The following definitions provide explanation of key terms used in Goshen College’s policies and handling of incidents of sexual misconduct/assault. Sexual violence and gender-based violence occur in many different forms. Although everyone’s experience will be different, these are acts of violence that are a serious violation of person and community. Legally these are crimes.
The experiences of victims and survivors may not be limited to the following definitions. These definitions are given with the intent of providing a framework for experiences of sexual misconduct and an understanding of Goshen College policy. They do not intend to define a victim’s or survivor’s experience; that unique experience belongs to the unique victim or survivor.
Given the nature of this type of conduct and the serious effects such conduct can have, Goshen College treats violations of this policy seriously and will work to address and remedy situations involving gender and sexual harassment and work to prevent them from happening again.
Affirmative consent is verbal agreement given by individuals before and during sexual activity that must be informed, voluntary, mutual, and can be withdrawn at any time. In relationships of every level of intimacy, consent should be a process of communicating the desires and needs of each person.
Alleged Offender is the term used in reporting incidents of gender-based and sexual misconduct. This term is used until a report goes to formal investigation by the Sexual Misconduct Response Team, at which time the term respondent is used.
Anonymous reports provide information about location, time, and place of incidents of sexual misconduct but do not include identifying information. These reports can be submitted online and will be included in the aggregate data included in the annual Clery report statistics. Note that Goshen College is unable to provide accommodations or resources for anonymous reports and recommends reporting an incident. The Deputy Title IX Coordinator, the Faculty Advocate, Counselors or Campus pastors are available to help individuals consider the reporting options that best suit the situation. See Support and Resources for contact information.
Complainant is the technical term used during an investigation by the Sexual Misconduct Response Team (SMRT) to identify the person who reports experiencing sexual violence or misconduct.
Confidential means that the information shared with a certain college employee or outside professional cannot be disclosed to others without the express permission of the individual who shared the information. Goshen College employees (usually a licensed counselor or pastor or non-professional student advocate) who are not required to report any information regarding an incident of alleged sexual violence are the Faculty Advocate, Campus Counselors, and Campus Pastor. Reports to Title IX Deputy Coordinators or investigations undertaken by the Sexual Misconduct Response Team (SMRT) will be confidential, meaning that identifying information will be shared only with those who need to know in order to provide services or address the specific complaint. Many resources are available (related to academics, residence, and counseling) without sharing the specific nature of the report.
Consent is verbal agreement given by individuals before and during sexual activity that must be informed, voluntary, and mutual, and can be withdrawn at any time. Consent is only valid with “clear expression of words or actions that the other individual consented to that specific sexual conduct” (Butler.edu). Consent is never implied, assumed, coerced, or owed. Each individual is responsible to gain affirmative consent before engaging in the activity and to ensure ongoing consent. Someone who is incapacitated (defined below) for any reason cannot offer affirmative consent. Silence or an absence of resistance does not imply future consent. Coercion, force, or threat of either invalidates consent. Past consent does not imply future consent, and consent to engage in sexual activity with one person does not imply consent to engage in sexual activity with another.
Dating violence means violence by a person who has been in a romantic or intimate relationship with the survivor. Whether there was such a relationship is gauged by its length, type and frequency of interaction. It can include physical, emotional, verbal, sexual, and economic abuse and affects the victims’ independence, safety, security, and well-being.
Domestic violence includes violence committed by the survivor’s current or former spouse, or current or former cohabitant. Domestic violence is defined in Indiana Code as conduct that is an element of an offense under IC 35-42 (criminal offenses against the person) or a threat to commit an act described in IC 35-42 by a person against a person who: (1) is or was a spouse of; (2) is or was living as if a spouse of; (3) has a child in common with; (4) is a minor subject to the control of; the other person regardless of whether the act or threat has been reported to a law enforcement agency or results in a criminal prosecution.
Gender-based harassment is unwelcome conduct of a nonsexual nature based on a student’s actual or perceived gender or sex, including conduct based on gender identity, gender expression, and nonconformity with gender stereotypes. Harassment or violence on the basis of gender does not have to be sexual in nature and does not have to take place in a sexual context.
Harassment includes, but is not limited to discrimination, coercion, exploitation and abuse. These destructive behaviors are detrimental to both relationships and to individual self-esteem; these also violate the caring nature of our community. See Goshen College’s Anti-harassment/Anti-violence Statement for further discussion of different types of harassment.
Hostile environment may result when a situation of gender or sexual harassment or violence is sufficiently severe, persistent or pervasive and impacts tangible work or educational benefits, interferes unreasonably with an individual’s job performance or academic performance, or creates what a reasonable person would perceive is an intimidating, hostile or offensive work or learning environment.
