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How Can We Prevent Sexual Harassment and Violence from Happening?

What can you do?
  • Consent to engage in sexual activity must be knowing and voluntary; it must exist from the beginning to end of each instance of sexual activity and for each form of sexual contact. Consent is demonstrated through mutually understandable words and/or actions that clearly indicate a willingness to engage freely in sexual activity. Consent is active, not passive. In other words, if someone is drunk, they can NOT legally give consent.

    • Each participant in a sexual encounter is expected to obtain and give consent to each act of sexual activity. Consent to one form of sexual activity does not constitute consent to engage in all forms of sexual activity.
    • Consent consists of an outward demonstration indicating that an individual has freely chosen to engage in sexual activity. Relying on non-verbal communication can lead to misunderstandings. Consent may not be inferred from silence, passivity, lack of resistance, or lack of an active response alone. A person who does not physically resist or verbally refuse sexual activity is not necessarily giving consent.
    • When consent is requested verbally, absence of any explicit verbal response constitutes lack of consent. A verbal “no” constitutes lack of consent, even if it sounds insincere or incisive.
    • If at any time during the sexual activity, any confusion or ambiguity arises as to the willingness of the other individual to proceed; both parties should stop and clarify verbally the other’s willingness to continue before continuing such activity.
    • Either party may withdraw consent at any time. Withdrawal of consent should be outwardly demonstrated by words or actions that clearly indicate a desire to end sexual activity. Once withdrawal of consent has been expressed, sexual activity must cease.
    • Individuals with a previous or current intimate relationship do not automatically give either initial or continued consent to sexual activity. Even in the context of a relationship, there must be mutually understandable communication that clearly indicates a willingness to engage in sexual activity.
    • Consent is not effective if it results from the use or threat of physical force, intimidation, or coercion, or any other factor that would eliminate an individual’s ability to exercise her/his own free will to choose whether or not to have sexual contact.

     

    Source: Title IX Resource Guide 

    In 1964, Kitty Genovese, was raped and murdered while 38 men and women stood by and did nothing to help. Often those that are bystanders, or witnesses, to sexual violence and harassment feel scared, alone and afraid to say or do anything. (Source:  http://www.nsvrc.org/sites/default/files/Publications_NSVRC_Booklets_Engaging-Bystanders-in-Sexual-Violence-Prevention.pdf).

    YOU have the ability to begin changing cultural norms and acceptance of sexual harassment and violence.

    YOU have the ability influence others around you to feel responsible and competent in intervening.

    YOU have the ability to be a role model for helping others.

    1. Notice the Event

    2. Interpret it as a Problem

    3. Take Responsibility for Acting

    4. Decide How to Act

    5. Choose to Act

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