy to engage in any form of sexual activity or conduct involving another person without the consent of the other person.

Consent is defined as: clear words or actions that are knowingly, freely and actively given, indicating permission to engage in mutually agreed upon sexual activity. The absence of no is not a “yes”. Consent cannot be given when physical force, threats or intimidation1, or sexual coercion, is used to obtain consent.

Consent has three important components:

  • Consent may be withdrawn at any time without regard to sexual activity preceding the withdrawal of consent.   
  • Consent may not be inferred from silence or passivity alone. The absence of “NO” is not a “YES” 
  • Consent is not able to be given when a person is prevented from or incapable of giving consent (i.e., due to use of drugs or alcohol, or physical or intellectual disability) and this fact is known to the person committing the act.   

A current or previous intimate relationship is not sufficient to constitute consent. It cannot be implied or assumed, even within the context of a relationship. If consent is not obtained prior to each act of sexual activity (from kissing to intercourse), it is not consensual sex.

Definitions taken from the Non-Discrimination and Harassment Policy within the Equal Opportunity Office: eoo.uga.edu/eoo-report

For more information about Georgia state criminal sexual-related offenses, visit: https://eoo.uga.edu/policies-resources/Definitions/

Sexual assault can happen to ANYONE, regardless of age, race, gender, sexual orientation, social class, ability, religion, or education level. There are actions we can take to reduce the risk of experiencing sexual assault, but the only person who can stop sexual assault completely is the perpetrator.

It can be a very difficult experience when someone discloses a sexual assault or rape. However, knowing how you can be supportive can be critical in a survivor’s healing process. The key to helping a friend or someone you know who has been sexually assaulted is to be informed on how you can support the survivor and the importance of taking care of yourself.

 

What Should I Do (and Not Do)?

DO:

Start by believing the survivor.

  • Make the environment comfortable.
  • Acknowledge that revealing this personal and devastating experience takes a great deal of strength and courage. Remember that NO ONE DESERVES TO BE ASSAULTED. Remind the survivor that the assault was not their fault and they did not do anything to “cause” it.

Be a good listener. Recovering from a sexual assault can take a long time. The survivor may need your support now and in the future. Let the survivor choose when they want to talk and how much they want to share. Sometimes the survivor may not want to talk at all. When the survivor does choose to talk to you, the following are things to keep in mind. Allow them to talk as much or as little as they need.

  • DO concentrate on understanding the survivor’s feelings
  • DO allow silences
  • DO let the survivor know you are glad they told you
  • DON’T interrogate or ask for specific details about the sexual assault
  • DON’T ask “why” questions such as “why did you go there?”, “are you sure?” or “why didn’t you scream?”
  • DON’T tell them what you would have done or what they should have done or what you think they NEED to do now.

Encourage the survivor to seek counseling and post-trauma services. Find your own support. As a secondary survivor, you may also be affected. If you would like to speak with someone on campus about being a secondary survivor, contact RSVP at 706-542-SAFE (7233), or CAPSBe willing to say nothing. If you don’t know what to say, that’s okay. The most powerful statement a friend can make is by simply being there, not trying to fix everything or pretending it’s okay. Silence often says more than words.

 

DON’T:

Assume he/she does/does not want to be touched. Some people can’t stand a hug at this point and need space. Others might need to be held by a loved one more than anything else right now.

Try to solve all of their problems for them. They have had their control taken away during this experience and it is important to avoid doing that again.

Assume you know how the survivor feels. Making statements such as “it’s ok” or “you’re going to be fine” may serve to minimize the survivor’s feelings and downplay the seriousness of the violence. Even if you have had a similar experience in the past, keep in mind that this might not be the time to bring that up.

Allow assumptions or myths to affect how you perceive the survivor.

 

What Do I Say?

It can be hard to know what to do to help a friend or family member who is a survivor of sexual violence.

