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The Marist Community

What is Sexual Misconduct?

Sexual misconduct is any sexual contact without consent including unwelcomed sexual exploitation, sexual harassment, sexual assault, non-consensual sexual contact, and non-consensual sexual penetration.  Acts may include unwanted sexual touching, fondling, harassment, exposing or flashing, or forcing a person to pose for sexual pictures. Rape is non-consensual sexual intercourse, including vaginal, anal, or oral penetration by a body part or an object. Sometimes, sexual assault and rape are used as interchangeable terms.  

Consent is the presence of a yes, not the absence of a no. It must be:

  • Expressed: Use words! Actions can be a sign of consent but can be misinterpretted. 
  • Not Incapacitated: That means no slurred speech, stumbling, passing out, or any other action that indicates incapacitation or an inability to consent to an action.
  • Not coerced: That means no badgering, trapping someone, or giving consequences for not performing an act.
  • Active: Ask for each act you're engaging in, including kissing, touching, and intercourse.
  • Between people of consenting age and ability status.

Consent should be enthusiastic and can be sexy! It's as easy as asking, "Is this okay?" or "What do you want?"

Please refer to the Discrimination, Harassment, and Sexual Misconduct Policy for the specific definitions regarding acts of Sexual Misconduct.  Sexual Misconduct may include: 

1. Sexual Harassment (see definitions)

2. Non-Consensual Sexual Intercourse is defined as:

  • any sexual penetration or intercourse (anal, oral or vaginal)
  • however slight
  • with any object
  • by a person upon another person
  • that is without consent and/or by force

Sexual penetration includes vaginal or anal penetration by a penis, tongue, finger or object, or oral copulation by mouth to genital contact or genital to mouth contact.

3. Non-Consensual Sexual Contact is defined as:

  • any intentional sexual touching
  • however slight
  • with any object
  • by a person upon another person
  • that is without consent and/or by force

Sexual touching includes any bodily contact with the breasts, groin, genitals, mouth or other bodily orifice of another individual, or any other bodily contact in a sexual manner.

4. Sexual Exploitation

Sexual Exploitation refers to a situation in which a person takes non-consensual or abusive sexual advantage of another, and situations in which the conduct does not fall within the definitions of Sexual Harassment, Non-Consensual Sexual Intercourse or Non-Consensual Sexual Contact. Examples of sexual exploitation include, but are not limited to:

  • Sexual voyeurism (such as watching a person undressing, using the bathroom or engaged in sexual acts without the consent of the person observed).
  • Taking pictures or video or audio recording another in a sexual act, or in any other private activity without the consent of all involved in the activity, or exceeding the boundaries of consent (such as allowing another person to hide in a closet and observe sexual activity, or disseminating sexual pictures without the photographed person’s consent).
  • Prostitution

Sexual exploitation can also include engaging in sexual activity with another person while knowingly infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) or other sexually transmitted infection (STI) and without informing the other person of the infection, and further includes administering alcohol or drugs (such as “date rape” drugs) to another person without his or her knowledge or consent.

Statistics on Sexual Violence

Statistics vary on how many people are affected by sexual assault.  In reality, sexual assault affects everyone, whether directly or indirectly.  If you know someone who has been sexually assaulted, you can help. If you have experienced sexual assault, whether it was recently or in the past, remember that you are not alone. There are people who can be resources for you throughout your process of  healing and recovery.

  • One in six female college students reported having been a victim of rape or attempted rape during the preceding year
  • One in six men report being sexually assaulted before the age of 18
  • 85% of rapes on campus are acquaintance rapes
  • 27% of women have experienced a rape or attempted rape since age 14
  • The majority of reported victims and offenders are college age, with the rape victimization highest among 16-19 year olds
  • Only 27% of the women whose sexual assault met the legal definition of rape thought of themselves as rape victims
  • 42% of college women who are raped tell no one about their assault
  • 42% of the women who were raped said they had sex again with the men who assaulted them
  • 42% of raped women said they expect to be raped again
  • 84% of college men who committed rape said that what they did was definitely not rape
  • 55% of the men who raped said they had sex again with their victims
  • One in fifteen male students reported committing a rape or attempting to commit rape during the preceding year
  • Nearly one third of college men said they were likely to have sex with an unwilling partner if they thought they could get away with it

Reporting statistics

  • 5% of college women who are raped report the rape to the police
  • 5% of college women who are raped seek help at a rape crisis center

National Campus Statistics

Adapted from Townsend & Werden; National Violence Against Women; Center for Disease Control:

  • One out of four women will be the victim of rape in her lifetime.
  • One out of three women will be the victim of some form of sexual assault during her lifetime.
  • 83 percent of all rapes involve women under the age of 25.
  • 90 percent of campus sexual assaults involve the use of alcohol.
  • While less is known about sexual assault of men because of under-reporting, men are also survivors.
  • Almost half of college women who are raped had no previous sexual experience prior to the sexual assault.
  • Of those who are raped, only 25 percent of college women describe it as rape.
  • Of those women who describe it as rape, only 10 percent report the rape.
  • Rates of nonfatal intimate partner violence are highest for females aged 16–24 years.
  • Nearly 25 percent of adult women report being a victim of domestic violence in their lifetime, and about 50 percent of the intimate partner violence against females results in injury.

Stalking Statistics

  • One out of 12 women will be stalked at some point in her lifetime.
  • One out of 45 men will be stalked at some point in his lifetime.
  • 81 percent of stalking survivors who were stalked by their intimate partner reported that they had also been physically assaulted by that partner.
  • 76 percent of femicide (murder of women) cases involved at least one episode of stalking within 12 months prior to the murder.
  • 85 percent of attempted femicide (murder of women) cases involved at least one episode of stalking within 12 months prior to the murder.

Tjaden, P. & Thoennes N. (1998). “Stalking in America.” National Institute of Justice.
McFarlane, J.M., Campbell, J.C., Wilt, S., Sachs, C.J., Ulrich, Y., & Xu, X. (1999). Stalking and intimate partnerfemicide, Homicide Studies, 3, 300-316.

Interim Measures

The college reserves the right to take whatever measures it deems necessary in response to an allegation of sexual misconduct in order to protect students’ rights and personal safety. Such measures include, but are not limited to, modification of living arrangements, no contact orders, and interim suspension from campus pending a hearing.

Adapted from the ATIXA Gender-Based and Sexual Misconduct Model Policy. National Center for Higher Education Risk Management (NCHERM) & Association of Title IX Administrators (ATIXA).