Sexual Assault Definition
Sexual assault is a term used to describe any type of sexual activity committed by one person without the consent of the other. It involves the use of threats, force, or violence, or any other form of coercion or intimidation. Sexual contact with a person who is unable to give consent is also considered sexual assault. Sexual assault is a term that is used to cover a broad range of crimes that involve unwanted sexual contact. More familiar terms include the following:
- Rape is the non-consensual penetration orally, anally, or vaginally by genitalia, foreign objects, or other body parts.
- Sexual Harassment includes any unwelcome sexual advances; requests for sexual favors; or other verbal, non-verbal, or physical conduct or communication of a sexual nature when such conduct interferes with a person’s living, studying, or working conditions or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment.
- Sexual Misconduct is the intentional touching of a person’s intimate parts or the clothing covering the immediate area of a person’s intimate parts without his/her consent, if the touching can be reasonably construed as being for the purpose of sexual arousal or gratification of the perpetrator.
These definitions are modeled after Indiana State Code regarding Sex Crimes (IC 35-42-4). For the full Indiana Code please consult the following link: Indiana Code.
Consent is an active agreement to do something. Consent requires that a person be able to freely choose between two options: yes and no, at any point in the interaction. Consent must be mutually understandable. Consent is not the absence of no but the statement of yes. A person is considered to be incapable of giving consent if she/he is asleep, unconscious, or otherwise unable to communicate. No one who has been intimidated, threatened, coerced or drugged can be considered to consent. A person cannot give consent if incapacitated or under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Silence or non-communication should never be interpreted as consent.
College Procedures for Sexual Assault
The College defines the following procedures to be used by all College representatives when contacted by alleged victims of sexual assault. College representatives should seek to assist victims in regaining control of their lives. To the extent possible, victims should be encouraged to make their own decisions and choices following a sexual assault.
The College representative’s first concern shall be for the medical or psychological welfare of the person. If the individual is in a crisis warranting immediate intervention, the College representative must follow departmental emergency procedures and/or call Security at 219.866.6129 or Crisis Response line 800.933.0374. The campus representative should provide a safe and comfortable place for the victim/survivor in which to discuss the options available and reach a decision. Listed below are the steps that shall be taken by a College representative/Crisis Responder if a Saint Joseph’s College student discloses that she/he was sexually assaulted on campus:
STEP 1: PROVIDE SUPPORT
Attend to the immediate emotional crisis. Listen with compassion and ask the individual what she/he may need.
STEP 2: IMPORTANCE OF MEDICAL ATTENTION
Communicate to the victim/survivor the importance of medical attention and discuss whether immediate assistance is needed. Medical attention is vital for detecting and treating a range of medical concerns, including sexually transmitted diseases, pregnancy, and injuries. Treatment for HIV prevention must be administered within seventy‐two (72) hours after the rape, the sooner the better. Preventive measures against pregnancy and treatments for sexually transmitted infections must begin as soon as possible. Seeking medical treatment and permitting the collection of medical evidence does not commit the victim/survivor to making a police report. At a later time, however, if the victim/survivor chooses to report to the police, physical evidence collected soon after the assault will maximize the effectiveness of the legal proceedings.
Victims/survivors who agree to seek initial medical assistance following a sexual assault are referred to Franciscan Health - Rensselaer without showering, cleaning up, or changing clothes as doing these things could destroy evidence. If transportation is needed, Campus Security or the Office of Housing & Residence Life will coordinate transportation to a medical facility. The Rensselaer Police Department also can provide transportation.
STEP 3: VICTIM RIGHTS FOR REPORTING
Determine whether the victim/survivor wishes to report the incident to the Saint Joseph’s College Dean of Students Office or the Rensselaer Police Department. The role of law enforcement is to fully investigate and document all reports of sexual violence. Saint Joseph’s College will attempt to maintain confidentiality in the course of any investigation; however, confidentiality cannot be guaranteed when investigating a harassment claim not the sanctions, if imposed. Saint Joseph’s College reserves the right to initiate its own investigation of any instance of alleged harassment, even where no formal or informal complaint has been made.
STEP 4: COUNSELING RESOURCES
Communicate to the victim/survivor the importance of psychological support and discuss with her/him whether immediate assistance is needed. Psychological services are available at the College. The College also has resources and referrals to assist with psychological needs that arise in the initial crisis of assault, as well as in the aftermath and longer‐term recovery.
STEP 5: WHAT HAPPENS NEXT
Inform the victim/survivor that College Disciplinary Proceedings and Action will be carried out according to policy and procedures as published by the in the Puma Guide.