Sexual Misconduct Definitions

 Title IX Definitions


WBU Title IX Coordinator:

Dr. Justin Lawrence
Title IX Co-Coordinator
Wayland Baptist University
1900 W. 7th
Plainview, TX 79072
(806) 291-1173 lawrencej@wbu.edu

It is important to remember that sexual misconduct is never the fault of the victim.

What is Coercion?  (+) to open up the answer

Coercion is the act of persuading or convincing someone to do something using force or other unethical means. Or… coercion is the practice of forcing another party to act in an involuntary manner by use of intimidation, threats, or other form of pressure.  Examples of coercion include but are not limited to threatening a person’s relationships with other people, instilling a fear of falling out of a group or organization.

 

What is 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.

A person cannot give consent if he or she (1) is a minor (under age 18); (2) has a mental disorder or developmental or physical disability that renders him or her incapable of giving consent, and this is known or reasonably should have been known to the Respondent; (3) is unconscious of the nature of the act, and this is known to the Respondent; or (4) is incapacitated from alcohol or other drugs, and this condition is known or reasonably should have been known to the Respondent.  Some indicators that an individual is or may be incapacitated due to intoxication may include, but are not limited to, vomiting, unresponsiveness, inability to communicate coherently, inability to dress/undress without assistance, inability to walk without assistance, slurred speech, loss of coordination, or inability to perform other physical or cognitive tasks without assistance. 

In the evaluation of any complaints in any University disciplinary process, it shall not be a valid excuse to alleged lack of affirmative consent that the Respondent accused believed that the Complainant consented to the sexual activity under either of the following circumstances: (a) the Respondent’s belief in affirmative consent arose from the intoxication or recklessness of the Respondent; or (b) the Respondent did not take reasonable steps, in the circumstances known to the Respondent at the time, to ascertain whether the Complainant affirmatively consented.

In the evaluation of any complaints in any University disciplinary process, it shall not be a valid excuse that the Respondent believed that the Complainant affirmatively consented to the sexual activity if the Respondent knew or reasonably should have known that the Complainant was unable to consent to the sexual activity under any of the following circumstances: (a) the Complainant was asleep or unconscious; (b) the Complainant was incapacitated due to the influence of drugs, alcohol, or medication, so that the Complainant could not understand the fact, nature, or extent of the sexual activity; (c) the Complainant was unable to communicate due to a mental or physical condition.

What is Relationship Violence?

Relationship Violence (Domestic or Dating Violence) is defined as:

  1. attempting to cause bodily injury;
  2. intentionally causing bodily injury; or
  3. placing the aggrieved person or a member of the aggrieved person’s family or household in fear of imminent serious bodily injury or continuedharassment that rises to the level to cause a reasonable person substantial emotional distress.

Relationship Violence is commonly referred to as dating violence or domestic violence, and occurs between persons who have been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with each other. The existence of such a relationship is determined by considering the following factors:

  1. the length of the relationship;
  2. the type of relationship; and
  3. the frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship.

What is Sexual Assault?

Sexual Assault is any unwanted physical contact of a sexual nature that occurs either without the consent of each participant or when a participant is unable to give consent freely. Physical contact of a sexual nature includes, but is not limited to, touching or attempted touching of another person’s breasts, buttocks, inner thighs, groin, or genitalia, either directly or indirectly, or sexual penetration (however slight) of another person’s oral, anal or genital opening.

Non-Consensual Sexual Contact is defined as intentional touching of another person’s clothed or unclothed body, including, but not limited to, the mouth, neck, buttocks, anus, genitalia, or breast, by another with any part of the body or any object in a sexual manner. Non-Consensual Sexual Contact also includes causing another person to touch their own or another’s body in the manner described in this definition.

Sexual assault is a form of Non-Consensual Sexual Contact that involves having or attempting to have sexual contact with another person without consent.

Non-Consensual Sexual Penetration is defined as penetration (anal, oral or vaginal), however slight, with any body part or any object, by a person upon another person, without effective consent. This 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).

What is Sexual Exploitation?

Sexual exploitation is defined as taking non-consensual, unjust, or abusive sexual advantage of another, for one’s own advantage or benefit; or to benefit or advantage anyone other than the person being exploited. Sexual exploitation encompasses a wide range of behaviors including, but not limited to:

  • Inducing incapacitation with the intent to rape or sexually assault another student;
  • Non-consensual video or audio-recording of sexual activity;
  • Allowing others to observe a personal act of consensual sex without knowledge or consent of the partner;
  • Engaging in Peeping Tommery (voyeurism);
  • Knowingly transmitting a sexually transmitted disease, including HIV, to another student;
  • Prostituting another student (i.e. – personally gaining money, privilege, or power from the sexual activities of another student); or
  • Indecent Exposure (willfully exposing one’s genitals in any public place, and in the presence of another person).

What is Sexual/Gender Based Harassment?

Sexual or gender-based harassment is a form of discrimination that includes verbal, written, or physical behavior, directed at someone, or against a particular group, because of that person’s or group’s sex, gender identity, actual or perceived sexual orientation, or based on gender stereotypes, when that behavior is unwelcome and meets either of the following criteria:

  1. Submission or consent to the behavior is reasonably believed to carry consequences, positive or negative, for the individual’s education, employment, University living environment, or participation in a University activity or program. Examples of this type of sexual harassment include:
    1. Pressuring an individual to engage in sexual behavior for some educational or employment benefit, or
    2. Making a threat or perceived threat that rejecting sexual behavior will carry a negative consequence for the individual.
  2. The behavior has the purpose or effect of substantially interfering with the individual’s work or educational performance by creating an intimidating, hostile, or demeaning environment for employment, education, University living, or participation in a University activity or program. Examples of this type of sexual harassment include:
    1. Unwelcome efforts to develop a romantic or sexual relationship;
    2. Unwelcome sexual advances or requests for sexual favors;
    3. Unwelcome commentary about an individual’s body or sexual activities;
    4. Unwelcome sexually-oriented teasing, joking or flirting
    5. Unwelcome back/shoulder massages; and
    6. Verbal abuse of a sexual nature.

Behaviors or communications may be verbal or nonverbal, written, or electronic. Such conduct does not need to be directed at or to a specific individual in order to constitute sexual harassment, but may consist of generalized unwelcome and inappropriate behaviors or communications based on sex, gender identity, actual or perceived sexual orientation, or gender stereotypes.

Determination of whether alleged conduct constitutes sexual harassment requires
consideration of all the circumstances, including the context in which the alleged incidents occurred.

What is Sexual Misconduct?

Sexual Misconduct includes Sexual Harassment, Sexual Assault, Sexual Exploitation and Stalking.

What is Stalking?

Stalking or cyberstalking is defined as engaging in a course of conduct (at least two acts) directed at a specific person (in person, through third parties or through electronic means) that would cause a reasonable person to:

  1. Fear for the individual’s safety or the safety of others; or
  2. Suffer substantial emotional distress.

Examples of conduct that may constitute Stalking include, but are not limited to, unwelcome and repeated visual or physical proximity to a person; repeated oral or written threats; extortion of money or valuables; unwelcome and unsolicited written communications, including letters, cards, emails, instant messages, and messages on social media.

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.