Sexual Misconduct Definitions


ALCOHOL IMPAIRMENT – the state of being diminished or weakened due to the consumption of alcohol.

ALCOHOL INTOXICATION – an act or instance of inebriation or drunkenness (BAC level of .08 or greater).

ALCOHOL INCAPACITATION – reached when the individual no longer has the legal ability to act in a specified manner. In sexual misconduct situations the individual lacks the mental capability to understand the situation and is incapable of giving consent.

ACTUAL NOTICE OF COMPLAINT – a complaint, written or verbal, given to a responsible person.

AWARENESS PROGRAM- community‐wide and audience specific programming, initiatives, and strategies that increase audience knowledge and share information and resources to prevent violence, promote safety, and reduce perpetration.

BYSTANDER INTERVENTION- Safe and positive options that may be carried out by an individual or individuals to prevent harm or intervene when there is a risk of dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking. This includes recognizing situations of potential harm and understanding institutional structures and cultural conditions that facilitate violence, overcoming barriers to intervening, identifying safe and effective intervention options, and taking actions to intervene.

CLERY ACT – the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act of 1990 requires all colleges and universities that receive federal financial aid to keep and disclose information about crime on and near their respective campuses to provide the campus community with timely, accurate and complete information about crime and the safety of campus so that they can make informed decisions to keep themselves safe.

COMPLAINT- A person who reports he or she has been subjected to discrimination, harassment, or related retaliation.

CONSENT- Consent is an affirmative, conscious and voluntary agreement to engage in sexual activity.  It is an informed decision made freely, actively and voluntarily by all parties. It is the responsibility of each person involved in the sexual activity to ensure that he or she has the affirmative consent of the other or others to engage in the sexual activity.  Affirmative consent must be ongoing throughout a sexual activity and can be revoked at any time.  Lack of protest or resistance does not mean consent, nor does silence mean consent. Consent cannot be obtained by threat, coercion, or force.   Furthermore, a current or previous dating or sexual relationship between the persons involved should never by itself be assumed to be an indicator of consent.  Being intoxicated does not diminish one’s responsibility to obtain consent.

  1. Consent to any one form of sexual activity cannot automatically imply consent to any other forms of sexual activity.
  2. Consent may be withdrawn at any time.
  3. Previous relationships or prior consent cannot imply consent to future sexual acts; this includes “blanket” consent (i.e., permission in advance for any/all actions at a later time/place).
  4. Consent cannot be given by an individual who one knows to be – or based on the circumstances should reasonably have known to be – substantially impaired (e.g., by alcohol or other drug use, unconsciousness, or blackout, etc.).
    1. Substantial impairment is a state when an individual cannot make rational, reasonable decisions because she/he lacks the capacity to give knowing consent (e.g., to understand the “who, what, when, where, why, or how” of their sexual interaction).
    2. This also covers individuals whose substantial impairment results from other physical or mental conditions including mental disability, sleep, involuntary physical restraint, or from the consumption of alcohol or other drugs.
    3. Being impaired by alcohol or other drugs will never function as a defense for any behavior that violates this policy.
    4. An individual cannot consent who has been coerced, including being compelled by force, threat of force, or deception; who is unaware that the act is being committed; or who is coerced by a supervisory or disciplinary authority.

CONSTRUCTIVE NOTICE OF COMPLAINT – in the absence of an actual notice a preponderance of evidence exists to suspect an incident occurred even without a written or verbal complaint.

DATING VIOLENCE – Violence committed by a person who has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim. The existence of such a relationship will be determined by factors such as length, type, and frequency of interaction.

DISCRIMINATION – treatment or consideration of, or making a distinction in favor of or against, a person based on the group, class, or category to which that person or thing belongs rather than on individual merit.

DOMESTIC/INTIMATE PARTNER VIOLENCE – Violent misdemeanor and felony offenses committed by the victim’s current or former spouse, current or former cohabitant, a person similarly situated under domestic or family violence law, or anyone else protected under domestic or family violence law.

DATING VIOLENCE- Violence or threat of violence by an individual who has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the complainant. Whether there was such relationship will be determined based on the reporting party’s statement and with consideration of the length and type of relationship, and the frequency of interaction of the persons involved in the relationship.

FONDLING – the touching of the private body parts of another person for the purpose of sexual gratification without consent of the victim, including instances where the victim is incapable of giving consent because of his/her age or temporary or permanent mental or physical incapacity.

FINDING OF NON-RESPONSIBILITY – a civil investigation finding that does not indicate a preponderance of evidence that a violation occurred.

GENDER EQUITY – the process of allocating resources, programs, and decision making fairly to both males and females without any discrimination on the basis of sex.

HARASSMENT- Verbal, emotional, or physical conduct related to a person’s protected class that unreasonably interferes with an individual’s work or academic performance or creates an intimidating or hostile work or educational environment.

