Emory Report
April 13, 2009
Volume 61, Number 27

Where to get help

• Center for Women
404-727-2000; www.womenscenter.
; Provides consultations, referral services and educational materials.

• Faculty Staff
Assistance Program
404-727-4328; www.emory.edu/fsap; Provides assessment, consultation, counseling, resource referrals, educational materials,
24-hour on-call services.

• Employee Health
404-686-8589; emoryhealthcare.org; Provides new hire screenings, annual assessments, referral resources, educational
and support services.

• Emory Center for
Pastoral Services
404-712- 7200; www.emoryhealthcare
; Provides support and referral services.

• Emory University
Human Resources
404-727-7611; emory.hr.emory.edu.

• Emory Healthcare
Human Resources
404-778-7777; www.emoryhealthcare.org or www.eushc.org/departments/
; Provides interface and involvement related to work performance.

• Emory Police Department
404-727-6115; www.emory.edu/EPD; Provides consultations and resource information on safety plans and protection orders.

• Emory Student Health
and Counseling Services
; Provides intakes/ assessment, counseling and resource referrals; medical care and emotional support for students.

Rape and Sexual Assault Prevention Education
and Response

Contact: Aline Jesus Rafi, arafi@emory.edu;
404-727-1514; studenthealth.emory.edu
Provides consultation,
referral and advocacy to students; and community education.

• Alliance for Sexual
Assault Prevention
Contact: Ashley Harden,
; Student-led organization that is dedicated to increasing awareness about sexual violence on Emory's campus.

• Office of Lesbian/ Gay/Bisexual/
Transgender Life

404-727-0272; www.emory.edu.campus_
Provides programs, services and support.

• Office of Student Conduct
404-727-7190; www.conduct.emory.edu.


Emory Report homepage  

April 13
, 2009
Intimate partner violence: Three women, three stories

By Patti Ghezzi

Since its formation in 2007, the Intimate Partner Violence Working Group has brought together advocates from every corner of the Emory campus. Its mission: To develop strategies for educating students, faculty and staff about intimate partner violence and dating violence.

Emory is fortunate to have a community of champions working hard to address this issue. In recognition of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, here are three women using their unique connection to the cause to make a difference:

Sasha Smith, assistant director, Center for Women at Emory
Her story: Sasha Smith got involved in violence-against-women issues as an undergraduate and graduate student at the University of Connecticut, where she spoke to athletes, fraternities and other student groups. She assisted in a class on violence against women and worked on a rape crisis hotline. She brought passion for women’s issues to Emory in 2006.

Then, unthinkable tragedy. This Valentine’s Day, Smith’s sister, Tiana Notice, was murdered by her ex-partner. Notice, 25, was about to graduate from her master’s program and shared Smith’s commitment to addressing intimate partner violence. Notice never expected to get into a violent relationship. “The last thing a cardiologist thinks about is having a heart attack himself,” Smith notes.

When Notice realized her ex-boyfriend could harm her, she told her family, documented everything, took out restraining orders and carried mace on her keychain. Her father installed a video camera over her front door.
Still, he got to her. Notice’s family set up a foundation to help women with everything from changing their locks to relocating. Smith and her father are studying how a GPS tracking system, which could have saved Notice, can be used in other cases.

As an activist, Smith knew the dangers. She just didn’t know it would happen to her little sister. “That makes it more painful,” she says, “wishing I could have done something.”

Her message: “Domestic violence is happening every day. Stop being in denial about it. When someone tells you they’re in danger, take it seriously.”

Sheryl Heron, assistant dean for medical education and student affairs, Emory School of Medicine
Her story: As an emergency room doctor, Sheryl Heron sees the impact of intimate partner violence: bruises, broken bones, body bags and, in 2002, the desperate wail of a mother who learned her son did not survive a domestic rampage. Neither did the woman’s grandparents. They all died of stab wounds.

Heron treated the mother and had to tell her about her family. “Please take me instead,” the mother cried.
As a catharsis, Heron wrote a poem about that heartbreaking case: “Stemming the flow of blood; trying to put a finger in the hole of lives lost from Domestic Violence. A blip on the map; a reality still avoided. No homeland security at home.”

Heron, co-chair of the Intimate Partner Violence Working Group, has testified in court and before the Legislature to advocate for the Georgia Commission on Family Violence. She has researched the best ways to handle domestic violence in the ER and taught other doctors how to identify the signs and get help for the patient.

She practices what she teaches, encouraging patients to trust her even if they are in fear for their lives. Heron got an e-mail from a woman she treated in the ER, thanking her for intervening. The message arrived a year after the ER visit. The woman was safe.

Her message:
“We absolutely need a community-coordinated response,” Heron says, adding that the legal, medical, faith, law enforcement and university communities all need to work together. “The outcomes are real,” she says. “We all need to be vigilant and, in fact, pissed off that things are the way they are.”

Susan M. Carini, executive director, Emory Creative Group
Her story: Susan Carini has years of professional experience in women’s issues on the Emory campus, including chairing the President’s Commission on the Status of Women.

At the core of her activism is the struggle she witnessed at home. After finishing graduate school, Carini returned home to middle Georgia to help her mother during a contentious divorce. She had witnessed her father’s temper and feared for her mother’s safety. The divorce was a relief, but the cost was high. Like many women, her mother struggled to gain an economic foothold. “It underlined for me the vulnerable position women are in,” she says.

Now a volunteer with the Partnership Against Domestic Violence, Carini serves on the board and counsels women who call the crisis line. “As rewarding as board service is, the crisis line is more compelling and real to me,” she says. “You need to know their heroic stories.”

Many women are afraid to leave their violent partners because they don’t know how they’ll support themselves and their children. Often, their partners have blocked them from working and developing job skills. Carini arranged for the organization’s clients to take free finance courses from the Emory Center for Lifelong Learning.

Her message:
“When I look at world events, I find it troubling the level of violence against women...We see the Taliban, and it’s easy for an American audience to say that happens far from our front door. There are different degrees and expressions, but it’s all an undervaluing of women, a dismaying indicator that, according to the thinking of some men, women are possessions that must be controlled and managed.”