Incapacitation is the physical or mental inability to make informed, rational judgments; to evaluate or control conduct; or communicate or grant consent. Incapacitation is created when the individual is unconscious, asleep, intoxicated, or under the influence of other drugs or is, for any other reason, physically, mentally or legally unable to communicate or grant consent.
Intimidation is defined as unlawfully placing another person in reasonable fear of bodily harm through the use of threatening words and/or other conduct, but without displaying a weapon or subjecting the victim to actual physical attack. Intimidation includes any communication of a threat to another person in order to force that person to engage in conduct against their will.
Private/Privacy means that information related to a report of sexual misconduct will only be shared with a limited circle of employees who “need to know” in order to assist in the active review, investigation, or resolution of a report.
Preponderance of evidence is a legal term for the standard of evidence for civil cases. Each incident of misconduct or violence is “more likely than not” to have occurred. The emphasis is different than in criminal cases where the standard is “beyond a reasonable doubt.”
Quid Pro Quo Harassment occurs when a person has power or authority over another makes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature and uses submission to such sexual conduct as either an explicit or implicit term or condition of rating or evaluating an individual’s educational and/or employment progress, development, or performance. This includes when submission to such conduct would be a condition for access to receiving the benefits of any educational program. Examples include:
- An attempt to coerce an unwilling person into a sexual relationship;
- To repeatedly subject a person to egregious, unwelcome sexual attention;
- To punish a refusal to comply with a sexual based request;
- To condition a benefit on submitting to sexual advances; sexual violence; intimate partner violence, stalking; gender-based bullying.
Rape is a specific form of sexual assault that includes an act of sexual intercourse accomplished against a person who does not consent to the sexual contact or is incapable of consenting.
Respondent is the technical term used during an investigation by the Sexual Misconduct Response Team (SMRT) to identity the person against whom a report of sexual misconduct/violence is made.
Responsible Employee includes any employee who has the authority to take action to redress the harassment or who has the duty to report to appropriate officials sexual harassment or any other misconduct by students or employees, or an individual who a student could reasonably believe has this authority or responsibilities. Responsible employees should connect students to the Title IX office or a Confidential employee for resources and reporting options.
Retaliation includes threats, other forms of intimidation, and retaliation against a person filing a report of sexual misconduct/violence or any other party involved in implementing the college sexual misconduct policy. Retaliation is a violation of Goshen College policy and may be grounds for disciplinary action. No officer, employee, agent of Goshen College, witness, third party, other students, or perpetrator may retaliate, threaten, coerce or otherwise discriminate against any individual for exercising their rights or responsibilities under this policy.
Sexual assault (or sexual battery) is actual or attempted sexual contact with another person without that person’s consent. Sexual assault includes, but is not limited to touching of another person with intent to arouse or satisfy the sexual desires of oneself or someone else, when the person being touched is: (1) compelled to submit to the touching by force or the imminent threat of force; or (2) So mentally disabled or deficient that consent to the touching cannot be given.
Sexual harassment is unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature, including but not limited to unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal or nonverbal conduct of a sexual nature, including rape, sexual assault and sexual exploitation. In addition, depending on the facts, dating violence, domestic violence and stalking may also be forms of sexual harassment.
Sexual misconduct is an umbrella term for a range of behavior, such as:
- Unwelcome comments and conduct of a sexual nature or that are demeaning to people (for example, offensive or vulgar jokes, name-calling, comments about one’s body or sex life, stereotyping based on a person’s sex, touching, leering, ogling, patting, pinching, indecent exposure, physical gestures or displaying sexually explicit photographs or objects);
- Unwelcome demands or requests for sexual favors or social or sexual encounters;
- Suggestions that submission to or rejection of sexual conduct will affect decisions regarding such matters as employment, work assignment or status, academic standing, grades, receipt of financial aid, letters of recommendation or receipt of a Goshen College benefit or service;
- The use of submission to or rejection of sexual conduct as the basis for making, influencing or affecting decisions that have an impact upon the terms and conditions of education, employment or receipt of any other Goshen College benefit or service; and
- Nonconsensual sexual contact.
Stalking means a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a person to feel terrorized, frightened, intimidated or threatened. See Indiana code 35-45-10-1 (1993).
Title IX is a legislative act dating from 1972 that prohibits gender-based discrimination. Title IX states that: “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.” With regard to sexual assault and harassment, Title IX requires that universities and colleges receiving federal funding uphold survivors’ rights and respond to their needs, so that students have equal access to education. Read more about Title IX at: knowyourix.org.