Sexual Assault – Sexual assault is an act of interpersonal violence that occurs at alarming numbers on college campuses. Victims can be male, female, straight, gay, bisexual or transgender. Sexual Assault includes unwanted sexual intercourse, unwanted sexual intrusion or any form of sexual touching with another person without the consent of that person.
Sexual Harassment – unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when:
- Submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of instruction, employment, or participation in any College activity;
- Submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as a basis for evaluation in making academic or personnel decisions affecting an individual;
- Such conduct is sufficiently serious that it interferes with or limits an individual’s ability to participate in or benefit from the employment or educational environment.
Relationship Violence (Domestic Violence) – Violence between people in a relationship is all too common with today’s college students. It usually is a “silent” issue on campuses—it is failed to be reported for various reasons. There are several different kinds of violence or abuse in a relationship: emotional, physical, and sexual, just to name a few. It should be understood that abusive behavior, whether in a long term or dating relationship, is about the abuser obtaining and maintaining power and control over their partner.
Stalking – Serious and threatening behaviors one person can exhibit towards another without any physical contact being present; these actions can make a person feel unsafe in their environment.
Discrimination – the unequal treatment of a person based on that person’s gender. This prohibition covers any term or condition of employment, academic program, student service, activity, benefit or opportunity.
Sexual Assault – the criminal sexual conduct statutes of West Virginia as a crime involving forced or coerced sexual penetration (first and third degree) or sexual contact (second and fourth degree).
Sexual assault can occur either forcibly (against a person’s will) or when a person cannot give consent.
Consent – Permission to act. It may be given by words or actions, so long as those words or actions create clear, mutually understood permission to engage in (and the conditions of) sexual activity. Consent must meet all of the following standards:
- Active, not passive. Silence, in and of itself, cannot be interpreted as consent. There is no requirement that an individual resist a sexual act or advance, but resistance is a clear demonstration of non-consent.
- Given freely. A person cannot give consent under force, threats, or unreasonable pressure (coercion). Coercion includes continued pressure after an individual has made it clear that he/she does not want to engage in the behavior. Consent can be withdrawn at any time and sexual activity must stop immediately without any pressure to continue.
- Provided knowingly. Prior to sexual activity all parties must disclose personal risk factors such as any known STD’s and all parties are encouraged to use safer sex practices. Legally valid consent to sexual activity cannot be given by:
- A person under the legal age to consent (16 years old in West Virginia), or
- An individual who is known to be (or based on the circumstances should reasonably be known to be) mentally or physically incapacitated. An incapacitated individual is someone who cannot make rational, reasonable decisions because he or she lacks the capacity to understand the “who, what, when, where, why, or how” of a sexual interaction. This includes a person whose incapacity results from mental disability, sleep, involuntary physical restraint, unconsciousness, use of alcohol or other drugs.
- Specific. Permission to engage in one form of sexual activity does not imply permission for another activity. In addition, previous relationships or prior consent do not imply consent to future sexual acts. It is the responsibility of the initiator of the act to receive permission for the specific act. As a result, consent may be requested and given several times by multiple parties during a sexual encounter involving multiple acts.
What does “when a person cannot give consent” mean?
In certain situations, a person does not have the capacity to agree to participate in consensual sex. Examples include individuals who are under the age of consent, intoxicated, developmentally disabled, mentally/physically unable to consent, etc. Anyone engaging in sexual contact with someone who is unable to give consent may be committing sexual assault.
What are some examples of sex discrimination, sexual harassment, and sexual assault?
Depending on the particular circumstances, sex discrimination, sexual harassment or sexual assault may include, but is not limited to, the following:
- Physical assaults of a sexual nature, such as rape, sexual battery, molestation, or attempts to commit these assaults; and intentional physical conduct that is sexual in nature such as touching, pinching, patting, grabbing, poking, or brushing against another individual’s body.
- Offering or implying an employment-related reward (such as a promotion, raise, or different work assignment) or an education-related reward (such as a better grade, a letter of recommendation, favorable treatment in the classroom, assistance in obtaining employment, grants or fellowships, or admission to any educational program or activity) in exchange for sexual favors or submission to sexual conduct.
- Threatening or taking a negative employment action (such as termination, demotion, denial of an employee benefit or privilege, or change in working conditions) or negative educational action (such as giving an unfair grade, withholding a letter of recommendation, or withholding assistance with any educational activity) or intentionally making the individual’s job or academic work more difficult because sexual conduct is rejected.
- The use or display in the classroom or workplace, including electronic, of pornographic or sexually harassing materials such as posters, photos, cartoons or graffiti without pedagogical justification.
- Unwelcome sexual advances, repeated propositions or requests for a sexual relationship to an individual who has previously indicated that such conduct is unwelcome, or sexual gestures, noises, remarks, jokes, questions, or comments about a person’s sexuality or sexual experience. Such conduct between peers must be sufficiently severe, persistent, or pervasive that it creates an educational or working environment that is hostile or abusive. A single incident involving severe misconduct may rise to the level of harassment.
Can men be sexually assaulted?
Men and boys are often the victims of the crimes of sexual assault, sexual abuse, and rape. In fact, in the U.S., about 10% of all victims are male.1
The term sexual assault refers to a number of different crimes, ranging from unwanted sexual touching to forced penetration.
Male survivors and others affected by sexual violence can receive free, confidential, live help through RAINN’s National Sexual Assault Hotline, 24/7. Call 1.800.656.HOPE to be connected to a local rape crisis center in your area, or visit the National Sexual Assault Online Hotline to get live help in an instant-messaging format.
Acts of Retaliation Can Include:
- Phone calls
- Text messages
- Social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.)
- Handwritten notes
- Friends or associates of the reported contacting the reporter
- Face to face contact between reporter and reported
- Any other means that leads the reporter to feel uncomfortable, unsafe, harassed, or targeted
Retaliation is an act that is not tolerated. If you feel that you are being retaliated against for a report, please contact:
Assistant Dean of Student Outreach
Dr. Jennifer Barrett-Smith
304.260.4380 ext 2111