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Advocacy and Prevention of Sexual Violence: Definitions

This guide serves to provide information and resources for sexual discrimination or misconduct to help prevent sexual discrimination or misconduct.
Defining Terms

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"Consent" means a freely given agreement to the act of sexual penetration or sexual conduct in question. Lack of verbal or physical resistance or submission by the victim resulting from the use of force or threat of force by the accused shall not constitute consent. The manner of dress of the victim at the time of the offense shall not constitute consent.  

Additional information can be found at 

Defining Consent

  • Freely given. Consenting is a choice you make without pressure, manipulation, or under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • Reversible. Anyone can change their mind about what they feel like doing, anytime. Even if you’ve done it before, and even if you’re both naked in bed.
  • Informed. You can only consent to something if you have the full story. For example, if someone says they’ll use a condom and then they don’t, there isn’t full consent.
  • Enthusiastic. When it comes to sex, you should only do stuff you WANT to do, not things that you feel you’re expected to do.
  • Specific. Saying yes to one thing (like going to the bedroom to make out) doesn’t mean you’ve said yes to others (like having sex).

Sexual Harassment

For Title IX purposes, sexual harassment is defined as:

  • Any instance of quid pro quo harassment by an MCC employee;
  • any unwelcome conduct that a reasonable person would find so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that it denies a person equal educational access;
  • any instance of sexual assault (as defined in the Clery Act), dating violence, domestic violence, or stalking as defined in the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).

Sexual Assault

Sexual assault (also referred to as sexual violence) is a type of sexual harassment that involves actual or attempted sexual contact with another person without that person's consent. Sexual assault may involve individuals who are known to one another or have an intimate and/or sexual relationship or may involve individuals not known to one another. Sexual assault includes, but is not limited to:

  • Sexual Penetration without Consent: Having or attempting to have sexual intercourse with another individual without consent. Sexual intercourse includes any vaginal or anal penetration, however slight, with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, when consent is not present, or coercion and/or force is used.
  • Sexual Contact without Consent: Having or attempting to have sexual contact with another individual without consent. Sexual contact includes kissing, touching the private or intimate parts of another person for sexual gratification, or disrobing another person when consent is not present, or coercion and/or force is used. This includes contact done directly or indirectly through clothing, bodily fluids, or with an object. It also includes causing or inducing a person, when consent is not present, to similarly touch or fondle oneself or someone else. Intimate parts may include the breasts, genitals, buttocks, mouth or any other part of the body that is touched in a sexual manner.
  • Incest: Sexual intercourse between persons who are related to each other within the degrees wherein marriage is prohibited by the laws of the state in which the incident occurred.
  • Statutory Rape: Sexual intercourse with a person who is under the legal age of consent.

Inducing Incapacitation for Sexual Purposes Inducing incapacitation for sexual purposes includes using, or causing another person or person to use drugs, alcohol, or other means with the intent to affect the ability of an individual to consent or refuse to 3 consent to sexual contact.

Sexual Exploitation Sexual exploitation occurs when a person takes non-consensual or abusive sexual advantage of another for personal benefit, or to benefit anyone other than the person being exploited, and that behavior does not otherwise constitute one of the preceding sexual misconduct offenses. Examples of behavior that could rise to the level of sexual exploitation include:

  • Prostituting another person;
  • Non-consensual visual (e.g., video, photograph) or audio-recording of sexual activity;
  • Non-consensual distribution of photos, other images, or information of an individual's sexual activity, intimate body parts, or nakedness, with the intent to or having the effect of embarrassing an individual who is the subject of such images or information;
  • Exceeding the boundaries of consent;
  • Engaging in non-consensual voyeurism;
  • Knowingly transmitting an STI, such as HIV, to another without disclosing one’s STI status;
  • Exposing one's genitals in non-consensual circumstances, or inducing another to expose their genitals;
  • Possessing, distributing, viewing, or forcing others to view illegal pornography.

Stalking Stalking is defined as engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to:

  •  Fear for the person’s safety or the safety of others; or
  •  Suffer substantial emotional distress.

For the purposes of this definition:

  • Course of conduct means two or more acts, including, but not limited to, acts in which the stalker directly, indirectly, or through third parties, by any action, method, device, or means, follows, monitors, observes, surveils, threatens, or communicates to or about a person, or interferes with a person’s property.
  • Reasonable person means a reasonable person under similar circumstances and with similar identities to the victim.
  • Substantial emotional distress means significant mental suffering or anguish that may but does not necessarily require medical or other professional treatment or counseling.

Dating Violence Dating violence is defined as violence committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim. The existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on the reporting party’s statement and with consideration of the length of the relationship, the type of relationship, and the frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship. For the purposes of this definition:

  • Dating violence includes, but is not limited to, sexual or physical abuse or the threat of such abuse.
  • Dating violence does not include acts covered under the definition of domestic violence

Domestic Violence Domestic Violence – is defined as a felony or misdemeanor crime of violence committed:

  • By a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the victim;
  • By a person with whom the victim shares a child in common;
  • By a person who is cohabitating with, or has cohabitated with, the victim as a spouse or intimate partner;
  • By a person similarly situated to a spouse of the victim under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction in which the crime of violence occurred;
  • By any other person against an adult or youth victim who is protected from that person’s acts under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction in which the crime of violence occurred