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Prevention & Education

Prevention & Education

Our goal is to always prevent an incident from occurring.  With this goal in mind, the remaining section includes examples of policy violations and risk reduction tips.  

Risk Reduction Tips

Risk reduction tips can often take a victim-blaming tone, even unintentionally.  With no intention to victim-blame, and with recognition that only those who commit sexual violence are responsible for those actions, these suggestions may nevertheless help you to reduce your risk experiencing a non-consensual sexual act.  Below, suggestions to avoid committing a non-consensual sexual act are also offered:

If you have limits, make them known as early as possible.
Tell a sexual aggressor “NO” clearly and firmly.
Try to remove yourself from the physical presence of a sexual aggressor.
Find someone nearby and ask for help.
Take affirmative responsibility for your alcohol intake/drug use and acknowledge that alcohol/drugs lower your sexual inhibitions and may make you vulnerable to someone who views a drunk or high person as a sexual opportunity.
Take care of your friends and ask that they take care of you.  A real friend will challenge you if you are about to make a mistake.  Respect them when they do.

 

If you find yourself in the position of being the initiator of sexual behavior, you owe sexual respect to your potential partner.  These suggestions may help you to reduce your risk for being accused of sexual misconduct:

 

Clearly communicate your intentions to your sexual partner and give them a chance to clearly relate their intentions to you. 
Understand and respect personal boundaries.
DON’T MAKE ASSUMPTIONS about consent; about someone’s sexual availability; about whether they are attracted to you; about how far you can go or about whether they are physically and/or mentally able to consent.  If there are any questions or ambiguity then you DO NOT have consent.
Mixed messages from your partner are a clear indication that you should stop, defuse any sexual tension and communicate better.  You may be misreading them.  They may not have figured out how far they want to go with you yet.  You must respect the timeline for sexual behaviors with which they are comfortable.
Don’t take advantage of someone’s drunkenness or drugged state, even if they did it to themselves.
Realize that your potential partner could be intimidated by you, or fearful.  You may have a power advantage simply because of your gender or size.  Don’t abuse that power.
Understand that consent to some form of sexual behavior does not automatically imply consent to any other forms of sexual behavior. 

Silence and passivity cannot be interpreted as an indication of consent.  Read your potential partner carefully, paying attention to verbal and non-verbal communication and body language.

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Examples

1. Amanda and Bill meet at a party.  They spend the evening dancing and getting to know each other.  Bill convinces Amanda to come up to his room.  From 11:00 pm until 3:00 am, Bill uses every line he can think of to convince Amanda to have sex with him, but she adamantly refuses.  He keeps at her, and begins to question her religious convictions, and accuses her of being “a prude.”   Finally, it seems to Bill that her resolve is weakening, and he convinces her to give him a "hand job" (hand to genital contact).  Amanda would never had done it but for Bill's incessant advances.   He feels that he successfully seduced her, and that she wanted to do it all along, but was playing shy and hard to get.  Why else would she have come up to his room alone after the party?  If she really didn't want it, she could have left. 

Bill is responsible for violating the Non-Consensual or Forced Sexual Contact section of this policy. It is likely that a College hearing would find that the degree and duration of the pressure Bill applied to Amanda are unreasonable.  Bill coerced Amanda into performing unwanted sexual touching upon him.  Where sexual activity is coerced, it is forced.  Consent is not effective when forced.  Sex without effective consent is sexual misconduct.

2. Jiang is a junior and Beth is a sophomore.  Jiang comes to Beth’s dorm room with some mutual friends to watch a movie.  Jiang and Beth, who have never met before, are attracted to each other.  After the movie, everyone leaves, and Jiang and Beth are alone.  They hit it off, and are soon becoming more intimate.  They start to make out.  Jiang verbally expresses his desire to have sex with Beth.  Beth, who was abused by a baby-sitter when she was five, and has not had any sexual relations since, is shocked at how quickly things are progressing.  As Jiang takes her by the wrist over to the bed, lays her down, undresses her, and begins to have intercourse with her, Beth has a severe flashback to her childhood trauma.  She wants to tell Jiang to stop, but cannot.  Beth is stiff and unresponsive during the intercourse.  Is this a policy violation?

