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Definitions

The University of Hartford prohibits sexual violence and other sexual misconduct, as defined in our Policy on Title IX Sexual Harassment and Community Standards Sexual Misconduct. Please consult the policy for more detailed definitions.

Title IX Definitions

Sexual Violence

Sexual Violence includes the threat of, attempted, or actual sexual assault, including unwelcome sexual contact and intimate partner violence, including domestic violence and dating violence.

Sexual Assault

Sexual Assault can include forcible and non-forcible but otherwise unlawful sexual offenses.

  • Non-forcible but unlawful sexual offenses include incest and statutory rape.
  • Forcible sexual offenses include rape, acquaintance rape, forcible sodomy, and sexual assault with an object.

The terms used to describe the various forms of sexual assault under Connecticut law are “sexual intercourse” and “sexual contact,” where the intercourse or contact is unlawful because it involves one or more of the following:

  • Lack of consent from the victim
  • Force or threat of use of force, whether against the victim of sexual assault or a third person, where the victim has a reasonable cause for fear of physical injury. Force can, but does not necessarily include, use or threatened use of deadly weapons.
  • Sexual intercourse or contact with a person who has a temporary or permanent mental incapacity (“mental incapacitation” and “mental defect” under the Connecticut statute’s terminology).
  • Statutory rape, as defined by Connecticut law
  • Incest, or
  • Conduct where the perpetrator has a fiduciary relationship with the victim, such as a
  • psychoanalyst or other medical professional, school teacher, or legal guardian.

Sexual Intercourse

Sexual intercourse, under Connecticut law, is defined as vaginal intercourse, anal intercourse, fellatio, or cunnilingus between persons regardless of sex. Penetration, however slight, is sufficient to complete vaginal intercourse, anal intercourse, or fellatio, and does not require emission of semen. Penetration may be committed by an object manipulated by the actor into the genital or anal opening of the victim’s body.

Sexual Contact

Sexual contact is defined as any contact with the intimate parts of a person not married to the actor for the purpose of sexual gratification of the actor or for the purpose of degrading or humiliating such person.

Intimate Partner Violence

Intimate partner violence means any physical or sexual harm against an individual by the actions of a current or former spouse or person in a dating relationship with that individual, where the action constitutes sexual assault or stalking as defined in this section, or family violence as defined under applicable state law, which includes assault or threat of assault, reckless endangerment, sexual assault, stalking, disorderly conduct, criminal harassment, criminal violation of protective or restraining order, when directed against a family or household member. Intimate partner violence includes domestic violence and dating violence.

Domestic Violence

Domestic violence includes felony or misdemeanor crimes of violence committed by a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the victim, by a person with whom the victim shares a child in common, by a person who is cohabitating with or has cohabitated with the victim as a spouse or intimate partner, by a person similarly situated to a spouse of the victim under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction receiving grant monies, or by any other person against an adult or youth victim who is protected from that person’s acts under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction.

Dating Violence

Dating violence is violence committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim, where 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, and the frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship.

Other Sexual Misconduct Constituting a Violation of Sexual Violence Policy

Stalking

Stalking means engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person(s) that would cause a reasonable person to fear for his or her safety or the safety of others, or suffer substantial emotional distress. Under Connecticut law, stalking is willfully and repeatedly following or lying in wait for another person and causes, whether willfully or recklessly, that person is reasonably in fear for her or his safety. Behavior constituting stalking may include, but is not limited to, communications (i.e., face-to-face, telephone, email, and social media), threatening or obscene gestures, surveillance, or showing up outside the targeted individuals classroom, residence, or workplace, where that behavior is nonconsensual.

Sexual Exploitation

Sexual Exploitation occurs when a person takes advantage of another—without that individual’s consent—for the initiator’s own advantage anyone other than the one being exploited, and that behavior does not otherwise constitute sexual violence or other sexual misconduct, including, but not limited to:

  • Sexual exhibitionism
  • Non-consensual video, photographing, or audio-recording of a sexual nature and/or distribution of these materials via mediums such as the Internet
  • Exceeding the boundaries of the consent (e.g., allowing people to watch consensual sex without the knowledge of the participants)
  • Peeping or other voyeurism

Other Forms of Inappropriate Conduct

Other forms of inappropriate conduct that, while not directly sexual violence, stalking or sexual exploitation, nonetheless constitute a violation of this Sexual Violence Policy include:

  • Assisting another person in committing a violation of this sexual violence policy
  • Interfering with any person’s effort to exercise or seek to exercise their rights under this sexual violence policy, including but not limited to coercion, threats or harassment
  • Failing to cooperate in an investigation or proceeding conducted under or in connection with this sexual violence policy
  • Retaliation against any person for exercising or seeking to exercise their rights under this sexual violence policy
  • Retaliating against any person for cooperating with an investigation or proceeding conducted under or in connection with this sexual violence policy

Definition of Consent

Consent is defined as an active, knowing, and voluntary exchange of affirmative words and/or actions that indicate and effectively communicate a willingness to participate in a particular sexual activity. It is the responsibility of the initiator to obtain clear and affirmative responses at each stage of sexual involvement.

  • In order to give consent, a person must be of the legal age of consent. Under most circumstances, the age of consent in Connecticut is 16.
  • Consent must be freely and actively given.
  • Silence, the lack of resistance, or the lack of a negative response is not consent.
  • A person who is incapacitated by alcohol and/or drugs, whether voluntarily or involuntarily consumed, cannot give consent.
  • A person who is asleep cannot give consent.
  • Consent to one form of sexual activity does not indicate consent to another form of sexual activity.
  • Neither past consent nor a past relationship indicates current or future consent.
  • Consent to engage in sexual activity with one person does not imply consent to engage in sexual activity with another.
  • Consent can be withdrawn at any time; and
  • Coercion, force, or threat of either invalidates consent.

Consent must be freely and meaningfully given. Consent cannot be freely and meaningfully given if the person whose consent is needed is incapacitated, or if the consent is obtained by means of force or coercion.

For Purposes of This Sexual Violence Policy:

Incapacitation

Incapacitation is a state where someone cannot make rational, reasonable decisions due to a lack of capacity to give knowing consent, (i.e., to understand the “who, what, when, where, why, and how” of sexual interaction).

  • Sexual activity with someone who is—or based on circumstances should reasonably have known to be—mentally or physically incapacitated (i.e., by alcohol or other drug use, unconsciousness, or blackout) constitutes a violation of this Sexual Violence Policy.
  • A person whose incapacity results from mental disability, sleep, involuntary physical restraint, or from the consumption (voluntary or otherwise) of incapacitating drugs cannot give consent.
  • Alcohol-related incapacity results from a level of alcohol ingestion that is more severe than impairment, being under the influence, drunkenness or intoxication.

Force

Force is the use of physical violence and/or imposing on someone physically to gain sexual access.

Coercion

Coercion is unreasonable pressure for sexual activity, including without limitation the use of threats, intimidation, or emotional manipulation to persuade someone to do something they may not want to do, such as being sexual or performing certain sexual acts. Being coerced into having sex or performing sexual acts is not consenting sex and is considered sexual misconduct.