What to say to a survivor:

  • I’m sorry this happened to you.
  • I’m concerned about you.
  • It wasn’t your fault.
  • Thank you for telling me.
  • There are people who can help you.
  • Can I do anything for you?

What NEVER to say to a survivor: 

  • It was your fault.
  • You could have avoided it had you ______.
  • It’s been so long! Get over it!
  • You wanted it. / You were asking for it.
  • I don’t believe you.
  • It’s not that big of deal; it happens to lots of people.

All University community members have the right to feel safe on campus. Whether you are a student, faculty or staff member coping with sexual abuse or harassment, resources and support are available to you.

 

An Advocate Can Help

With your permission and/or at your request, an RSVP advocate can provide you with support, information and discuss options to help you determine any next steps you want to take.

They are a free and confidential resource to support you, the victim/survivor. To reach an advocate, contact RSVP at (706) 542-SAFE (7233).

 

Confidential Services on Campus

When sexual violence occurs, it can often shake your sense of security and control. You may experience changes in mood or behavior, and have trouble concentrating, attending class or getting to work. Sometimes, talking with understanding people and exploring your options can help.

While the University encourages students to report violations of their Non-Discrimination and Anti-Harassment (NDAH) Policy, students are not required to report the violation through campus/local police or the Equal Opportunity Office to receive support services.

On the University of Georgia campus, you can contact any of the below services for support and confidential assistance as you heal. They can also help answer questions you may have about the University reporting process, and aid you in accessing medical, academic or workplace accommodations.

Relationship & Sexual Violence Prevention (RSVP)706-542-SAFE (7233)

University Counseling Services (CAPS)706-542-2273

The Gynecology Clinic at the University Health Center

Office of Ombudsperson706-542-8220

Student Care and Outreach Department706-542-7774 (located in the Dean of Students office)

 

Reporting Your Rape or Sexual Abuse to the University

You may decide to report your sexual harassment, stalking or abuse to the University for a number of reasons. Some victims/survivors want to hold their perpetrator(s) accountable. Others want to feel safer on campus or require special accommodations to continue their academic or professional pursuits.

While the University encourages students to report violations of their Non-Discrimination and Anti-Harassment (NDAH) Policy, students are not required to report the violation through campus/local police or the Equal Opportunity Office to receive support services.

To file a criminal report, contact the University Police Department

To file a complaint for a violation of this policy, contact the Equal Opportunity Office.
Should you choose to make a University report, you will need to contact the Equal Opportunity Office (EOO). The Equal Opportunity Office (including the Title IX Coordinator) will help you interpret UGA policies and procedures to better understand the specific ways in which they can assist you.

The Equal Opportunity Office can take steps to stop the sexual abuse, harassment and/or stalking that has taken place. Their responsibility is to protect you, and help prevent the incident(s) from reoccurring.

Making an EOO (Title IX) Report or Complaint

For more information about reporting procedures, you can also refer to the University of Georgia Equal Opportunity Office Non-Discrimination and Anti-Harassment (NDAH) Policy or visit: eoo.uga.edu/Forms/ndah-complaint-form/.

If you have additional questions about reporting options, or would like more specific information about options, please contact Jessica Wiggs, RSVP Assistant Director (706-542-SAFE [7233]) at the University Health Center.

 

Your Rights as a Victim/Survivor

The Jeanne Clery Act and Title IX of the Civil Rights Act give campus community members the right to specific information and procedures regarding sexual abuse and harassment. If you have disclosed that you are a victim/survivor of sexual violence, the University has a responsibility to notify you of your: 

  • Right to seek counseling
  • Options to change academic or living situations
  • Right to an adequate, reliable and impartial investigation, as well as prompt time frames for the process
  • Right to have your complaint investigated, regardless of where the misconduct occurred
  • Option to be a complainant or a witness, and your right to refuse to participate
  • Right to have an attorney who participates in the process at the same level as the perpetrator(s)’ attorney
  • Right to know the outcome of the complaint, including sanctions, regardless of your level of participation in the process
  • Right to not abide by a non-disclosure agreement that would prevent you from disclosing the outcome to others

Being a survivor of violence can leave a person feeling humiliated, angry, helpless, isolated or overwhelmed. In fact, many survivors feel like they want to forget about the whole experience and pretend like it never happened. Making decisions about how to deal with the experience can be an important step in healing and restoring a person’s sense of control over her or his life.

