Sexual Assault or Sexual Violence
The image above is provided to help you understand the definition of sexual assault or sexual violence. More information is included below and can also be accessed at sexualassaultanddiscriminationpolicy.unc.edu.
What is sexual assault or sexual violence under the University's Policy?
Sexual Assault and Sexual Violence are forms of Sexual or Gender-Based Harassment that involve having or attempting to have Sexual Contact with another individual without Consent.
Intentional touching or penetration 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. Sexual Contact also includes
causing another person to touch their own or another’s body in the manner described above.
Consent is the communication of an affirmative, conscious and freely made decision by each participant to engage in agreed upon forms of Sexual Contact. Consent requires an outward demonstration, through understandable words or actions, that conveys a clear willingness to engage in Sexual Contact.
Consent is not to be inferred from silence, passivity, or a lack of resistance, and relying on
non-verbal communication alone may result in a violation of this Policy. For example, a
person who does not physically resist or verbally refuse Sexual Contact may not necessarily be giving Consent. There is no requirement that an individual verbally or physically resist unwelcome Sexual Contact for there to be a violation of this Policy.
Consent is not to be inferred from an existing or previous dating or sexual relationship. Even in the context of a relationship, there must be mutual Consent to engage in Sexual Contact.
Consent to one form of Sexual Contact does not constitute Consent to any other form of Sexual Contact, nor does Consent to Sexual Contact with one person constitute Consent to Sexual Contact with any other person. Additionally, Consent to Sexual Contact on one occasion is not Consent to engage in Sexual Contact on another occasion.
Consent cannot be obtained by Coercion or Force or by taking advantage of one’s inability to give Consent because of Incapacitation or other circumstances. Coercion or Force and Incapacitation are described in more detail below.
A person who has given Consent to engage in Sexual Contact may withdraw Consent at any time.
However, withdrawal of Consent requires an outward demonstration, through understandable words or actions, that clearly conveys that a party is no longer willing to engage in Sexual Contact. Once Consent is withdrawn, the Sexual Contact must cease immediately.
For more information, visit sexualassaultanddiscriminationpolicy.unc.edu.
What are examples of sexual assault or sexual violence?
- Intentionally grabbing someone’s breast while out at a party without their consent.
- Touching sexually or having sex with someone who is passed out from drinking too much.
Who experiences sexual assault or sexual violence?
Sexual violence does not discriminate. Survivors and perpetrators can come from all ethnicities, races, genders, identities, social classes, sexual orientations and abilities. Violence can happen between people of the same or different genders. Sexual violence is NEVER the survivor’s fault.
Sexual violence is one of the most underreported crimes. Many survivors of sexual violence suffer in silence, never telling loved ones or reporting the act(s) of violence for many different reasons, including feeling shame, guilt, fear of reprisal from their perpetrator, fear that no one will believe them, or believing that the violence is their fault. Deciding to tell someone about the assault can be hard, but it can also be a step toward healing.
Who perpetrates sexual violence?
Sexual violence may be committed by significant others, boyfriends, girlfriends, husbands, wives, friends, acquaintances, family, lovers, partners and strangers. Violence may happen once, or it may happen repeatedly. It is important to remember that if someone has been intimate with a partner in the past, it does not mean he/she/ze consents to any/all future sexual activity with that partner. Sexual violence is often used as a way to hurt, humiliate or gain control over someone else.
What are common reactions to sexual violence?
When someone experiences sexual violence, they can display signs of trauma. Common reactions to traumatic events, including sexual violence, can include depression, feelings of suicidality, anxiety, flashbacks, difficulty sleeping, nightmares, being “jumpy” (also known as exaggerated startle response), frequent headaches, chronic pain, difficulty concentrating, avoiding reminders of the trauma, substance use, feelings of helplessness, shame and guilt. Some people do not react at all and may act as though nothing happened. There are a variety of ways that someone who has experienced trauma can respond.