What Is Sexual Violence and what does it include?
Sexual Violence, which is a form of sexual harassment, and in turn discrimination, includes, but is not limited to, rape, sexual assault, sexual battery, and sexual coercion. Sexual violence occurs anytime a person is forced, coerced, or manipulated into any sexual activity.
Sexual Assault is any unwanted sexual contact imposed upon another person by use of force, fear, manipulation, or coercion. Sexual assault is defined as any sexual activity involving a person who does not or cannot (due to alcohol, drugs, or other form of incapacitation) consent.
Sexual assault can describe many things, including:
- unwanted sexual contact (touching or grabbing)
- unwelcome exposure of another's body or voyeurism
- sexual harassment
Anyone can be a victim of sexual assault. People of all ages, races, economic backgrounds, sexual orientation, and lifestyles have been victims. Males as well as females can be victims.
Rape, as defined by the SJU Sexual Violence Policy, is when a person is forced to have sexual intercourse against his or her will and without his or her consent.
Acquaintance Rape, also known as date rape both refer to sexual intercourse with out consent by a person known to the victim. Many people think of rape as committed by a stranger however, acquaintance rape is actually much more common. Date rape is never the victim’s fault and is as traumatic and serious as all forms of sexual assault.
Sexual Battery, as defined by the SJU Sexual Violence Policy, is when a person is touched in an intimate part of the body without his or her consent.
Sexual Coercion, as defined by the SJU Sexual Violence Policy, is subjecting a person to sexual contact as a result of the use of physical or psychological pressure or threats, or the consumption of alcohol or drugs with out consent.
Consent is permission, approval or agreement through words or body language. Consent MUST be given at EVERY stage of intimacy.
Consent is active, not passive. Consent can be communicated verbally or by actions. Consent cannot be obtained by use of physical force, compelling threats, or intimidating behavior.
In whatever way consent is communicated, it must be mutually understandable. Silence, in and of itself, cannot be interpreted as consent. It is the responsibility of the initiator of sexual contact to make sure that s/he understands fully what the person with whom s/he is involved wants and does not want sexually. Consent to one form of sexual activity does not imply consent to other forms of sexual activity. Previous relationships or consent does not imply consent to future sexual acts.
By law, there are circumstances when a person is incapable of giving consent such as, if s/he is:
- a minor
- mentally disabled
- asleep, unconscious and/or losing and regaining consciousness
- incapacitated as a result of drugs or alcohol, including "date rape" drugs.
The use of alcohol and/or drugs does not make the complainant at fault for sexual violence. Further, it is not necessary that an individual resist an attack, scream, say no, or otherwise express non-consent to be subjected to unwelcome and offensive sexual conduct.
The alleged assailant’s alcohol and/or other drug use does not mitigate the need for consent. In addition, being in an on-going relationship does not preclude the possibility of sexual violence occurring within that relationship.
Students turn to each other for support first in a difficult situation more than any other resource on or off campus. The SJU community looks out for one another and encourages all members to do the right thing to support a fellow Hawk.
There is help available at SJU.