What is dating violence?

Dating violence is controlling, abusive, and aggressive behavior in a romantic relationship. It occurs in both heterosexual and homosexual relationships and can include verbal, emotional, physical, or sexual abuse, or a combination of these.

What is Sexual Assault?

  • A broad term that encompasses any forcible sexual activity that occurs without the victim's consent.
  • A range of behaviors that include, but are not limited to, unwanted kissing and fondling, forcible vaginal, oral, or anal intercourse, forcible vaginal, oral or anal penetration with an object or a finger.
  • A way for the perpetrator to exert power and control, not about "out of control" sexual desire.
  • Not gender specific. Sexual assaults can occur between a male and female, male and male, or female and female.
  • Everyone's problem!
  • Against the law.
  • A violation of an individual's body. It affects everyone including the victim, their family and friends.

What is Consent?

Consent means having permission. To get that permission, the following must be true:

  • Both parties are fully conscious.
  • Both parties have equal ability to act.
  • Both parties are positive and sincere in their desires.
  • Both parties have clearly communicated their intent.

It is the responsibility of the initiator in the situation to get the permission of the other person.

If one person uses force, threat, intimidation, or takes advantage of the other person's mental incapacities or physical helplessness (including incapacitation or helplessness due to alcohol), then there is no consent.

Each person also has the right to change her or his mind at any point--consenting to some sexual activity is not a blanket agreement to all sexual activity. Every person has control over her or his body.

Remember, in order to get consent you have to ask. Do not assume the other person is consenting by their actions or body language alone. Do not assume that if the person consented before, they will consent in the future--you have to ask each time.

What is Stalking?

Stalking is a pattern of threats or harassment that is directed repeatedly toward a specific individual and is experienced as unwelcome, intrusive, or fear inducing. It can include physical appearances of the stalker and harassing behaviors such as sending unwanted letters, phone calls, messages, gifts, and unwanted instant messages/email correspondence. Technology (such as email, IM, GPS, etc.) is often by stalkers as well.

*Material adapted from Virginia Tech.