Sexual Misconduct DefinitionsTitle IX
Terms and Definitions Relating to Sexual Misconduct
Golden West College takes responsibility for ensuring that our language, policies, and procedures surrounding sexual assault, misconduct, and harassment are clearly articulated. Interested parties will find the following list of terms and definitions to be a helpful starting point:
Board Policy and Administrative Procedure 5910: Sexual Misconduct includes this definition of sexual misconduct: it “comprises a broad range of unwelcome behaviors focused on Sex and/or gender that may or may not be sexual in nature. Any intercourse or other intentional sexual touching or activity without the other person’s consent is Sexual Assault, and is a form of Sexual Misconduct under this Policy. Sexual Misconduct encompasses Sexual Harassment, Sexual Assault, Sexual Exploitation, or Gender-based Harassment, which is a form of Harassment based on gender identity, gender expression, or non-conformity with gender stereotypes. Sexual Misconduct may also encompass acts of a sexual nature, including acts of Sexual Stalking, Domestic Violence, and Dating Violence, intimidation, or for Retaliation following an incident where alleged Sexual Misconduct has occurred.
Sexual Misconduct can occur between strangers or acquaintances, or people who know each other well, including between people involved in an intimate or sexual relationship, can be committed by anyone regardless of gender identity, and can occur between people of the same or different Sex or gender.”
Coercion is unreasonable pressure for sexual activity. Coercive behavior differs from seductive behavior based on the type of pressure someone uses to get consent from another. When someone makes clear to you that they do not want sex, that they want to stop, or that they do not want to go past a certain point of sexual interaction, continued pressure beyond that point can be coercive.
- Cases will be investigated regardless of whether the accuser resisted the sexual advance or request, but resistance is a clear demonstration of non-consent. The presence of force is not demonstrated by the absence of resistance. Sexual activity that is forced is by definition non-consensual, but non-consensual sexual activity is not by definition forced.
- In order to give effective consent, one must be of legal age (18 years or older).
- Sexual activity with a person who is mentally or physically incapacitated (by alcohol or other drug use, unconsciousness, or blackout) constitutes a violation.
As explained in Board Policy and Administrative Procedure 5910: Sexual Misconduct, a complainant is a “person [or persons] alleging that they are the victim of Sexual Misconduct by another person subject to the District’s policy on Sexual Misconduct. The District or College shall also be considered a Complainant if the District or College elects to investigate reports of potential violation(s) of the District’s policy on Sexual Misconduct. Any person(s), other than the alleged victim (Complainant), who reports possible violation(s) of the District’s policy on Sexual Misconduct, shall be identified as a Reporter […].”
Consent is clear, knowing, and voluntary. Consent is active, not passive. Silence, in and of itself, cannot be interpreted as consent. Consent can be given by words or actions, as long as those words or actions create mutually understandable clear permission regarding willingness to engage in (and the conditions of) sexual activity.
- Consent to any one form of sexual activity cannot automatically imply consent to any other forms of sexual activity.
- Previous relationships or prior consent cannot imply consent to future sexual acts.
For a helpful explanation of consent, please view this Cup of Tea Video.
Dating violence is the use of physical violence, coercion, threats, intimidation, isolation, or Stalking on another while in a dating relationship, or a social relationship of romantic or sexually intimate nature. Such violence includes other forms of emotional, sexual, or economic abuse directed towards a person who is or has been in a dating relationship, or a social relationship of a romantic or sexually intimate nature with the victim. This includes any behaviors that intimidate, manipulate, humiliate, isolate, frighten, terrorize, coerce, threaten, blame, hurt, injure, or wound someone. Dating Violence can be a single act or a pattern of behavior in relationships.
Domestic violence is the use of physical violence, coercion, threats, intimidation, isolation, Stalking, or other forms of emotional, sexual, or economic abuse directed towards (a) a current or former spouse or intimate partner; (b) a person with whom one shares a child; or (c) anyone who is protected from the Respondent’s acts under the domestic or family violence laws of California, including Family Code Section 6250 et seq., and any applicable federal law, including the Violence Against Women Act of 1994 (VAWA), as amended. This can include behaviors that intimidate, manipulate, humiliate, isolate, frighten, terrorize, coerce, threaten, blame, hurt, injure, or wound someone. Domestic Violence can be a single act or a pattern of behavior in relationships.
Force is the use of physical violence and/or imposing on someone physically to gain sexual access. Force also includes threats, intimidation (implied threats), and coercion that overcome resistance or produce consent (e.g., “Have sex with me or I’ll hit you. Okay, don’t hit me. I’ll do what you want”).