Below are some options for help. If you’re not sure where to turn, an RSVP advocate is available to discuss your options and support any decision you decide to make. Remember that an RSVP advocate is confidential, free, and here to provide support however you may need it.

Advocacy

UGA Relationship and Sexual Violence Prevention (RSVP) and Advocacy
Health Promotion Department – University Health Center, 55 Carlton Street, Athens GA 30602
www.healthpromotion.uga.edu/rsvp/ • 24-Hour Hotline: 706-542-SAFE (7233) • 8:00am-5:00pm Monday-Friday
For free and confidential advocacy services, information and referrals regarding sexual violence, relationship/dating violence, and stalking. Can provide access to forensic evidence collection examination if assault happened within past 120 hours.

The Cottage Sexual Assault Center and Children’s Advocacy Center
3019 Lexington Road, Athens, GA 30605
www.northgeorgiacottage.org • 877-363-1912 • 24-hours
For free and confidential crisis information, advocacy services and referrals regarding sexual violence. Can provide access to forensic evidence collection examination if assault happened within past 120 hours.

Project Safe
P.O. Box 7532, Athens, GA 30604
www.project-safe.org • 706-543-3331 • 24-hours
For free and confidential information and advocacy services about domestic violence, dating violence and stalking.

Counseling

UGA Counseling and Psychiatric Services (CAPS)
https://caps.uga.edu/caps/ • 706-542-2273 • 8:00am-5:00pm Monday-Friday, after hours by emergency

UGA ASPIRE Clinic
College of Family and Consumer Sciences
http://www.fcs.uga.edu/aspireclinic • 706-542-4486 • 8:00am-8:00pm Monday-Thursday, 8:00am-5:00pm Friday

UGA Center for Counseling and Personal Evaluation
College of Education – 424 Aderhold Hall
706-542-8508 • 8:00am-8:00pm Monday-Thursday (Friday only available for assessment)

Family Counseling Services of Athens
1435 Oglethorpe Ave., Athens, GA 30606
www.fcsathens.com • 706-549-7755

Medical Care

University Health Center
Corner of College Station and E. Campus Rd.
www.uhs.uga.edu • 706-542-1162

Piedmont Athens Regional
1199 Prince Avenue, Athens, GA 30606
www.piedmont.org
For 24-hour emergency service call 911 or 706-475-7000

St. Mary’s Hospital
1230 Baxter Street, Athens, GA 30606
www.stmarysathens.com
For 24-hour emergency service call 911 or 706-389-3000

National Organizations & Hotlines

National Domestic Violence Hotline
www.thehotline.org
For 24-hour confidential assistance on domestic or dating violence, call 800-799-SAFE (7233) or chat via website

National Sexual Assault Hotline
www.rainn.org
For 24-hour confidential assistance on sexual violence, call 800-656-HOPE (4673)

Stalking Resource Center
https://victimsofcrime.org/stalking-resource-center/
For information on stalking, safety planning and getting help.

Love Is Respect
www.loveisrespect.org
For 24-hour confidential assistance on healthy relationships, call 866-331-9474 or chat via website

Not Alone
https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/1is2many/notalone
Resources and information for college students and schools about sexual violence

Reporting Options

University of Georgia Police Department
Hodgson Oil Building, Oconee Road
www.ps.uga.edu
For 24-hour emergency service on-campus call 911 from on-campus location

Athens-Clarke County Police
3035 Lexington Road, Athens, GA 30605
www.accpd.org
For 24-hour emergency service off-campus call 911 from off-campus location

University of Georgia Equal Opportunity Office
119 Holmes-Hunter Academic Building, Athens GA 30602
eoo.uga.edu • 706-542-7912
For reporting relationship or sexual violence involving another member of the UGA community

FACULTY & STAFF: FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

First, know your obligations as a responsible employee and refer to the University’s Sexual Assault Response Protocol.

