Sexual misconduct includes a variety of acts that are perpetrated against another without consent or when an individual is unable to freely give consent. Accordingly, Polk State will not tolerate any form of sexual misconduct, including sexual assault, sexual harassment, sexual exploitation, dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking. All forms of sexual misconduct are serious offenses with serious consequences.

It is important to know the following terms and definitions to keep your friends, family, and self protected.

  1. Sexual Misconduct

    Sexual Misconduct  covers a variety of acts that are perpetrated against another without consent or when an individual is unable to give consent freely. Anyone can be a victim regardless of their gender, age or sexual orientation. Sexual misconduct includes, but is not limited to, the following prohibited behaviors:

    • Sexual Harassment
    • Sexual Assault
    • Sexual Exploitation
    • Domestic Violence
    • Dating Violence
    • Stalking
  2. Consent

    Consent is an informed decision made freely and actively by all parties. Conduct will be considered “without consent” if no clear consent, verbal or nonverbal, is given. Because sexual misconduct is defined as sexual activity that is undertaken without consent, each participant must obtain and give consent to each sexual act.

    Consent is an affirmative decision to engage in mutually acceptable sexual activity, and consent is given by clear actions or words. People are strongly encouraged to talk with each other before and during any sexual interaction. Relying solely upon non-verbal communication can lead to miscommunication.

    It should be noted that in some situations an individual’s ability to freely consent is taken away by another person or circumstance. Examples include when an individual is significantly impaired due to alcohol or other drugs, scared, physically forced, passed out, intimidated, coerced, mentally or physically impaired, beaten, threatened, isolated, or confined.

    People with mental disabilities cannot give consent to sexual activity if they cannot understand the act, nature, consequences, risks; including both positive and negative or extent of the sexual situation in which they find themselves. The mental disability of the victim must be known (or reasonably knowable) to the non-disabled sexual partner, in order to hold them responsible for the violation.

    The following serves to clarity these points:

    • Consent is required each and every time there is sexual activity;
    • At any and all times when consent is withdrawn or not verbally agreed upon, the sexual activity must stop immediately;
    • Consent to some levels of sexual activity does not imply consent to all levels of sexual activity. Each new level of sexual activity requires consent;
    • The person or persons who initiate(s) a new level of sexual activity is responsible for asking for consent;
    • A current or previous dating or sexual relationship with the initiator (or anyone else) does not constitute consent;
    • Being intoxicated does not diminish one’s responsibility to obtain consent;
    • Bodily movements and non-verbal responses such as moans are not consent;
    • Silence, passivity, or lack of active resistance is not consent;
    • Intentional use of alcohol/drugs does not imply consent to sexual activity;
    • Seductive dancing or sexy/revealing clothing does not imply consent to sexual activity;
    • Anyone under the age of 16 cannot give consent;

    Use of agreed upon forms of communication such as gestures or safe words is acceptable, but must be discussed and verbally agreed upon by all parties before sexual activity occurs

  3. Incapacitation

    Incapacitated persons cannot give consent. One who is incapacitated as a result of alcohol or other drug consumption (voluntarily or involuntarily), or who is unconscious, unaware, or otherwise helpless, is incapable of giving consent. One must not engage in sexual activity with another whom one know (or should reasonably know) to be incapacitated. Physically incapacitated persons are considered incapable or giving effective consent when they lack the ability to appreciate the fact that the situation is sexual, and/or cannot rationally and reasonably appreciate the nature and extent of that situation.

