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. 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 expects all individuals to treat violations in the same responsible manner.
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agreement given by individuals before and during sexual activity that must be informed, voluntary, mutual, and can be withdrawn at any time.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.
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.
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.
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 sex, including conduct based on gender identity, gender expression, and nonconformity with gender stereotypes.
Mandatory reporter is any Goshen College employee who has the authority to take action to redress sexual violence, who has been given the duty to report to appropriate school officials about incidents of sexual violence or any other misconduct by students, or who a student could reasonably believe has this authority or responsibility. At Goshen College, all employees are considered mandatory reporters unless they are a licensed counselor, pastor, or faculty advocate. Mandatory reporters must report incidents of sexual misconduct to the Title IX coordinator, who will contact the student to assist with any needed resources and/or accommodations. These reports must include documentation of the facts of an incident (time, date, location, and name of student reporting). See also Responsible Employee.
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.”
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. See also Mandatory Reporter.
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.