Definitions of Sexual Misconduct
Definitions and Scope of Sexual Misconduct and Harassment
Wentworth strives to eliminate and prevent all types of sexual discrimination. Sexual discrimination includes sexual harassment and sexual violence/assault. Sex discrimination is illegal under both federal and Massachusetts law (Title VII and Title IX of the Civil Rights Act, as amended and M.G.L. Ch.151B & 18).
Wentworth uses the term sexual misconduct which encompasses sexual assault, sexual harassment and discrimination, intimate partner violence, and stalking.
Definitions Associated with Sexual Misconduct
Consent must be communicated, mutual, non-coercive and given free of force or the threat of force. A student who is physically or mentally incapacitated by drugs, alcohol, due to an intellectual or other disability or other circumstances may not be capable of giving consent.
Coercion is unreasonable pressure for sexual activity.
Force is the use of physical violence and/or imposing on someone physically to gain sexual access.
Incapacitation due to alcohol results from a level of alcohol ingestion that is more severe than impairment, being under the influence, drunkenness, or intoxication. Incapacitation could also result from the use of illegal, controlled substances, and/or prescription medication.
Evidence of incapacity may be detected by physical cues, such as slurred speech, bloodshot eyes, the odor of alcohol on a person’s breath or clothing, inability to maintain balance, vomiting, unusual or irrational behavior and unconsciousness. Context is important in helping to determine incapacitation.
Non-consensual sexual contact includes, but is not limited to the unwelcome, deliberate touching of a person’s intimate parts (including genitalia, groin, breast or buttock, or clothing covering those areas), or using force to cause a person to touch his or her own or another person’s intimate parts.
Non-consensual sexual intercourse includes penetration (anal, oral, or vaginal) by a penis, tongue, finger, or an inanimate object.
Sexual assault includes any type of sexual conduct that occurs without the consent of each person involved. This includes, but is not limited to the following non-consensual acts:
- the deliberate touching of a person's intimate parts (including genitalia, groin, breast or buttocks, or clothing covering any of those areas), or using force to cause a person to touch his or her own or another person's intimate parts
- penetration (anal, oral, or vaginal) by a penis, tongue, finger, or an inanimate object.
Sexual harassment involves the unwelcome introduction of sexual activities or comments into an employment, learning, residential, social, and athletic environment.
- Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other physical or verbal conduct of a sexual nature when submission to or rejection of such advances, requests or conduct becomes an explicit or implicit criterion for granting privileges or favorable treatment.
- Repeated and unwelcome behavior, advances, sexual comments, or inappropriate conduct so severe and pervasive that it creates a hostile or stressful living, learning, or working environment and/or unreasonably interferes with a person's academic performance, or equal opportunity to participate in or benefit from Institute programs or activities. This can include but is not limited to the following repeated and/or unwelcome behavior:
- offensive sexual flirtations, advances, or propositions.
- verbal abuse or innuendo of a sexual nature.
- physical contact such as touching, hugging, patting, or pinching
- verbal comments of a sexual nature about an individual’s body or sexual terms used to describe an individual.
- open, offensive display of sexually suggestive objects or pictures.
- jokes or remarks of a sexual nature.
- obscene gestures or suggestive or insulting sounds.
- demands for sexual favors accompanied by an implied or overt threat.
- indecent exposure.
- sexual exhibitionism.
- non-consensual video or audio taping of sexual activity and/or distribution.
- cyber harassment.
Intimate Partner Violence
Intimate Partner Violence also referred to as dating violence or domestic violence, includes any act of violence or threatened act of violence against a person who is, or has been involved in, a sexual, dating, domestic, or other intimate relationship with that person. It may involve one act or an ongoing pattern of behavior. Intimate-partner violence can encompass a broad range of behavior, including, but not limited to, physical violence or sexual violence. Intimate-partner violence may take the form of threats, assault, property damage, or violence or threat of violence to one’s self, one’s sexual or romantic partner, or to the family members or friends of the sexual or romantic partner. Intimate-partner violence affects individuals of all genders, gender identities, gender expressions, and sexual orientations and does not discriminate by racial, social, or economic background.
Stalking includes the "willfully and maliciously engaging in a knowing pattern of conduct or series of acts over a period of time directed at a specific person which seriously alarms of annoys that person and would cause a reasonable person to suffer substantial emotional distress. Stalking can include a threat with the intent to place the person in imminent fear of death or bodily injury." (MGL c. 265, s.43)