It can be helpful to note on your syllabi that you are a responsible employee and obligated to report instances or sexual assault and/or relationship violence to the University.

Affirm the student for reaching out for help, let them know that you believe and support them. Ask about safety issues and encourage the student to contact the police if safety is an issue.

Refer the student to a confidential RSVP advocate to discuss options. Advocates can be reached by calling 706-542-SAFE, or on a walk-in basis in the Health Promotion Department located in the University Health Center. Read more about RSVP advocacy. This is an important step as the RSVP advocate can confidentially explain options to the student without triggering a report to police or the University. Once options have been explained, the student survivor can then decide if they would like to report. Some options following a sexual assault are also time sensitive, such as a forensic exam (needs to be done within 120 hours of the assault) or the administration of HIV post exposure prophylaxis (needs to be started within 72 hours of possible exposure). Advocates can explain this to survivors and coordinate this care.

The most important thing you can say to a survivor is that you believe them and support them. “I believe you”, “What can I do to help”, and “It’s not your fault” are helpful, supportive responses. Avoid blaming language such as “you shouldn’t have….” or “why did you….”. And remember that silence is OK too. Encourage the student to contact RSVP to speak with a confidential advocate. Read more about how to support a survivor.

Most UGA employees are responsible employees and mandated reporters. However, there are a few individuals and departments on campus who are confidential and do not have to report to the University.

The following departments are designated as confidential support resources and are only obligated to report non-identifying information about a survivor to the University. The only exception is if there is an overriding risk to campus safety. 

The following departments have statutory privilege and are not obligated to report any information regarding a student-survivor to the University:

All other faculty and staff are non-confidential and must report instances of sexual misconduct per UGA’s Sexual Assault Response Protocol.

Behavior following a traumatic experience can vary greatly. Some signs to look out for are:

  • Academic performance concerns, uncharacteristic changes
  • Declining grades or reduced class participation
  • Incomplete or missing assignments
  • Repeated requests for extensions, incompletes, or withdrawals
  • Increased absenteeism or tardiness
  • Disruptive classroom behavior
  • Apparent memory loss or difficulty concentrating
  • Cheating, rule breaking, or defiance
  • Poor organization skills or trouble with note taking
  • Bizarre, aggressive or morbid comments or written content
  • Expressions of feeling hopeless, helpless, guilty and/or worthless
  • Self-injury or other self-destructive behavior
  • Chronic fatigue, falling asleep in class
  • Symptoms of being easily distracted, “spacey,” or a tendency to daydream
  • Nervousness or tearfulness
  • Marked changes in regular habits or activities
  • Significant weight gain or loss
  • Signs of intoxication, dilated or constricted pupils, or apparent hangovers
  • Poor or declining physical appearance, hygiene, and grooming
  • Hyperactivity or rapid, pressured speech
  • Extreme boredom, negativism, defensiveness, and secretiveness
  • Comments by others about alcohol or drug use
  • Erratic behavior, sudden mood swings, inappropriate anger, hostility, and irritability
  • Hyper-expansiveness or grandiosity
  • Withdrawal from others or loss of pleasure in everyday activities
  • Talk of suicide or harm to self or others

If you notice one or more of these symptoms or behaviors and are concerned, consider referring the student to Counseling and Psychiatric Services. Read more about their services and how to refer a student.

RSVP advocates can assist any student who has been impacted by interpersonal violence regardless of race, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, ethnicity or national origin, religion, age, genetic information, disability or veteran status.

RSVP services are confidential. The only information that can be shared is what the student chooses to share or provides permission to share.