1. What is the difference between sexual violence, sexual assault and sexual harassment?
  2. What is Sexual Misconduct?
  3. What is Consent?
  4. Can I be sexually assaulted by my boyfriend/girlfriend/partner/spouse?
  5. How do I know whether someone is incapacitated?
  6. What if both parties are equally intoxicated?
  7. Is it sexual assault if I said yes to one type of sexual activity but not another?
  8. I was sexually assaulted last month, can I still report?
  9. Who Do I Report To?
  10. Why would the college investigate an assault even if I don’t want them to?

1. What is the difference between sexual violence, sexual assault and sexual harassment?

Sexual Violence means physical sexual acts without the consent of the other person or when the other person is unable to give consent. Sexual violence includes sexual assault, rape, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking.

Sexual Assault occurs when physical, sexual activity is engaged in without the consent of the other person, or when the other person is unable to consent to the activity. The activity or conduct may include physical force, violence, threat, intimidation, ignoring the objections of the other person, causing the other person’s intoxication or incapacitation (through the use of drugs or alcohol) or taking advantage of the other person’s intoxication (including voluntary intoxication).

Sexual Harassment includes behavior such as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and other conduct of a sexual nature. It is conduct that affects a person’s employment or education or interferes with a person’s work or educational performance or creates an environment that a reasonable person would find intimidating, hostile or offensive.

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2. What is Sexual Misconduct?

Sexual misconduct is defined as engaging in any sexual activity without first obtaining affirmative consent. Some examples of sexual misconduct include:

Kissing, touching intimate body parts, fondling, intercourse, penetration of the mouth, vagina, penis, anus by finger, tongue, mouth, penis or any object, and oral sex without affirmative consent. Sexual misconduct may also include physical force, violence, threat, or intimidation, ignoring the objections of the other person, causing the person’s intoxication or incapacitation through the use of drugs or alcohol, or taking advantage of the other person’s incapacitation (including voluntary intoxication) to engage in sexual activity

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3. What is Consent?

Consent is an informed, affirmative, conscious decision by each participant to engage in mutually agreed-upon sexual activity.

  • Consent must be voluntary, and given without coercion, force, threats, or intimidation. Consent requires positive cooperation in a particular sexual act, or expression of intent to engage in that sexual act through the exercise of free will.
  • Consent can be withdrawn or revoked. Consent to one form of sexual activity (or one sexual act) does not constitute consent to other forms of sexual activity (or other sexual acts). Consent to sexual activity given on one occasion does not constitute consent to sexual activity on another occasion. The fact that two people are or were in a dating or sexual relationship does not constitute consent to engage in sexual activity. There must always be mutual and affirmative consent to engage in sexual activity. Consent to a sexual act may be withdrawn or revoked at any time, including after penetration. The victim’s request for the perpetrator to use a condom or birth control does not, in and of itself, constitute consent. Once consent is withdrawn or revoked, the sexual activity must stop immediately.
  • Consent cannot be given by a person who is incapacitated. For example, a person cannot give consent if s/he is unconscious or coming in and out of consciousness. A person is incapacitated if s/he lacks the physical and/or mental ability to make informed, rational judgments. Examples of incapacitation include unconsciousness, sleep, and blackouts. Whether an intoxicated person (as a result of using alcohol or other drugs) is incapacitated depends on the extent to which the alcohol or other drugs impact the person’s decision-making capacity, awareness of consequences, and ability to make fully informed judgments. A person with a medical or mental disability may also lack the capacity to give consent. Being intoxicated by drugs or alcohol does not diminish a person’s responsibility to obtain consent from the other party before engaging in sexual activity. Factors to be considered include whether the person knew, or whether a reasonable person in the accused’s position should have known, that the victim did not give, or revoked consent; was incapacitated; or was otherwise incapable of giving consent.

Sexual intercourse with a minor is never consensual when the victim is under 18 years old since the victim is considered incapable of giving legal consent due to age.

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4. Can I be sexually assaulted by my boyfriend/girlfriend/partner/spouse?

Yes. Regardless of the nature or longevity of the relationship, you still need to obtain consent before engaging in any future sexual activity. Sexual activity without consent is considered sexual assault.

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5. How do I know whether someone is incapacitated?

 Some signs of incapacitation include vomiting, inability to communicate, inability to understand situations, asleep, unconscious, difficulty maintaining balance.

If there is any question/concern as to whether or not someone is incapacitated…Do Not engage in any type of sexual activity. Be safe. Wait until the following day when each person is able to legally give consent.

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6. What if both parties are equally intoxicated?

Sexual activity requires initiation from at least one party. The responsibility to obtain affirmative consent is belongs to the person initiating the sexual activity. Sex doesn’t just happen…it requires one party to initiate the sexual activity.

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7. Is it sexual assault if I said yes to one type of sexual activity but not another?

Yes. The person initiating the sexual activity must obtain affirmative consent for any type of sexual activity. Consent to one form of sexual activity (e.g. fondling) does not constitute consent to other forms of sexual activity (e.g. intercourse)

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8. I was sexually assaulted last month, can I still report?

Yes. There are no time limits on reporting a sexual assault/rape to the college or to law enforcement. Although obtaining evidence used to support a criminal case may be more difficult to collect as time passes, please know that there is help and assistance available regardless of when the assault occurred. 

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9. Who Do I Report To?

See our Reporting Options page.

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10. Why would the college investigate an assault even if I don’t want them to?

Merced Community College District is committed to creating and sustaining an education and working environment free of Sex Discrimination, Sexual Harassment, Sexual Misconduct, Dating/Domestic Violence, and Stalking. The safety and well-being of the campus is a priority for the District. As sexual assault is a violation of our policies, Merced College has an obligation to investigate the complaint.

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