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What is sexual violence?

Sexual violence is any kind of sexual contact against a person’s will and without consent. Consent, as defined by Missouri state law, may be expressed or implied, but is not given if the person is legally incompetent to authorize the conduct, and this incompetence is known to the perpetrator; if the perpetrator gets the victim to agree by using fear, force or deception; if the person is unable to make a decision to agree to sexual contact because of youth, intoxication, or mental illness. Sexual violence can happen to anyone, regardless of their sex, gender, race, class, age, size, appearance, sexual orientation or what they look like. They are violent crimes used to exert power, humiliate and control. Some common terms that fall under the umbrella of sexual violence include:


Sexual Violence
​Sexual violence is a prohibited form of sexual harassment and includes physical sexual acts perpetrated against a person's will or where it would be apparent to a reasonable observer that a person is incapable of giving consent due to the victim's use of drugs and/or alcohol or due to an intellectual or other disability.
​Sexual Misconduct

Washington University defines sexual misconduct as "Sexual contact with any member of the University community or visitor to the University without that person’s consent, including, but not limited to, rape and other forms of sexual assault.

Conduct will be considered 'without consent' if:

  • ​No clear consent, verbal or non-verbal is given
  • The sexual contact is inflicted through force, threat of force, or coercion, or
  • ​The sexual contact is inflicted upon a person who is unconscious or who otherwise would appear to a reasonable observer to be without the mental or physical capacity to consent. For example, sexual contact with a person who would appear to a reasonable observer to be impaired in the exercise of his or her judgment by alcohol or other drugs may be considered 'without consent.'"​