Definitions and Terms Related to Sexual Misconduct

 

Consent

Consent is an explicitly communicated, reversible mutual agreement in which all parties are capable of making a decision. Consent is informed, voluntary, and actively given. Consent exists when all parties exchange mutually understandable affirmative words or actions indicating their agreement to participate voluntarily in sexual activity.

The following further clarifies the meaning of consent:

  • Each participant in a sexual encounter must obtain consent for all sexual activities. Consent to one form of sexual activity does not constitute consent to engage in all forms of sexual activity.
  • Consent consists of an outward demonstration indicating that a person has freely chosen to engage in sexual activity. Relying on non-verbal communication can lead to misunderstandings. Consent may not be inferred from silence, passivity, lack of resistance or lack of an active response alone. A person who does not physically resist or verbally refuse sexual activity is not necessarily giving consent.
  • If at any time it is reasonably apparent that either party is hesitant, confused, or unsure, both parties should stop and obtain mutual verbal consent before continuing such activity.
  • Consent may be withdrawn by either party at any time. Once withdrawal of consent has been expressed through words or actions, sexual activity must cease.
  • A person who is physically incapacitated from alcohol or other drug consumption (voluntarily or involuntarily), or is unconscious, unaware, or otherwise physically impaired is considered unable to give consent. For example, a person who is asleep or passed out cannot give consent.
  • People with a previous or current intimate relationship do not automatically give either initial or continued consent to sexual activity. Even in the context of a relationship, there must be mutually understandable communication that clearly indicates consent to engage in sexual activity.
  • Explicitly communicated. This means that someone communicates a “yes” to any and all sexual activity, ideally through words and actions. Consent MAY NOT be inferred from silence, passivity, lack or resistance or lack of an active response. A person who does not physically resist or verbally refuse sexual activity is not necessarily giving consent.

  • Reversible. This means that someone reserves the right to change their mind. Consent can be withdrawn at any time and should be respected. Once withdrawal of consent has been expressed through words or actions, sexual activity must cease.

  • Mutual agreement in which all parties are capable of making a decision. This means that someone who is physically incapacitated from alcohol or other drug consumption (voluntarily or involuntarily), or is unconscious, unaware, asleep, or otherwise physically impaired is considered UNABLE to give consent. 

  • Informed. This means that someone is informed of and has consented to all activity, including things like taking pictures or video, and has knowledge of a person’s sexual health status (e.g., sexually transmitted infections) before consenting to sexual activity. Other activities that might also be considered here are outlined in the policy regarding sexual exploitation.

  • Voluntary. This means that if someone is hesitant, confused, or unsure, they should not feel coerced or threatened to consent. It also means that individuals with a previous or current intimate relationship do not automatically give either initial or continued consent to sexual activity. 

  • Actively given. This means that consent to one form of sexual activity does not constitute consent to all forms of sexual activity. Consent must be actively given throughout sexual activity.

Consent must be freely given. Consent is not freely given if it results from the use or threat of physical force, intimidation, or coercion, or any other factor that would compromise someone's ability to exercise their own free will to choose whether or not to have sexual contact. Coercion includes the use of pressure and/or oppressive behavior, including express or implied threats of harm or severe and/or pervasive emotional intimidation, which (a) places a person in fear of immediate or future harm or physical injury of themselves or another person or (b) causes a person to engage in unwelcome sexual activity. A person’s words or conduct amount to coercion if they wrongfully impair the other’s freedom of will and ability to choose whether or not to engage in sexual activity. Coercion also includes administering a drug, intoxicant, or similar substance that impairs the person’s ability to give consent.

People are incapacitated when they are not able to make rational, reasonable judgments and therefore are incapable of giving consent. Incapacitation is the inability, temporarily or permanently, to give consent, because the person is mentally and/or physically impaired due to alcohol or other drug consumption, either voluntarily or involuntarily, or the person is unconscious, asleep, or otherwise unaware that the sexual activity is occurring. In addition, people are incapacitated if they demonstrate that they are unaware of where they are, how they got there, or why or how they became engaged in a sexual interaction. Some indicators of incapacitation may include, but are not limited to, lack of control over physical movements, being unaware of circumstances or surroundings, or being unable to communicate for any reason.

Being intoxicated or impaired by alcohol or other drugs is never an excuse for sexual assault, sexual harassment or other sexual misconduct and does not diminish one’s responsibility to obtain consent.

The University considers sexual contact while under the influence of alcohol or other drugs to be risky behavior. Alcohol and other drugs impair a person’s decision-making capacity, awareness of the consequences, and ability to make informed judgments. The use of alcohol or other drugs can limit a person’s ability to freely and clearly give consent and can create an atmosphere of confusion over whether or not consent has been freely and clearly sought or given. The perspective of a reasonable person will be the basis for determining whether a Respondent should have been aware of the extent to which the use of alcohol or other drugs impacted a Complainant's ability to give consent.

