Sexual Violence Prevention & Education

Sexual violence prevention requires a community. Find out more below about how you can help prevention sexual violence, learn about consent and other key terms, and how you can support and help victims and survivors of sexual assault. 

Key Definitions

Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment is characterized by severe or pervasive unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature. Sexual harassment may be occurring when:

  • The conduct is made as a term or condition of an individual's employment, education, living environment or participation in the campus community.
  • The acceptance or refusal of such conduct is used as the basis or a factor in decisions affecting an individual's employment, education, living environment, or participation in the campus community.
  • The conduct unreasonably impacts an individual's employment or academic performance or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive environment for that individual's employment, education, living environment, or participation in the campus community.

Examples of unwanted behavior that may constitute sexual harassment  include, but are not limited to:

  • Massaging a person’s neck or shoulders
  • Touching a person’s clothing, hair, or body
  • Hugging, kissing, patting, or stroking a person’s body
  • Making sexual gestures with hands or body movements, touching or rubbing oneself in a sexual manner around, or in the view of another person
  • Brushing up against another person
  • Tearing, pulling, or yanking a person’s clothing
  • Sexual flirtation, advances or propositions for sexual activity, or repeatedly asking for a date from a person who has indicated he or she is not interested
  • Discussing or about sexual fantasies, preferences, or history
  • Verbal abuse of a sexual nature
  • Suggestive comments and sexually explicit jokes, or turning discussions at work or in academic or living settings to sexual topics when not legitimately related to an academic matter
  • Stating, indicating, or implying in any manner that benefits will be gained or lost based on response to sexual advances
  • Staring repeatedly at someone; repeatedly watching someone from afar
  • Blocking another person’s path or otherwise restricting their movements, particularly when in conjunction with other acts or comments
  • Invading a person’s personal body space, such as standing closer than appropriate
  • Looking a person up and down in a suggestive or intimidating manner
  • Making sounds such as smacking or licking lips, making kissing sounds, or whistling
  • Letters, gifts, or materials of a sexual nature, including but not limited to typed or handwritten notes, email, instant messages, text messages, online postings, etc.
  • Request for a sexual favor in exchange for a better grade or promotion

A victim does not have to tell the perpetrator to stop the behavior or conduct for it to be considered harassment.

Intent vs. Impact

Sexual harassment is assessed based on the impact it has, not the intention. An individual may not intend to harass the victim, but if the victim feels uncomfortable then the behavior can be seen as sexual harassment.

Intimate Partner Violence

Intimate partner violence consists of any physical, sexual, or psychological harm by a current or former partner or spouse. Although we categorize it under sexual violence, intimate partner violence does not assume that partners have engaged in sexual activity.

Intimate partner violence is often characterized by:

Physical abuse is the intentional use of physical force with the potential for causing death, disability, injury, or harm. Physical violence includes, but is not limited to:
     • Pushing, hitting, choking, kicking, biting, cutting, burning, spitting
     • Holding you down or preventing you from leaving the room
     • Throwing objects at you
     • Threatening you with a weapon
     • Locking you in or out of the house
     • Abandoning you in dangerous places
     • Preventing you from getting sleep or waking you up out of sleep
     • Endangering you by driving wildly or recklessly

Sexual abuse is divided into three categories: 1) use of physical force to compel a person to engage in a sexual act against his or her will, whether or not the act is completed; 2) attempted or completed sex act involving a person who is unable to understand the nature or condition of the act, to decline participation, or to communicate unwillingness to engage in the sexual act, e.g., because of illness, disability, or the influence of alcohol or other drugs, or because of intimidation or pressure; and 3) abusive sexual contact. Sexual abuse includes, but is not limited to:
     • Treating you as a sex object
     • Criticizing the way you act during sex
     • Withholding sex and affection
     • Forcing you to have sex when you do not want to
     • Forcing you to have sex with other people
     • Forcing you to have sex after an argument or attack
     • Calling you a "whore" after sex
     • Insisting on unwanted or uncomfortable touching
     • Forcing you to have sex then telling you that you "wanted it"
     • Telling and bragging about sex with other women
     • Threats of physical or sexual abuse: use words, gestures, or weapons to communicate the intent to cause death, disability, injury, or physical harm.

