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Definitions

Health and Safety Services
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Definitions

DEFINITIONS

What is Affirmative Consent?

Affirmative Consent is a knowing, voluntary and mutual decision among all participants to engage in sexual activity. Consent can be given by words or actions, as long as those words or actions create clear permission regarding willingness to engage in the sexual activity. Silence or lack of resistance, in and of itself, does not demonstrate consent. The definition of consent does not vary based upon a participant’s sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. Consent may be initially given but withdrawn at any time. Consent to any sexual act or prior consensual sexual activity between or with any party does not necessarily constitute consent to any other sexual act.

In order to give consent, one must be of legal age (17 years or older). Consent is required regardless of whether the person initiating the act is under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol. Consent cannot be given when a person is incapacitated, which occurs when an individual lacks the ability to knowingly choose to participate in sexual activity. Incapacitation may be caused by lack of consciousness or being asleep, being involuntarily restrained, or if the individual otherwise cannot consent. Depending on the degree of intoxication, someone who is under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or other intoxicants may be incapacitated and therefore unable to consent.

When consent is withdrawn or can longer be given, sexual activity must stop. 

 

What is Sexual Harassment?

Sexual harassment is unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature that is sufficiently serious to adversely affect your ability to participate in or benefit from an educational program.  It includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal, nonverbal, or physical conduct of a sexual nature on or off campus. Examples: Sexual comments, teasing, Catcalls, Inquiries or discussions about sexual activities, Recording images (e.g. video, photograph) or audio of another person’s sexual activity, intimate body parts, or nakedness without that person’s consent; Disseminating images (e.g. video, photograph) or audio of another person’s sexual activity, intimate body parts, or nakedness.

 

What is Gender-based harassment?

Gender-based harassment is unwelcome conduct of a nonsexual nature based on actual or perceived sex, including conduct based on gender identity, gender expression, and nonconformity with gender stereotypes that is sufficiently serious to adversely affect your ability to participate in or benefit from an educational program. Examples: Intentionally using the wrong pronoun to identify a transgender individual or mocking a person’s appearance or clothing as more suited to a person of the opposite sex is a form of harassment.

 

What is Sexual Violence?

Sexual violence is an umbrella term that includes sexual assault as well as dating, domestic and intimate partner violence and certain forms of stalking. Sexual assault is a crime. Sexual assault is any form of sexual contact that occurs without consent and/or through the use of force, threat of force, intimidation, or coercion. Sexual assault can be committed when someone has not given or is unable to give consent, for example, because of intoxication. Sexual assault can be a form of sexual harassment. Examples:  Any unconsented or unwanted sexual touching or other physical contact may constitute sexual violence. Including: any form of sexual activity, Touching, Grabbing/Groping, Kissing, Caressing, Brushing against another’s body, Patting, Pinching.

 

What is Dating/Intimate Partner/Domestic Violence?

Dating/IP/Domestic violence is a pattern of coercive behavior that can include physical, psychological, sexual, economic and emotional abuse. It can consist of actions or threats of actions that intimidate, humiliate, isolate, frighten, coerce, threaten, blame or hurt someone.  It can also consist of a single incident of sexual assault. Rape or any sexual offense, whether on a date or not, or by someone you know or do not know, is the same criminal offense. On college campuses, alcohol is often involved in date rape. 

 

What is Stalking?

Stalking is a crime.  It is intentionally engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person with whom the perpetrator currently has, previously has had, or desires to have, some form of sexual or romantic relationship, that:

  •  is likely to cause reasonable fear of material harm to the health, safety or property of that person, a member of that person’s immediate family or a third party with whom that person is acquainted; or
  • causes material harm to the mental or emotional state of such person, where such conduct consists of following, telephoning or initiating communication or contact with such person, a member of the person’s family or a third party with whom the person is acquainted; or
  • is likely to cause such person to reasonably fear that her/his employment, business or career is threatened, when such conduct consists of appearing, telephoning or initiating communication or contact at such person’s place of employment or business, and the actor was previously clearly instructed to stop.
  • Specific actions, such as sending a birthday card or standing across the street from someone’s house may be legal, but if they are part of a series of actions that cause fear or distress, they may be illegal.
  • Stalking includes cyber-stalking – using electronic forms of communication, including social media, to engage in the conduct described above