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FAQ: Understanding sexual violence and sexual assault

What is the difference between sexual violence, sexual assault and sexual harassment?

Sexual Violence means physical sexual acts without the consent of the other person or when the other person is unable to give consent. Sexual violence includes sexual assault, rape, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking.

Sexual Assault occurs when physical, sexual activity is engaged in without the consent of the other person, or when the other person is unable to consent to the activity. The activity or conduct may include physical force, violence, threat, intimidation, ignoring the objections of the other person, causing the other person’s intoxication or incapacitation (through the use of drugs or alcohol) or taking advantage of the other person’s intoxication (including voluntary intoxication).

Sexual Harassment includes behavior such as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and other conduct of a sexual nature. It is conduct that affects a person’s employment or education or interferes with a person’s work or educational performance or creates an environment that a reasonable person would find intimidating, hostile or offensive.

For more information about these and other frequently used terms, visit our Glossary page.

What constitutes consent?

Consent is an affirmative, unambiguous and conscious decision by each participant to mutually agreed-upon sexual activity. Consent is voluntary and must be given without coercion, force, threats or intimidation.

Consent is revocable. Consent to some form of sexual activity does not imply consent to other forms of sexual activity. Consent on one occasion is not consent to engage in sexual activity on another occasion. A current or previous dating or sexual relationship, by itself, is not sufficient to constitute consent. Even in the context of a relationship, there must be mutual consent to engage in sexual activity. Consent must be ongoing throughout a sexual encounter and can be revoked any time. Once consent is withdrawn, the sexual activity must stop immediately.

Consent cannot be given when someone is incapacitated, unconscious, coming in and out of consciousness, or if that person’s understanding of the act is affected by a physical or mental impairment.

What are my responsibilities as a member of the UC community?

UC expects every member of the university community to be respectful of others and to help foster a safe environment free of harassment, exploitation and intimidation. Everyone at UC — students, faculty, academic appointees and staff — has a responsibility to know and comply with UC’s Policy on Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment, codes of conduct and relevant state laws. UC also expects everyone to take the education and training courses offered by the university. Faculty, other academic appointees and staff are required to take sexual harassment prevention training as required. Managers, supervisors and certain employees such as athletic coaches, faculty advisors, teaching assistants and resident advisors, are required to promptly forward reports of sexual violence and sexual harassment to the Title IX officer.

Does UC offer education and training for students, faculty, academic appointees and staff on sexual violence issues?

Yes. Every UC location provides education and training to help all members of the campus community better understand sexual violence and how to prevent it. Starting in fall 2014, UC campuses offered systemwide sexual violence training to all incoming students. To find out how to access the education and training at your campus, visit our education and training webpage.

Starting July 2015, UC will begin implementing a comprehensive systemwide sexual violence prevention and intervention training and education plan for all members of the UC community — students, staff, faculty and other academic appointees. This plan will augment existing training.

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