Psychological/emotional abuse involves trauma to the victim caused by acts, threats of acts, or coercive tactics. Psychological/emotional abuse can include, but is not limited to, humiliating the victim, controlling what the victim can and cannot do, withholding information from the victim, deliberately doing something to make the victim feel diminished or embarrassed, isolating the victim from friends and family, and denying the victim access to money or other basic resources. It is considered psychological/emotional violence when there has been prior physical or sexual violence or prior threat of physical or sexual violence. Psychological/emotional abuse includes, but is not limited to:
     • Ignoring your feelings
     • Making fun of your beliefs
     • Manipulating you with lies
     • Degrading women as a group
     • Calling you derogatory names
     • Telling you that you're stupid, dumb, fat, or ugly
     • Refusing to take you places
     • Isolating you from your friends and family
     • Constantly criticizing you and the way you do things
     • Making fun of your friends and family
     • Threatening to leave you or making you leave
     • Threatening to hurt your family
     • Threatening to harm or harming your pets
     • Threatening to take your children

Consent

It is a violation of the Georgia Tech Policy on Student Sexual Misconduct, Sexual Harassment, Stalking, and Intimate Partner Violence to engage in any form of sexual activity or conduct involving another person without the consent of the other person.

Three Components for Consent:

Consent has three important components:

  1. Context: Each person gives consent freely, without the presence of coercion or intimidation.
  2. Actual consent: Verbally saying yes, or other affirmative statement that indicates a willingness to engage in the mutually agreed upon sexual activity. Consent is the presence of YES, not the          absence of no.
  3. Responsibility: The responsibility for obtaining consent lies with the person initiating the particular sexual activity.

Consent must be given based on an informed decision, with language that both parties understand. Consent cannot be given when physical force or intimidation, whether physical or not, is used to obtain consent.

  • Intimidation: Occurs when someone uses their physical presence to instill fear in another, although no physical contact occurs; intimidation can also occur where one’s knowledge of prior violent behavior by an assailant (coupled with menacing behavior) places this person in fear as an implied threat.

  • Coercion: The use of force or intimidation (i.e. threats) to obtain consent for an otherwise unwanted act. Coercion can also include the repetition of the activity beyond what is reasonable, the degree of pressure applied, or environmental factors such as isolation or the initiator’s knowledge of impairment by alcohol and/or other drugs.

Clarifying the Rules for Consent:

Consent has three important components:

  • Consent to one form of sexuality does not imply consent to all sexual activities (i.e. consent to oral sex does not imply consent to intercourse)

  • The person responsible for obtaining consent can change throughout the course of the night. The person initiating kissing must get consent for kissing, but if the other person initiates oral sex, then they must obtain consent.

  • Consent cannot be given or received when impaired, which is defined as an individual’s inability to understand the situation or understand the consequences of their decision.

  • Impairment can include:

    • Being under the influence of alcohol or drugs    

    • Having a cognitive impairment    

    • Being under the age of consent, which is 16 in Georgia

  • Just because you are in a relationship with a person and have had sex with them previously does not guarantee consent for all sexual activities. Even if you have had sex with the person before, you must get consent each time with each sexual activity. Consent can be withdrawn at any point without explanation.

Stalking

Stalking is characterized by a person being afraid or concerned for their safety because of being repeatedly spied on, watched, or contacted (in person or via mail, email, phone, etc.)

Stalking is a serious crime that causes a person to be afraid or concerned for their safety because of being repeatedly being spied on, watched, or contacted (in person or via mail, email, phone, etc.).

Examples of stalking include:

  • Follow you and show up wherever you are.
  • Send unwanted gifts, letters, cards, or e-mails.
  • Damage your residence hall room, apartment, home, car, or other property.
  • Monitor your phone calls, text messages, or computer use.
  • Use technology, like hidden cameras, tracking apps on your phone, or global positioning systems (GPS), to track where you go.
  • Drive by or hang out at your home, outside of classes, student organization meetings, or work.
  • Threaten to hurt you, your family, friends, or pets.
  • Posting information or spreading rumors about you on the Internet, in a public place, or by word of mouth.
  • Other actions that control, track, or frighten you.
List is adapted from the National Victim's of Crime Stalking Resource Center
Facts & Stats

In order to confront the issue of sexual violence, it is important to understand just how pervasive it is on college campuses, and in society.

We know that approximately 1 in 5 women and 6% of men experience attempted or completed sexual assault while in college.1 Of importance is that 80-90% of cases of sexual violence perpetrated against college women are committed by someone they know (partner, friend, classmate), and it usually happens in the privacy of a residence.2 While the majority of perpetrators of sexual violence are men, only a small percentage of men are responsible for the majority of cases of sexual violence on college campuses (about 6% of men, who are often repeat perpetrators).3

We know that sexual violence is a vastly underreported issue, for a number of reasons. Most survivors never formally report their experience, but they do often share it with someone they trust, such as a friend. As long as sexual violence impacts members of the Georgia Tech community, it impacts all of us.

Check out these CDC Fact Sheets to learn more: Understanding Sexual Violence & Understanding Intimate Partner Violence.

To learn more about the status of sexual violence at Georgia Tech, check out the 2014 Campus Safety Report, beginning on page 12.