Title IX and VAWA FAQ

 

Consent” is informed, freely, and actively given, mutually understandable words or actions that indicate a willingness and readiness to participate in mutually agreed-upon sexual activity. Consent is mutually understandable when a reasonable person would consider the words or actions of the parties to have manifested a clear and unambiguous agreement between them to engage in certain conduct with each other. Consent cannot be gained by ignoring or acting in spite of the objections of another.

Consent cannot be inferred from silence, passivity, or lack of resistance alone; a current or previous dating or sexual relationship alone (or the existence of such a relationship with anyone else); attire; the buying of dinner or the spending of money on a date; or Consent previously given (i.e., Consenting to one sexual act does not imply consent to another sexual act).

Consent is not effective if it is obtained through the use of physical force, violence, duress, deception, intimidation, coercion, or the threat, expressed or implied, of bodily injury. Whether a party used any of these means to obtain Consent will be determined by reference to the perception of a reasonable person found in the same or similar circumstances.

Consent may never be given by the following individuals: minors, even if the other participant did not know the minor’s age; mentally disabled persons if their disability was reasonably knowable to a person who is not mentally disabled; or persons who are incapacitated. The use of alcohol or drugs does not diminish one’s responsibility to obtain consent and does not excuse conduct that constitutes Sexual Harassment.

If at any time during a sexual act any confusion or ambiguity is or should reasonably be apparent on the issue of Consent, it is incumbent upon each individual involved in the activity to stop and clarify the other’s willingness and readiness to continue and Capacity to Consent. Neither party should make assumptions about the other’s willingness and readiness to continue.

Please be aware that MCC has students who cannot give consent attending on all campuses, such as minors and persons with disabilities.

Remember: “No” means “No” and “Yes” may not always mean “Yes.”  Anything but a clear, knowing, and voluntary consent to any sexual activity is equivalent to a “No.”

Sexual Harassment” means conduct on the basis of sex that satisfies one or more of the following:

(1) an employee of the MCC conditioning the provision of an aid, benefit, or service on an individual’s participation in unwelcome sexual conduct. (commonly referred to quid pro quo harassment);

(2) unwelcome conduct determined by a reasonable person to be so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that it effectively denies a person equal access to MCC’s Education Program or Activity; or

(3) “Sexual Assault,” as defined in 20 U.S.C. § 1092(f)(6)(A)(v): an offense classified as a forcible or nonforcible sex offense under the uniform crime reporting system of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

 

Sexual Assault is any sexual act directed against another person, without the consent of the person, including instances where the person is incapable of giving consent. Sexual Assault can occur between individuals of the same or different sexes and/or genders. Sexual Assault includes the following:

  • Rape: The carnal knowledge of a person, without the consent of the person, including instances where the person is incapable of giving consent because of his/her age or because of his/her temporary or permanent mental or physical incapacity;
  • Sodomy: Oral or anal sexual intercourse with another person, without the consent of the person, including instances where the person is incapable of giving consent because of his/her age or because of his/her temporary or permanent mental or physical incapacity;
  • Sexual Assault with an Object: To use an object or instrument to unlawfully penetrate, however slightly, the genital or anal opening of the body of a person, without the consent of the person, including instances where the person is incapable of giving consent because of his/her age or because of his/her temporary or permanent mental or physical incapacity;
  • Fondling: The touching of the private body parts of a person for the purpose of sexual gratification, without the consent of the person, including instances where the person is incapable of giving consent because of his/her age or because of his/her temporary or permanent mental or physical incapacity;
  • Incest: Sexual intercourse between persons who are related to each other within the degrees wherein marriage is prohibited by law; and
  • Statutory Rape: Sexual intercourse with a person who is under the statutory age of consent.

Domestic Violence,” as defined in 34 U.S.C. § 12291(a)(8): felony or misdemeanor crimes of violence committed by a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the victim, by a person with whom the victim shares a child in common, by a person who is cohabitating with or has cohabitated with the victim as a spouse or intimate partner, by a person similarly situated to a spouse of the victim under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction receiving grant monies, or by any other person against an adult or youth victim who is protected from that person’s acts under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction.

Dating Violence,” as defined in 34 U.S.C. § 12291(a)(10): violence committed by a person—(A) who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim; and (B) where the existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on a consideration of the following factors: (i) the length of the relationship; (ii) the type of relationship; and (iii) the frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship.

Stalking,” as defined in 34 U.S.C. § 12291(a) (30): engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to (A) fear for their safety or the safety of others; or (B) suffer substantial emotional distress.

While victim-blaming is never appropriate and MCC fully recognizes that only those who commit sexual misconduct are responsible for their actions, MCC provides the suggestions that follow to help individuals reduce their risk of being victimized and their risk of committing acts of sexual misconduct.

Reducing the Risk of Victimization

  • Make any limits/boundaries you may have known as early as possible.
  • Clearly and firmly articulate consent or lack of consent.
  • Remove yourself, if possible, from an aggressor’s physical presence.
  • Reach out for help, either from someone who is physically nearby or by calling someone. People around you may be waiting for a signal that you need help.
  • Take affirmative responsibility for your alcohol and/or drug consumption. Alcohol and drugs can increase your vulnerability to sexual victimization.
  • Look out for your friends, and ask them to look out for you. Respect them, and ask them to respect you, but be willing to challenge each other about high-risk choices.

