Creating the Extraordinary Student Experience

Sexual Violence : Definitions

Sexual Assault: A sexual assault is any form of non-consensual sexual activity. Sexual assault includes all unwanted sexual acts from intimidation to touching to various forms of penetration and rape.

Sexual Violence: Sexual violence is a broader term than sexual assault. The term encompasses sexual homicide, rape, incest, molestation, fondling, stalking, intimate partner violence, and verbal harassment of a sexual nature. Sexual violence includes creating an environment that feels unsafe based on sexual messages or images. Sexual violence is a sexual act that is completed or attempted against a victim's will or when a victim is unable to consent due to age, illness, disability, or the influence of alcohol or other drugs. The act may involve actual or threatened physical force, use of weapons, coercion, intimidation or pressure.

Sexual Harassment: Sexual harassment includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other physical or verbal conduct of a sexual nature when it meets any of the following:

a. Submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s employment or academic status.

b. Submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment or academic decisions affecting such individual.

c. Such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work or academic performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment for working, learning, or living on campus.

See the University Sexual Harassment Policy for more detailed information.


In Ohio, stalking is defined as a pattern of conduct (two or more incidents in a short period of time), that is unwanted and causes mental distress.

A broader definition of stalking: stalking is willful, malicious and repeated harassing or threatening of another person through activities such as following the individual, showing up at her/his home or workplace, sending unwanted messages (including e-mail or text messages) or objects, vandalizing property or making harassing phone calls.

Telecommunications harassment (sometimes called "cyber stalking") is a crime under Ohio law. It is the use of e-mail, internet, instant messaging, social media, or other electronic devices to harass or abuse another person.

Intimate Partner Abuse: Intimate Partner Abuse is a pattern of controlling behavior with a current or former dating partner or spouse. Abuse knows no boundaries and occurs regardless of age, income, culture, religion, education and race. It often begins with isolation, jealousy, threats or name-calling and may include emotional, sexual or verbal abuse. Physical violence may or may not be part of this pattern.

Domestic Violence: Domestic violence is a broader term which acknowledges that abuse and control can happen within a family structure or between members of the same household. A domestic violence survivor can be someone who grew up in a family or household where this occurred or someone who is currently in this situation.

Advocate: An advocate is a person who has been trained on issues related to sexual violence situations and who provides support services through their work with a community organization (e.g. the local rape crisis center) or at the university (e.g. the Student Wellness Center). It is the role of the advocate to provide information, discuss options with a survivor and offer support with any needed step. The help provided by an advocate can be a one-time occurrence (e.g. during the evidence collection exam) or on an ongoing, longer-term basis (e.g. reporting to police and going through the criminal justice and/ or student conduct processes).