HOSTILE ENVIRONMENT – Unwelcome conduct by an individual or individuals against another individual based upon her/ his protected class that is sufficiently severe or pervasive that it alters the conditions of education or employment and creates an environment that a reasonable person would find intimidating, hostile, or offensive. A hostile environment can be created by a school employee, another student, or even someone visiting the school, such as a student or employee from another school.

INCAPACITATION/IMPAIRMENT- Incapacity to evaluate or control conduct, because an individual is unconscious, asleep, intoxicated, or under the influence of other drugs or, for any other reason, physically, mentally or legally unable to communicate or grant consent.

INCEST – non-forcible sexual intercourse between persons who are related to each other within the degrees wherein marriage is prohibited by law. Legal definitions and prohibitions vary by state.

INTIMIDATION- Unlawfully placing another person in reasonable fear of bodily harm through the use of threatening words and/or other conduct, but without displaying a weapon or subjecting the victim to actual physical attack.

NON-CONSENUAL SEXUAL CONTACT-  Any intentional sexual touching, however slight, with any body part or object, by any individual upon another that is without consent and/or by force or coercion.

Sexual contact includes: intentional contact with the breasts, buttock, groin, or genitals, or touching another with any of these body parts or object, 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.

All such acts of non-consensual sexual contact are forms of sexual assault, and therefore sexual misconduct, under this policy.

NON-CONSENSUAL SEXUAL PENETRATION- Any sexual penetration, however slight, with any body part or object, by any individual upon another that is without consent and/or by force or coercion.

Sexual penetration includes: 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.

All such acts of non-consensual sexual intercourse are forms of sexual assault, and therefore sexual misconduct, under this policy.

OFFICE OF CIVIL RIGHTS (OCR) – U.S. Department of Education sub-agency that is tasked with protecting civil rights in federally assisted education programs and prohibiting discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, age, or membership in patriotic youth

ONGOING PREVENTION AND AWARENESS CAMPAIGNS- Programming, initiatives and strategies that are sustained over time and focus on increasing understanding of topics relevant to and skills for addressing dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking, using a range of strategies with audiences throughout the university.

PRIMARY PREVENTION PROGRAM- Programming, initiatives, and strategies informed by research or assessed for value, effectiveness, or outcome that are intended to stop dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking before they occur through the promotion of positive and healthy behaviors that foster healthy, mutually respectful relationships and sexuality, encourage safe bystander intervention, and seek to change behavior and social norms in healthy and safe direction.

PROFESSIONAL COUNSELOR- Professional, licensed counselors and pastoral counselors who provide mental-­‐health counseling to members of the university community (and including those who act in that role under the supervision of a licensed counselor) are not required to report any information about an incident to the Title IX Administrator without a victim/complainant’s permission

QUID PRO QUO (Sexual Harassment) – occurs when a school employee causes a student to believe that he or she must submit to unwelcome sexual conduct in order to participate in a school program or activity. It can also occur when an employee causes a student to believe that the employee will make an educational decision based on whether or not the student submits to unwelcome sexual conduct.

RAPE – penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim, regardless the gender of the victim or perpetrator.

RELATIONSHIP VIOLENCE- Dating violence and domestic violence. All such acts of relationship violence are forms of sexual misconduct under this policy.

RESPONDENT- A person who is charged with committing acts of discrimination, harassment, or retaliation.

RESPONSIBLE EMPLOYEE- A “responsible employee” is a university employee who has the authority to redress sexual violence, who has the duty to report incidents of sexual violence or other student misconduct, or who a student could reasonably believe has this authority or duty. A responsible employee must report to the Title IX Coordinator all relevant details about the alleged sexual violence shared by the victim and that the university will need to determine what happened –including the names of the victim and alleged perpetrator(s), any witnesses, and any other relevant facts, including the date, time and specific location of the alleged incident.

RETALIATION- An individual’s adverse action against another person because that person has filed a complaint or participated in an investigation. Retaliation is prohibited by Wayland Baptist University policy.

RISK REDUCTION- Options designed to decrease perpetration and bystander inaction, and to increase empowerment for victims in order to promote safety and to help individuals and communities address conditions that facilitate violence.

SEXUAL ASSAULT – is defined as any form of sexual penetration, no matter how slight, or attempted sexual penetration occurring without consent and includes, but is not limited to, sexual intercourse committed by physical force or coercion. Sexual Assault is an offense that meets the definition of rape, fondling, incest, or statutory rape as used in the FBI’s Uniformed Crime Report (UCR) program.

Non-consensual sexual contact and non-consensual sexual intercourse.

All such acts of sexual assault are forms of sexual violence, and therefore sexual misconduct, under this policy.