Jiang would be held responsible in this scenario for Non Consensual Sexual Intercourse.  It is the duty of the sexual initiator, Jiang, to make sure that he has mutually understandable consent to engage in sex.  Though consent need not be verbal, it is the clearest form of consent.  Here, Jiang had no verbal or non-verbal mutually understandable indication from Beth that she consented to sexual intercourse.  Of course, wherever possible, students should attempt to be as clear as possible as to whether or not sexual contact is desired, but students must be aware that for psychological reasons, or because of alcohol or drug use, one’s partner may not be in a position to provide as clear an indication as the policy requires.  As the policy makes clear, consent must be actively, not passively, given.

 

3. Kevin and Amy are at a party.  Kevin is not sure how much Amy has been drinking, but he is pretty sure it’s a lot. After the party, he walks Amy to her room, and Amy comes on to Kevin, initiating sexual activity.  Kevin asks her if she is really up to this, and Amy says yes.  Clothes go flying, and they end up in Amy’s bed.  Suddenly, Amy runs for the bathroom.  When she returns, her face is pale, and Kevin thinks she may have thrown up.  Amy gets back into bed, and they begin to have sexual intercourse.  Kevin is having a good time, though he can’t help but notice that Amy seems pretty groggy and passive, and he thinks Amy may have even passed out briefly during the sex, but he does not let that stop him.  When Kevin runs into Amy the next day, he thanks her for the wild night.  Amy remembers nothing, and decides to make a complaint to the Dean. 

This is a violation of the Non-Consensual Sexual Intercourse Policy.  Kevin should have known that Amy was incapable of making a rational, reasonable decision about sex.  Even if Amy seemed to consent, Kevin was well aware that Amy had consumed a large amount of alcohol, and Kevin thought Amy was physically ill, and that she passed out during sex.  Kevin should be held accountable for taking advantage of Amy in her condition.  This is not the level of respectful conduct expected of students.

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Definitions

Title IX: Discrimination or harassment on the bias of sex is a violation of Section 703 of Title VII of the l964 Civil Rights Action and Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972. Unwelcome sexual advancements, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal, non-verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitute sexual harassment when:

  • Submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or a condition of an individual’s employment or academic advancement;
  • Submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as a basis for employment or academic decisions affecting the individual; or
  • Such conduct has the purpose or effectof unreasonably interfering with an individual’s academic or work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive educational, living or working environment

Sexual Harassment

  • unwelcome, gender-based verbal or physical conduct that is,
  • sufficiently severe, persistent or pervasive that it,
  • unreasonably interferes with, denies or limits someone’s ability to participate in or benefit from the university’s educational program and/or activities, and is 
  • based on power differentials (quid pro quo, i.e. where an employee or student is informed their job or academic progress is dependent on their providing sexual favors to someone with authority over them), the creation of a hostile environment, or retaliation.

Examples include: an attempt to coerce an unwilling person into a sexual relationship; to repeatedly subject a person to egregious, unwelcome sexual attention; to punish a refusal to comply with a sexual based request; to condition a benefit on submitting to sexual advances; sexual violence; intimate partner violence, stalking; gender-based bullying.

Sexual harassment also includes harassment based on gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression, which may include acts of verbal, nonverbal, or physical aggression, intimidation, or hostility based on sex/gender or sex/gender-stereotyping, even if the acts do not involve conduct of a sexual nature.

A single, isolated incident of sexual harassment alone may create a hostile environment if the incident is sufficiently severe. The more severe the conduct the less need there is to show a repetitive series of incidents to create a hostile environment, particularly if the harassment is physical.

Sexual Assault: having sexual intercourse or sexual contact with another individual without consent, including:

  • by the use or threat of force or coercion;
  • without effective consent; or
  • where that individual is incapacitated.