Incapacitation is a state where someone cannot make rational, reasonable decisions because they lack the capacity to give knowing consent (i.e., to understand the “who, what, when, where, why or how” of their sexual interaction).
District policy also covers a person whose incapacity results from mental disability, sleep, involuntary physical restraint, or from the taking of alcohol or rape drugs. Possession, use, and/or distribution of any of these substances, including but not limited to Rohypnol, Ketamine, GHB, Burundanga, etc. is prohibited, and administering one of these drugs to another student is a violation. More information on these drugs can be found at UCLA Medical Center’s Rape Treatment Center.
Non-Consensual Sexual Contact
Non-consensual sexual contact is any intentional sexual touching, however slight, with any object, by a person or people upon another person or people, that is without consent and/or by force. The determination of whether an environment is “hostile” must be based on all of the circumstances. These circumstances could include
- The frequency of the conduct;
- The nature and severity of the conduct;
- Whether the conduct was physically threatening;
- Whether the conduct was humiliating;
- The effect of the conduct on the alleged victim’s mental or emotional state;
- Whether the conduct was directed at more than one person;
- Whether the conduct arose in the context of other discriminatory conduct;
- Whether the conduct unreasonably interfered with the alleged victim’s educational or work performance;
- Whether the statement is a mere utterance of an epithet which engenders offense in an employee or student, or offends by mere discourtesy or rudeness; and/or
- Whether the speech or conduct deserves the protections of academic freedom or the 1st Amendment.
Non-Consensual Sexual Intercourse
Non-consensual sexual intercourse is any sexual intercourse, however slight, with any object, by a person or people upon another person or people, that is without consent and/or by force. Intercourse 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), no matter how slight the penetration or contact.
Under California Penal Code 261, rape is summarized as sexual intercourse against an individual’s will accomplished by force or threats of bodily injury; or fear that the victim or another will be injured if the victim does not submit to the intercourse; or where the victim is incapable of giving consent or prevented from resisting due to being intoxicated, drugged, or unconscious or asleep.
For additional information on Rape, please visit RAINN (Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network).
As noted in Board Policy and Administrative Procedure 5910: Sexual Misconduct, a respondent is “a person who is or persons who are alleged to have violated the District’s policy on Sexual Misconduct.”
Sexual assault is actual or attempted sexual contact with another person without that person’s consent. Sexual Assault includes, but is not limited to: 1) intentional touching of another person’s body in a sexual nature without that person’s consent; 2) other intentional sexual contact with another person without that person’s consent; 3) coercing, forcing, or attempting to coerce or force a person to touch another person’s body in a sexual nature without that person’s consent; or 4) rape, which is penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina, or anus of a person by any body part of another person, or by an object, or the mouth of a person, or by a sex organ of another person, without the other person’s consent.
Sexual contact is intentional contact with the breasts, buttock, groin, or genitals, or touching another with any of these body parts, or making another touch you or themselves with or on any of these body parts; any intentional bodily contact in a sexual manner, though not involving contact with/of/by breasts, buttocks, groin, genitals, mouth, or other orifice.
Sexual exploitation occurs when a person takes sexual advantage of another person for the benefit of anyone other than that person without the other person’s Consent. Examples of behavior that could rise to the level of Sexual Exploitation include
- Prostituting another person;
- Recording images (e.g. video, photograph) or audio of another person’s sexual activity, body when recorded for a sexual reason, or nakedness without that person’s Consent;
- Disturbing images (e.g. video, photograph) or audio of another person’s sexual activity, images of another’s body for sexual purposes, or nakedness, if the individual distributing the images or audio knows or should have known that the person depicted in the images or audio did not Consent to such disclosure and objects to such disclosure; and
- Viewing or distributing images of an individual’s sexual activity, body parts, or nakedness in a place where that person would have a reasonable expectation of privacy, without that person’s Consent to have the image shared, or advance Consent to view such an image, and for the purposes of arousing or gratifying sexual desire.
Sexual violence is defined as physical sexual acts engaged without the consent of the other person or when the other person is unable to consent to the activity. Sexual violence includes sexual assault, rape, battery, and sexual coercion; domestic violence; dating violence; and stalking.
Stalking is behavior wherein a student repeatedly engages in a course of conduct directed at another person and makes a credible threat with the intent to place that person in reasonable fear for [their] safety, or the safety of [their] family; where the threat is reasonably determined by the College Disciplinary Officer to create substantial emotional distress, torment, create fear, or to terrorize the person.
For a helpful explanation of Stalking, please view this Stalking I Video.
For a comprehensive list of terms and definitions relating to sexual misconduct, please see pages 3-7 of Board Policy and Administrative Procedure 5910: Sexual Misconduct.