Non-Public Safety personnel who have significant responsibility for campus security or student and campus activities, as identified under the Clery Act.

Refers to the person who reports that they have been the subject of sexual misconduct as defined in this policy and/or under Title IX.

Consent is an explicitly communicated, reversible mutual agreement in which all parties are capable of making a decision. Consent is informed, voluntary, and actively given. Consent exists when all parties exchange mutually understandable affirmative words or actions indicating their agreement to participate voluntarily in sexual activity.

The following further clarifies the meaning of consent:

  • Each participant in a sexual encounter must obtain consent for all sexual activities. Consent to one form of sexual activity does not constitute consent to engage in all forms of sexual activity.
  • Consent consists of an outward demonstration indicating that a person has freely chosen to engage in sexual activity. Relying on non-verbal communication can lead to misunderstandings. Consent may not be inferred from silence, passivity, lack of resistance or lack of an active response alone. A person who does not physically resist or verbally refuse sexual activity is not necessarily giving consent.
  • If at any time it is reasonably apparent that either party is hesitant, confused, or unsure, both parties should stop and obtain mutual verbal consent before continuing such activity.
  • Consent may be withdrawn by either party at any time. Once withdrawal of consent has been expressed through words or actions, sexual activity must cease.
  • A person who is physically incapacitated from alcohol or other drug consumption (voluntarily or involuntarily), or is unconscious, unaware, or otherwise physically impaired is considered unable to give consent. For example, a person who is asleep or passed out cannot give consent.
  • People with a previous or current intimate relationship do not automatically give either initial or continued consent to sexual activity. Even in the context of a relationship, there must be mutually understandable communication that clearly indicates consent to engage in sexual activity.

Dating 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.  Dating 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, financial or emotional abuse.   Specifically, dating violence is 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 the length of the relationship, the type of the relationship and the frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship.

Domestic 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.  Domestic 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, financial or emotional abuse.   Specifically, domestic violence is 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 the Complainant under domestic or family violence laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, or by any other person against an adult or youth Complainant who is protected from that person’s acts under the domestic or family violence laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

The person who is reported to be the perpetrator of conduct that could constitute sexual misconduct. 

All employees (except for confidential resources) must report any and all incidents of sexual misconduct to the Title IX Coordinator or a Deputy Title IX Coordinator (as outlined in the Title IX Notice), regardless of where or when the incident occurred and whether or not the “responsible employee” witnessed the incident or learned of it through the Complainant, Respondent or a third party.

Retaliation includes, but is not limited to, any form of intimidation, threats, coercion, or discrimination against any individual because they have made a report or complaint, or participated or refused to participate in criminal proceedings or University processes under this policy.  Retaliation may be committed by any person or group of people, not just a Respondent or Complainant. It may be committed against the Complainant, Respondent, or person or group of people involved in the investigation and/or resolution of an allegation of sexual misconduct. Retaliation could occur before, during or after an investigation, University proceedings, and/or resolution.

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

  • Rape - Attempted or Actual Penetration(s): Causing or attempting to cause non-consensual vaginal, anal, or oral penetration, however slight, with any object or body part, with another person.
  • Fondling - Non-Consensual Sexual Contact: The touching of the private body parts of another for the purpose of sexual gratification forcibly and/or against that person's will; or not forcibly or against the person's will where the person is incapable of giving consent because of their age or because of their temporary or permanent mental or physical incapacity.  This can include causing the other to touch the harasser’s private body 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 non-consensual, unjust, humiliating, or abusive sexual advantage of another, either for personal 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 the 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;
  • Voyeuristic behaviors, such as watching another person or persons, without their consent, while they are undressing, undressed, or engaged in sexual activity;
  • Engaging in sexual behavior with knowledge of an illness or disease 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 advanced knowledge and consent.

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 reasonable person to fear for their safety, or the safety of others, or suffer substantial emotional distress. The course of conduct means two or more acts in which the stalker follows, monitors, observes, surveils, threatens or communicates to or about a person, or interferes with a person's property.  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.

A Timely Warning or “Safety Alert” is a way for the University to provide timely notification to members of the University community about reports of serious crimes that have occurred on or within the Clery geography of Villanova University (on-campus or non-campus property or public property) where it is determined that the incident may pose a serious or ongoing threat to members of the University community.

The determination of alerts for reports of sexual violence, dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking are considered on a case-by-case basis and depend on several factors. These factors include: nature of the incident; continuing danger to the campus community; possible risk of compromising law enforcement efforts to investigate; when and where the incident occurred; when the incident was reported; and the amount of information known by the Department of Public Safety.

Safety Alerts do not contain any identifying information about the reporting person.

IMPORTANT CONTACTS

24/7 RESOURCES:

Sexual Assault Resource Coordinator: 484-343-6028

Student Health Center: 610-519-4070

Public Safety: 610-519-4444

Employee Health Advocate: 866-799-2728

CONFIDENTIAL RESOURCES:

University Counseling Center: 610-519-4050

Clergy in a pastoral capacity