Sexual contact includes intentional contact with the intimate parts of another, causing another to touch one’s intimate parts, or disrobing or exposure of another without permission. Intimate parts may include the breasts, genitals, buttocks, groin, mouth, or any other part of the body that is touched in a sexual manner. Sexual contact also includes attempted sexual intercourse.

Sexual intercourse includes vaginal or anal penetration, however slight, with a body part (e.g., penis, tongue, finger, hand, etc.) or object, or oral penetration involving mouth to genital contact.

It is important to note that a person who is incapacitated cannot consent to sexual activity. Consent to engage in sexual activity must be knowing and voluntary; it must exist from the beginning to end of each instance of sexual activity and for each form of sexual contact. Consent is demonstrated through mutually understandable words and/or actions that clearly indicate a willingness to engage freely in sexual activity. Consent is active, not passive. Incapacitation may result from the use of alcohol and/or drugs. Incapacitation and consent are further defined at the end of this policy.

Non-Consensual Sexual Contact:

  • any intentional sexual touching,
  • however slight,
  • with any object,
  • by a man or a woman upon a man or a woman,
  • that is without consent and/or by force.

Sexual Contact includes: intentional contact with the breasts, buttock, groin, or genitals, or touching another with any of these body parts, or making another touch you or themselves with or on any of these body parts; any intentional bodily contact in a sexual manner, though not involving contact with/of/by breasts, buttocks, groin, genitals, mouth or other orifice.

Non-Consensual Sexual Intercourse:

  • any sexual intercourse
  • however slight,
  • with any object,
  • by a man or woman upon a man or a woman,
  • that is without consent and/or by force.

Intercourse: vaginal penetration by a penis, object, tongue or finger, anal penetration by a penis, object, tongue, or finger, and oral copulation (mouth to genital contact or genital to mouth contact), no matter how slight the penetration or contact.

Sexual Exploitation: occurs when an individual takes non-consensual or abusive sexual advantage of another for his/her own advantage or benefit, or to the benefit or advantage of anyone other than the one being exploited, and that behavior does not otherwise constitute one of other sexual misconduct offenses. Examples of sexual exploitation include, but are not limited to:

  • Invasion of sexual privacy;
  • Prostituting another individual;
  • Non-consensual video or audio-taping of sexual activity;
  • Going beyond the boundaries of consent (such as letting your friends hide in the closet to watch you having consensual sex);
  • Engaging in voyeurism;
  • Knowingly transmitting an STI/D or HIV to another individual;
  • Exposing one’s genitals in non-consensual circumstances; inducing another to expose their genitals;
  • Sexually-based stalking and/or bullying may also be forms of sexual exploitation

Stalking: Stalking occurs when a person engages in a course of conduct or repeatedly commits acts toward another person, including following the person without proper authority, under circumstances that demonstrate either of the following:

  • place the person in reasonable fear of bodily injury; or
  • reasonably cause substantial emotional distress to the person.

Stalking includes the concept of cyber-stalking, a particular form of stalking in which electronic media such as the Internet, social networks, blogs, cell phones, texts, or other similar devices or forms of contact are used to pursue, harass, or to make unwelcome contact with another person in an unsolicited fashion.

Examples of stalking include:

  • unwelcome and repeated visual or physical proximity to a person;
  • repeated oral or written threats;
  • extortion of money or valuables;
  • unwelcome/unsolicited written communication, including letters, cards, emails, instant messages, and activity through social media or other online mediums;
  • unwelcome/unsolicited communications about a person, their family, friends, or co-workers; or
  • sending/posting unwelcome/ unsolicited messages with an assumed identity; or
  • implicitly threatening physical contact; or any combination of these behaviors directed toward an individual person.