 

Reducing the Risk of Being Accused of Sexual Misconduct

  • Show your potential partner respect if you are in a position of initiating sexual behavior.
  • If a potential partner says “no,” accept it and don’t push. If you want a “yes,” ask for it, and don’t proceed without clear permission.
  • Clearly communicate your intentions to your potential sexual partners, and give them a chance to share their intentions and/or boundaries with you.
  • Respect personal boundaries. If you are unsure what’s OK in any interaction, ask.
  • Avoid ambiguity. Don’t make assumptions about consent, about whether someone is attracted to you, how far you can go with that person, or if the individual is physically and mentally able to consent. If you have questions or are unclear, you don’t have consent.
  • Don’t take advantage of the fact that someone may be under the influence of drugs or alcohol, even if that person chose to become that way. Others’ loss of control does not put you in control.
  • Be on the lookout for mixed messages. That should be a clear indication to stop and talk about what your potential partner wants or doesn’t want to happen. That person may be undecided about how far to go with you, or you may have misread a previous signal.
  • Respect the timeline for sexual behaviors with which others are comfortable, and understand that they are entitled to change their minds.
  • Recognize that even if you don’t think you are intimidating in any way, your potential partner may be intimidated by or fearful of you, perhaps because of your sex, physical size, or a position of power or authority you may hold.
  • Do not assume that someone’s silence or passivity is an indication of consent. Pay attention to verbal and non-verbal signals to avoid misreading intentions.
  • Understand that consent to one type of sexual behavior does not automatically grant consent to other types of sexual behaviors. If you are unsure, stop and ask.
  • Understand that exerting power and control over another through sex is unacceptable conduct.

Intimate partner sexual violence often starts with controlling behavior that can escalate to further emotional, physical, and sexual abuse.

Warning Signs of abuse include a partner who:

  • Attempts to cut you off from friends and family
  • Is extremely jealous or upset if you spend time away from them
  • Insults you, puts you down, says that you can never do anything right
  • Tries to prevent you from attending work or school
  • Tries to prevent you from making decisions for yourself
  • Destroys your property, attempts to harm your pets
  • Threatens to harm your children or take them away from you
  • Tells you that you are worthless and that no one else could ever love you
  • Controls your finances

In order to stand up against sexual harassment/sexual violence, one can:

  • Believe violence is unacceptable and say so
  • Treat all people with respect
  • Say something when someone blames the victim
  • Talk with friends about confronting violence
  • Encourage friends to trust their instincts
  • Be aware of campus and community resources
  • Don’t laugh at sexist or racist jokes
  • Look out for friends at parties and bars
  • Educate yourself and friends
  • Use campus resources
  • Attend awareness events
  • Empower victims to tell their stories

 

In addition, one can:

  • Report the incident to a school official immediately
  • Ask a friend in a potentially dangerous situation if he/she wants to leave
  • Make sure the friend gets home safely
  • Ask the victim what he/she needs
  • Provide the victim with options
  • Call the campus counselor, community counseling agency, or community crisis center for support

There are numerous resources both on-campus and off-campus to anyone that has experienced sexual or relationship violence. A list of the resources can be found under the resources link on our Title IX and VAWA website. The following steps will provide you with a guide if you find yourself involved in sexual or relationship violence.

  • Call 911 immediately.
    If the sexual assault happens on-campus or off-campus, the 911 operator will contact the SCC Police Department or the local law enforcement agency.
  • Get to a safe place and try to all preserve evidence.
    After an assault, you may be in a state of shock. Wrap yourself in something warm, and try to preserve all evidence.
    Do Not: Bathe/shower/douche, eat/ drink, smoke, brush your teeth or hair, urinate or wash your clothing.
    Put the clothes you were wearing into a paper (not plastic) bag. Plastic bags draws moisture and the moisture could contaminate the evidence.
  • Call a trusted friend or family member.
    Receiving comfort and support from a friend or family member helps restore a sense of safety and contributes to better decision-making.
  • Seek medical attention.
    You may have injuries of which you’re unaware; you also should be tested for sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy (if applicable). A medical exam for evidence collection (by a qualified forensic nurse examiner) is strongly recommended and should be done as soon as possible, or at least within 72 hours of the assault.
  • Report the assault promptly.
    Reporting an assault does not commit you to filing charges and you can decide at any time not to pursue the case. While it is important that perpetrators be held accountable and prevented from doing this to others, you should never let anyone pressure you if you know you do not want to report.
  • Talk with a counselor.
    Working with a counselor can accelerate recovery and help you manage post-traumatic symptoms. At SCC, the Office of Health, Wellness, and Development offers free counseling for students, and can work with you to find community resources that can help you during your time of recovery. The SCC counselor can also speak with you in confidence about the assault.
  • Take care of yourself.
    Rest, eat well, seek social support, and engage in activities that are healing for you and your body.

You are encouraged to report incidents of sex discrimination or harassment to MCC’s Title IX Coordinator (even if you have filed a report directly with law enforcement). The Title IX Coordinator can help you access resources and can provide you with support and information, including information on MCC’s procedures for investigating and addressing instances of sex discrimination or harassment.

Any person (whether or not alleged to be the victim) may report sex discrimination or harassment, including Sexual Harassment, in person, by mail, by telephone, electronic mail, or by using  the online Incident Report Form to the Title IX Coordinator (or, by any other means that results in the Title IX Coordinator receiving the person’s verbal or written report). Such a report may be made at any time (including during non-business hours).

INCIDENT REPORT FORM, https://cm.maxient.com/reportingform.php?MaylandCC&layout_id=0

Michelle Musich

Dean of Students, Title IX Coordinator

828.766.1262

Gwaltney Hall

mmusich@mayland.edu

 

To make a confidential report:

Doug Dewar

Director of Counseling and Disability Services

828.766.1256

Gwaltney Hall

ddewar@mayland.edu

 

Maria Braswell

SOAR Personal Counselor

828.766.1261

Gwaltney Hall

mbraswell@mayland.edu