Sexual Violence Defined

Villanova University prohibits all forms of sexual violence, including sexual assault, sexual harrasment and other sexual misconduct. The following, as outlined in the University's policy are prohibited conduct. For Pennsylvania state law definitions, please see Appendix E

Sexual assault is having or attempting to have sexual intercourse or sexual contact with another individual without consent. This includes sexual intercourse or sexual contact achieved by the use or threat of force or coercion, where an individual does not consent to the sexual act, or where an individual is incapacitated. Sexual assault includes the following acts:

  • Rape - Attempted or Actual Penetrations: Having or attempting to have non-consensual vaginal, anal, or oral penetration, however slight, with any object or body part, with another person.
  • Fondling - Non-Consensual Sexual Contact: Having or attempting to have any non-consensual, non-accidental touching of a sexual nature. This touching can include, but is not limited to, kissing or touching the private parts of another, or causing the other to touch the harasser’s private parts.
  • Incest: Sexual intercourse between persons who are related to each other within the degrees wherein marriage is prohibited be law.
  • Statutory rape: Sexual intercourse with a person who is under the statutory age of consent. In Pennsylvania, individuals under 13 years of age can never consent to intercourse; individuals younger than 16 years of age can never consent to intercourse with a partner more than four years their senior. 

Sexual exploitation is an act or omission to act that involves taking nonconsensual, unjust, humiliating, or abusive sexual advantage of another, either for his or her own advantage or to benefit or advantage anyone other than the Complainant. Examples of sexual exploitation include but are not limited to the following:

  • Creating a picture(s), movie(s), webcam, tape recordings, graphic written narrative(s), or other means of memorializing sexual behavior or a state of undress of another person without hte other's knowledge and consent;
  • Sharing items described in the paragraph above beyond the boundaries of consent where consent was given. For example, showing a picture to friends where consent to view it was given for oneself only;
  • Observing or facilitating observation by others of sexual behavior or a state of undress of another person without the knowledge and consent of that person;
  • "Peeping Tom" or voyeuristic behaviors;
  • Engaging in sexual behavior with knowledge of an illness or disease (sexually transmitted infection) that could be transmitted by the behavior without full and appropriate disclosure to the partner(s) of all health and safety concerns;
  • Engaging in or attempting to engage in "escort services" or "dating services" which include or encourage in any way sexual behavior in exchange for money;
  • Intentionally, knowingly, or surreptitiously providing drugs or alcohol to a person for the purpose of sexual exploitation; or
  • Exposing another person to pornographic material without the person's advance knowledge or consent.

Sexual harassment is unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other physical, visual, or verbal behavior of a sexual nature where:

  • Submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s employment or education; or
  • Submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment or academic decisions affecting the individual; or o Such conduct has the purpose or effect of:
    • Unreasonably interfering with an individual’s academic or professional performance; or
    • Creating an intimidating, hostile, or demeaning employment or educational environment.

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

Examples of potentially sexually harassing behaviors include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Unwelcome sexual advances, sexual innuendo, or requests for sexual favors in person, by phone, by electronic message or photo, written words or images such as graffiti, and social media postings;
  • Unwelcome behavior of a sexual nature by a faculty member, coach, or other staff person directed towards a student, a colleague, or other community member;
  • A person in a position of authority (such as a faculty member, coach, supervisor) suggesting that an educational or employment benefit will result from submission to some unwelcome behavior of a sexual nature or will be denied for refusal to engage in sexual activity;
  • Repeated sexual remarks, offensive stories, remarks about sexual activity or experiences, sexual innuendoes or other suggestive comments that are unwanted and unwelcome by another;
  • Displaying or showing pictures, cartoons, or other printed materials of a sexual nature in the workplace or in an educational setting where there is insufficient academic relevance;
  • Exposing the private parts of one’s body to another person, or in public forums.



Stalking is a pattern of repeated and unwanted attention,  harassment, contact, or any other course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reassonable person to fear for his or her safety, or the safety of others, or suffer substantial emotional distress. This includes 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 make unwelcome contact with another person.

Statutory rape is nonforcible sexual intercourse with a person who is under the statutory age of consent.

Retaliation is defined as attempts or acts to seek retribution including, but not limited to, any form of intimidation, reprisal, harassment, or intent to prevent participation in University proceedings under this Policy. Retaliation may include continued abuse or violence, other harassment, and slander and libel. Retaliation may be committed by any individual or group of individuals, not just a Respondent or Complainant, and may be committed against the Complainant, Respondent, or any individual or group of individuals involved in the investigation and/or resolution of an allegation of sexual assault, sexual harassment, or other sexual misconduct.

Incest is nonforcible sexual intercourse between persons who are related to each other within the degrees of marriage is prohibited by law.

Intimate partner violence is also sometimes known as and includes dating violence or domestic violence. In general, intimate partner violence includes physically, sexually, and/or psychologically abusive behavior that arises in the form of a direct violent act, or indirectly as acts that expressly or implicitly threaten violence. Intimate partner violence also occurs when one partner attempts to maintain power and control over the other through one or more forms of abuse, including sexual, physical, verbal, or emotional abuse. 

Dating violence is defined as violence or the threat of violence committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the Complainant. The existence of such a relationship is determined based upon length of the relationship, the type of the relationship and the frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship.

Domestic violence is defined as a crime of violence committed by a current or former spouse or intimate partner, or by a person with whom the Complainant shares a child in common. Domestic violence also includes a crime of violence against a person who is cohabitating with or has cohabitated with the Complainant as a spouse or intimate partner, by a person similarly situated to a spouse of hte Complainant under domestic or family violence laws of hte Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, or by any other person against an adult or youth Complainant who is protected from that person's act under the domestic or family laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

The person who reports that he/she has been the subject of sexual assault, sexual harassment or other sexual misconduct.

The person who is reported to have committed act(s) of sexual assault, sexual harassment or other sexual misconduct.

Non-Public Safety personnel who have significant responsibility for campus security or student and campus activities, as identified under the Clery Act. To read more about the responsibilities of CSAs, click here.

All University employees who have a responsibility for student welfare or are in a position of authority (unless required to maintain confidentiality by law), as indicated in Title IX. To read more about responsiblities of responsible employees, click here.