Intimate Partner Violence: Domestic Violence or Dating Violence: Intimate-partner violence, also referred to as dating violence, domestic violence, and relationship violence, includes any act of violence or threatened act of violence against a person who is, or has been involved in, a sexual, dating, domestic, or other intimate relationship with that person. It may involve one act or an ongoing pattern of behavior. Intimate-partner violence can encompass a broad range of behavior, including, but not limited to, physical violence, sexual violence, emotional violence, and economic abuse. Intimate-partner violence may take the form of threats, assault, property damage, or violence or threat of violence to one’s self, one’s sexual or romantic partner, or to the family members or friends of the sexual or romantic partner. Intimate-partner violence affects individuals of all genders, gender identities, gender expressions, and sexual orientations and does not discriminate by racial, social, or economic background.

Bullying or Intimidation: Bullying includes any intentional electronic, written, verbal, or physical act or a series of acts directed at another individual or individuals that is severe, persistent, or pervasive and that has the intended effect of doing any of the following: (i) substantially interfering with a student’s education; (ii) creating a threatening environment; or (iii) substantially disrupting the orderly operation of the College. Bullying is prohibited, and participating in such acts will result in disciplinary action. Bullying that is based on gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression, or based on any other protected classification as outlined in the College’s Non-Discrimination Policy will be handled under this policy.

Intimidation is any verbal, written, or electronic threats of violence or other threatening behavior directed toward another person or group that reasonably leads the person(s) in the group to fear for her/his physical well-being. Intimidation is prohibited and will result in disciplinary action.

Anyone who attempts to use bullying or intimidation to retaliate against someone who reports an incident, brings a complaint, or participates in an investigation in an attempt to influence the judicial process will be in violation of retaliation as described within this policy and will be subject to disciplinary action.
 

Consent: clear, knowing and voluntary. Consent is active, not passive. Silence, in and of itself, cannot be interpreted as consent. The lack of a “no” cannot be interpreted as consent. Consent can be given by words or actions, as long as those words or actions create mutually understandable clear permission regarding willingness to engage in (and the conditions of) sexual activity.

  • Consent to any one form of sexual activity cannot automatically imply consent to any other forms of sexual activity.
  • Previous relationships or prior consent cannot imply consent to future sexual acts.
  • The College affirms a “yes means yes” standard for consent; by this standard, consent is an affirmative, conscious and voluntary agreement to engage in sexual activity

Force: the use of physical violence and/or imposing on someone physically to gain sexual access. Force also includes threats, intimidation (implied threats) and coercion that overcome resistance or produce consent (“Have sex with me or I’ll hit you. Okay, don’t hit me, I’ll do what you want.”).

  • Coercion is unreasonable pressure for sexual activity. Coercive behavior differs from seductive behavior based on the type of pressure someone uses to get consent from another. When someone makes clear to you that they do not want sex, that they want to stop, or that they do not want to go past a certain point of sexual interaction, continued pressure beyond that point can be coercive.
  • NOTE: There is no requirement that a party resists the sexual advance or request, but resistance is a clear demonstration of non-consent. The presence of force is not demonstrated by the absence of resistance. Sexual activity that is forced is by definition non-consensual, but non-consensual sexual activity is not by definition forced.
  • In order to give effective consent, one must be of legal age.
  • Sexual activity with someone who one should know to be -- or based on the circumstances should reasonably have known to be -- mentally or physically incapacitated (by alcohol or other drug use, unconsciousness or blackout), constitutes a violation of this policy.
    • Incapacitation is a state where someone cannot make rational, reasonable decisions because they lack the capacity to give knowing consent (e.g., to understand the “who, what, when, where, why or how” of their sexual interaction).
    • This policy also covers a person whose incapacity results from mental disability, sleep, involuntary physical restraint, or from the taking of rape drugs. Possession, use and/or distribution of any of these substances, including Rohypnol, Ketomine, GHB, Burundanga, etc. is prohibited, and administering one of these drugs to another individual is a violation of this policy. More information on these drugs can be found at http://www.911rape.org/
  • Use of alcohol or other drugs will never function as a defense for any behavior that violates this policy.
  • The sexual orientation and/or gender identity of individuals engaging in sexual activity is not relevant to allegations under this policy.
  • For reference to the pertinent state statutes on sex offenses, please see http://www.legis.state.pa.us/WU01/LI/LI/CT/HTM/18/00.031..HTM.
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