Sexual Assault Definitions

The following definitions include examples of sexual assault, consent and incapacitation. For a complete list, see definitions of prohibited conduct in the Student Handbook.

Sexual Assault is an offense classified as a forcible or non-forcible sex offense under the uniform crime reporting system of the FBI. Generally, a sexual assault has been committed when an individual engages in sexual activity without the explicit consent of the other individual involved.

Dating Violence (as defined by the Violence Against Women Act) is violence committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim.

Stalking is the willful, threatening or repeated harassment and/or following of another person—physically, verbally or electronically—that would cause a reasonable person to feel alarmed or to suffer emotional distress.

Consent is clear, knowing, voluntary, active permission regarding willingness to engage in sexual activity. It can be given by words or actions, as long as those actions are mutually understandable. In order to give consent, one must be 18 years old and have the capacity to give consent. Consent can be withdrawn at any time and for any reason, irrespective of how much sexual interaction has already taken place.

Capacity/Incapacity is a state where someone cannot make rational, reasonable decisions because they lack the capacity to understand the “who, what, when, where, why or how” of their sexual interaction.