     

    Examples of incapacitation include:

    • Unconscious;
    • Sleeping;
    • Frightened;
    • Physically or psychologically pressured or forced;
    • Intimidated;
    • Threatened;

    Incapacitation can also result from:

    • A psychological health condition;
    • A physiological health condition;
    • Voluntary intoxication;
    • Involuntary use of any drug, intoxicant or controlled substance;
  4. Sexual Harassment

    Sexual harassment is defined as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other harassing conduct of a sexual nature whether intentional or not. Sexual harassment occurs when:

    • Submission to the unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s employment or status in a course, program, or activity; or
    • Submission to/or rejection of the unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature by an individual is used as the basis for an academic or employment-related decision affecting such an individual; or
    • The unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature is sufficiently severe, persistent, or pervasive as to substantially limit or interfere with an individual’s work, educational performance, participation in extra-curricular activities, or equal access to the University’s resources and opportunities; or
    • Such contact creates an intimidating, hostile, or abusive living, working, or educational environment.
    • Sexual violence is a form of sexual harassment. Sexual violence refers to physical acts perpetrated against a person’s will or where a person is incapable of giving consent due to the victim’s use of drugs, alcohol, or disability. Physical sexual acts include rape, sexual assault, sexual battery and sexual coercion.
  5. Sexual Assault

    Sexual assault is any type of sexual conduct or contact that occurs without the explicit consent of the recipient.

    Non-consensual sexual contact is:

    • Any intentional sexual touching;
    • However slight;
    • With any object or body part;
    • By a person of any gender, age or sexual orientation;
    • That is without consent.

    Non-consensual sexual penetration is:

    • Any sexual penetration (anal, oral, vaginal);
    • However slight;
    • With any object or body part;
    • By a person of any gender, age or sexual orientation;
    • That is without consent.
  6. Sexual Exploitation

    Sexual exploitation occurs when a person takes non-consensual or unjust sexual advantage of another for their own advantage or benefit, or to benefit another other than the one being exploited.

    Examples of sexual exploitation include, but are not limited to:

    • Non-consensual video, photographing, or audio-taping of sexual activity;
    • Non-consensual distribution of a video, photograph, or sound recording of sexual activity;
    • Non-consensual photographing of nudity;
    • Non-consensual distribution of a nude photograph;
    • Going beyond the boundaries of consent (such as letting your friends hide in the closet to watch you having consensual sex);
    • Engaging in peeping or incident exposure;
    • Inducing incapacitation through alcohol or drugs in order to sexually assault another person (whether or not sexual contact actually takes place); an example could include spiking someone’s drink.
  7. Domestic Violence

    Domestic violence is defined as violence committed by a current or former spouse of the victim, by a person with whom the victim shares a child in common, by a person who is cohabitating with or has cohabited with the victim as a spouse or someone similarly situated to a spouse, or by any other person from whom the victim is protected under the domestic or family violence laws.

    Domestic violence can include:

    • Physical assault (such as shoving, kicking or punching)
    • Verbal abuse (such as belittling or calling names)
    • Controlling behavior (such as not letting the victim see friends and/or family, telling the victim what to wear)
    • Sexual abuse (such as forced kissing, hugging or sexual contact)
    • Psychological abuse (such as threatening to hurt the victim or family or friends, or instill fear)
  8. Dating Violence

    Dating violence is defined as violence committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim. The existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on a consideration of the following factors: the length of the relationship; the type of relationship; the frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship.

     

    Dating Violence can include:

    • Physical assault (such as shoving, kicking or punching)
    • Verbal abuse (such as belittling or calling names)
    • Controlling behavior (such as not letting the victim see friends and/or family, telling the victim what to wear)
    • Sexual abuse (such as forced kissing, hugging or sexual contact)
    • Psychological abuse (such as threatening to hurt the victim or family or friends, or instill fear)
  9. Stalking

    Stalking is defined as engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to:

    a) fear for his or her safety or the safety of others; or

    b) suffer substantial emotional distress.

    Cyberstalking is another form of stalking where a person engages in a course of conduct using the internet, email, or other electronic communications devices to pursue or track another person that would cause a reasonable person to: a) fear for his safety or the safety of others; or b) suffer substantial emotional distress.

     

    Stalking can include:

    • Unwanted telephone calls
    • Unwanted letters, emails, social messages (e.g. twitter, Facebook) or other forms of communication/messaging
    • Unwanted or threatening gifts
    • Pursuing or following a person without his or her consent
    • Unwanted appearances at a person’s place of residence, school, or work
    • Surveillance or other types of observation
    • Use of electronic devices or software to track or obtain private information