SEXUAL EXPLOITATION – Occurs when a person or group of people takes advantage of another person personal advantage or benefit or for the advantage or benefit of someone else by doing something sexual in a nonconsensual, abusive, or unjust manner. Examples include nonconsensual video or audio taping of a sexual activity, nonconsensual photography of a sexual nature, voyeurism, knowingly transmitting a sexually transmitted infection (STI) or HIV, or prostituting another person.

SEXUAL HARASSMENT – includes unwelcome harassment based on sex, which may include unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other unwanted conduct of a sexual nature, whether verbal, non-verbal, graphic, physical, or otherwise, when the conditions outlined in (1) and/or (2), below, are present.

Gender-based Harassment- includes unwelcome harassment based on gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression, which may include acts of aggression, intimidation, or hostility, whether verbal or non-verbal, graphic, physical, or otherwise, even if the acts do not involve conduct of a sexual nature, when the conditions outlined in (1) and/or (2), below, are present.

(1)Submission to or rejection of such conduct is made, either explicitly or implicitly, a term or condition of an individual’s employment, academic standing, or participation in any University programs and/or activities or is used as the basis for University decisions affecting the individual (often referred to as “quid pro quo” harassment); or

(2)Such conduct creates a hostile environment. A “hostile environment” exists when the conduct is sufficiently severe, persistent, and/or pervasive that it unreasonably interferes with, limits, or deprives an individual from participating in or benefiting from the University’s education or employment programs and/or activities. Conduct must be deemed severe, persistent, and/or pervasive from both a subjective and an objective perspective. In evaluating whether a hostile environment exists, the University will consider the totality of known circumstances, including, but not limited to:

  • The frequency, nature and severity of the conduct;
  • Whether the conduct was physically threatening; The effect of the conduct on the Complainant’s mental or emotional state;
  • Whether the conduct was directed at more than one person;
  • Whether the conduct arose in the context of other discriminatory conduct;
  • Whether the conduct unreasonably interfered with the Complainant’s educational or work performance and/or University programs or activities; and
  • Whether the conduct implicates concerns related to academic freedom or protected speech.

A hostile environment can be created by persistent or pervasive conduct or by a single or isolated incident, if sufficiently severe. The more severe the conduct, the less need there is to show a repetitive series of incidents to prove a hostile environment, particularly if the conduct is physical. A single incident of Sexual Assault, for example, may be sufficiently severe to constitute a hostile environment. In contrast, the perceived offensiveness of a single verbal or written expression, standing alone, is typically not sufficient to constitute a hostile environment

SEXUAL MISCONDUCT – term that encompasses sexual harassment, sexual violence, and stalking. Can occur between individuals who know one another, have an established relationship, have previously engaged in consensual sexual activity, or individuals who do not know one another.

SEXUAL VIOLENCE – category that includes sexual assault, rape, stalking, domestic/intimate partner violence, and dating violence. Sexual Violence represents conduct involving physical sexual acts perpetrated against a person’s will or where a person is incapable of giving consent due to the victim’s incapacity. An individual’s incapacity may arise from use of drugs or alcohol or individual conditions including intellectual or other disability.

STALKING – A course of conduct directed at a specific individual that would cause a reasonable person under similar circumstances and with similar identities to the complainant to fear for her, his, or others’ safety, or to suffer substantial emotional distress. A course of conduct includes two or more acts, including but not limited to, those in which the alleged perpetrator directly, indirectly, or through third parties, by any action, method, device, or means, follows, monitors, observes, surveils, threatens, or communicates to or about the complainant, or interferes with the complainant’s property.

STATUTORY RAPE – non-forcible sexual intercourse with a person who is under the statutory age of consent. Legal definitions and prohibitions vary by state.

TITLE IX – portion of the 1972 Education Amendments to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which states “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”

UNFOUNDED CRIME – a crime may be “unfounded” only if sworn or commissioned law enforcement personnel have fully investigated the reported crime and, based on the results of the full investigation and evidence, have made a formal determination that the crime report is false or baseless and therefore “unfounded.” Both “founded” and “unfounded” crimes must be reported on the Clery Annual Security Report.

VAWA – the Violence Against Women Act passed in 2013 amended the Clery Act to include Dating Violence, Domestic Violence and Stalking incidents (DVDVS). It also details the role of law enforcement, the types of crimes mandated for reporting, and stipulates the need for violence prevention programming.

Voyeurism- Trespassing, spying, or eavesdropping.

Sexual Assault and Relationship Violence Myths

Myth: Only certain types of women are sexually assaulted.

Any person of any age, race, class, religion, occupation, physical ability, gender identity, or appearance can be raped. Almost one out of every five undergraduate women experience attempted or completed sexual assault while in college and approximately 6.1% of males reported being victims of completed or attempted sexual assault during college.

