RespectCon 2019 to explore issues of sexual violence, social justice

Emory Report | March 26, 2019

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Activist Wagatwe Wanjuki will be the keynote speaker for this year’s RespectCon, a national conference hosted by Emory focused on social justice and sexual assault prevention on college campuses.

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Office of Respect

Examining campus sexual violence in the context of social justice and society’s structural inequities will be a focus of RespectCon 2019: Understanding Sexual Violence Through a Social Justice Lens.

Hosted by Emory’s Office of Respect, the annual conference aims to help end violence on college campuses through dialogue and collaboration, gathering stakeholders from across the country to discuss effective violence-prevention programs and strategies. 

RespectCon 2019 will be held April 5-6 at the Courtyard by Marriott Decatur Downtown/Emory Hotel and includes a pre-conference summit on April 5 from noon to 5 p.m. featuring events for both students and professionals who work with sexual violence programs on college campuses. 

“Tremendous changes are happening each month on federal, state and local levels relating to policy and practice for sexual violence prevention and survivor support,” says Wanda Swan, director of Emory’s Respect Program, which engages the campus community to prevent and respond to sexual violence.

“Our aim is to create a unique environment for participants to share information and exchange ideas on preventing sexual violence and creating more survivor-supportive and socially just institutions of higher education,” she says.

This year’s opening keynote address will be presented by national campus anti-violence advocate Wagatwe Wanjuki, who uses her experience of surviving sexual assault to guide her work. Wanjuki, a founder of the anti-rape organization Survivors Eradicating Rape Culture and a founding co-organizer of Know Your IX’s ED ACT NOW campaign, will also lead discussions about survivor-centered strategies for navigating Title IX. 

Conference sessions will address topics including consent education for young adults, partnering with faculty, bystander intervention, sexual violence as a public health issue, social justice podcasts, strategies for using “gaming” against violence, and creating survivor resiliency spaces, among others. 

RespectCon is open to anyone involved in sexual violence prevention and response work on college and university campuses, including preventionists, survivor advocates, directors and coordinators of sexual violence programs, undergraduate and graduate students, and those involved with community organizations who seek to work with college campuses.

Last year, the conference drew more than 120 participants representing over a dozen states and 20 organizations, so advance registration is encouraged.

For more information or to register, visit here.