Syracuse University

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The Advocacy Center (formerly known as the R.A.P.E. Center) promotes name change and services

November 11, 2011

Jill Ouikahilo
(315) 443-8568

The Advocacy Center within the Division of Student Affairs kicked off its marketing campaign this week to promote its new name and the various services it offers. Signs have been posted in the grass between the Hildegarde and J. Myer Schine Student Center and the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, and will remain there through Friday, Nov. 11. Student volunteers for the Advocacy Center also chalked the Kenneth A. Shaw Quad earlier in the week.

The campaign is being led by a student volunteer and Sex-Esteem co-facilitator, senior Mel Germeroth, who is running the campaign through the academic year. Germeroth worked with the Advocacy Center staff and created a marketing committee composed of Advocacy Center volunteers. The committee developed a plan for increasing awareness on campus.

“This is important because a lot of students on our campus are affected by sexual and/or relationship violence,” says Germeroth. “It is important that those students know there is a place on campus where they can receive help and support if they decide that they want it. We need to do our part and get our name out there so students know what their options are. It is completely confidential and there are representatives available to talk 24/7.”

Coming up on Nov. 15-16, the Advocacy Center will have a table in the Schine Student Center for students to stop by and get information about services, or to talk to one of its volunteers. Wednesday, Nov. 16, is also Advocacy Center Volunteer T-Shirt Day, when Advocacy Center volunteers will be wearing T-shirts that identify them as part of the Advocacy Center team. The committee is in the process of developing new stickers for the bathroom doors and creating flyers to post around campus.

The decision was made to change the name from the R.A.P.E. Center to the Advocacy Center because students may have been under the impression that the center only provides support for students who were impacted by rape. Changing the name shows the SU/SUNY-ESF community that the Advocacy Center provides confidential services, as well as prevention and education programs for a broad range of concerns related to sexual and relationship violence. The marketing campaign is designed to make sure that students become familiar with the new name and the various services, as well as to acknowledge that sexual and relationship violence effect everyone. The Advocacy Center services are available for all students.

“When the decision was made in 2010 to expand the charge of the R.A.P.E. Center, it was determined that it would be important to explore a new name for the center,” says Janet Epstein, director of the Advocacy Center. “In addition to wanting to reflect the expansion of services, there was concern that the R.A.P.E. Center name had the effect of leading some students to the incorrect assumption that the services of the center were limited to assistance regarding incidents of rape, rather than a broad spectrum of concerns related to interpersonal violence. The Advocacy Center name was chosen to communicate the scope of services addressed by the center. We believe that the new name is welcoming and empowering, and also reflects the efforts of the community of student, staff and faculty volunteers who are valued partners in working toward creating a community of empowered bystanders.”

For more information on The Advocacy Center, email Epstein at, or call (315) 443-7273.

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