Myth: Most sexual assaults occur as spontaneous acts in dark alleys and are committed by strangers.

Close to 80% of all sexual assaults are committed by someone the survivor knew. This can range from someone known to the survivor only by sight, to individuals with whom they are very close: a best friend, a lover, or spouse. Statistics show that 50% of sexual assaults occur in or around a survivor's home and 50% of the assaults occur during the day.

Myth: Women give mixed messages because they don't want to admit that they really want to have sex. They just need to be convinced to relax and enjoy themselves.

Rape is a crime for which the perpetrator has responsibility. By understanding that rape is rape, regardless of the relationship between the parties, and regardless of the behavior of the victim, the focus will stay on the perpetrator's behavior, not the victim's. It is important to note that coercion is unreasonable pressure for sexual activity. Coercion is the use of emotional manipulation to persuade someone to do something they may not want to do such as being sexual or performing certain sexual acts. Being coerced into having sex or performing sexual acts is not consenting to having sex and is considered sexual misconduct.

Myth: Many people falsely report being sexually assaulted.

A judge of the New York State Supreme Court has said, "False rape charges are not frequently made; only about 2% of all rape and related sex charges are determined to be false—the same as other felonies." FBI statistics support this as well. This is the same rate of false reporting as other major crime reports.

Myth: Victims "ask for it" by their dress or behavior.

No one ever asks to be raped. The sexual appearance and/or seductive behaviors of a person DO NOT equal consent. Many convicted sexual assailants are unable to remember what their victims looked like or were wearing (99%). Nothing a person does or does not do causes a brutal crime like sexual assault. A person’s choice of clothing in NO WAY grants permission or invites rape.

Myth: There is a "right" way for a victim to respond to a sexual assault.

Victims of sexual violence exhibit a spectrum of responses to the assault, which can include: calm, hysteria, withdrawal, anger, apathy, denial, and shock. Being sexually assaulted is a very traumatic experience. Reactions to the assault and the length of time needed to process the experience vary with each person. There is no “right way” to react to having been sexually assaulted. Assumptions about a way a victim “should act” may be detrimental to the victim because each victim copes with the trauma of the assault in different ways, which can also vary over time.

Myth: The gender of the victim or rapist determines their sexual orientation 

Sexual assault is about power and control, not about determining one’s sexual orientation. However, it is important to note that corrective rape occurs or committing rape because of one’s perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. The common intended consequence of the rape, as seen by the perpetrator, is to turn the person heterosexual (or another sexual orientation) or to enforce conformity with gender stereotypes.

Myth: An erection or orgasm implies consent.

Erection, ejaculation, and orgasms are physiological responses that can't be controlled and can even result from stress. These responses can be confusing for a person who has been sexually assaulted and can make them wonder if they really did enjoy or want the sexual contact. It is important to validate these responses, and reassure that they are physiological and normal.

Myth: It is impossible to rape a spouse or significant other.

Just because someone has consented to have sex with a spouse or partner once, twice, or a hundred times before does not mean that he or she has consented to all future sex with that person.

Myth: Victims who do not fight back have not been sexually assaulted.

Anytime someone is forced to have sex against their will, they have been sexually assaulted, regardless of whether or not they fought back. There are many reasons why a victim might not physically fight their attacker including shock, fear, threats, or the size and strength of the attacker. Neurobiology and one’s “flight or fight” response also contributes, and each individual reacts differently during an attack.

Myth: Intimate partner violence occurs only among poor, uneducated families and/or among people of color.

Abuse affects people of all classes, races, religions, genders, nationalities and ages, married or not, straight and LGBQ+.

Myth: Sexual assault or relationship violence is caused by alcohol or drug use.

Alcohol and drugs are never an excuse for violence, or the cause of violence. Even chronic substance abusers batter when they are sober, and not all batterers are users of alcohol or drugs. Additionally, sexual assault survivors are never responsible for the attack, no matter how much alcohol or drugs were consumed. Responsibility lies with the perpetrator; the survivor is never responsible for the assailant's behavior. Alcohol and drugs may increase the risk of being targeted for sexual assault, and may make someone incapable of giving consent or protecting themselves, but it is not the cause of the assault. Both parties must be able to mentally, emotionally, physically, and verbally choose to engage in the sexual activity. Vulnerable behaviors do not excuse the criminal behaviors of another person.

Myth: Relationship violence only occurs in heteronormative relationships and between married couples.

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, from 25% to 50% of all women in heterosexual relationships are abused. Rates of violence in same-sex relationships are the same. Relationship violence is just as common among dating couples as it is among married couples. The difference is that our understanding of abuse among married couples is greater than what we know about dating couples. As a result, sometimes the knowledge of law enforcement or the laws that they must enforce do not meet the needs of victims of dating violence.