What is Sexual Assault?
The University defines sexual assault as any non-consensual sexual activity. Seton Hall University Community Standards prohibits all forms of sexual violence or harassment whether perpetrated by a stranger or an acquaintance, whether the incident occurred on-campus or off-campus or was directed at a member of the Seton Hall University community or someone outside of the University community.
What is Rape?
The penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim.
Prohibited conduct ranges from acts clearly defined as rape, attempted rape, and sexual assault, to sexual misconduct that may not be criminal in all instances, including the following:
- Fondling – The touching of the private body parts of another person for the purpose of sexual gratification, without the consent of the victim, including instances where the victim is incapable of giving consent because of his/her age or because of his/her temporary or permanent mental incapacity.
- Dating Violence – Dating violence is any act of violence committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim. The existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on the victim’s statement and with consideration of the type and length of the relationship and the frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship. Two people may be in a romantic or intimate relationship, regardless of whether the relationship is sexual in nature; however, neither a casual acquaintance nor ordinary fraternization between two individuals in a business or social context shall constitute a romantic or intimate relationship. This definition does not include acts covered under domestic violence.
- Domestic Violence – Domestic violence is any violent felony or misdemeanor crime committed by a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the victim, a person sharing a child with the victim, or a person cohabitating with the victim as a spouse or intimate partner.
- Stalking – The term stalking means intentionally engaging in a course of conduct, directed at a specific person, which is likely to causes a reasonable person to fear for his or her safety or the safety of others or cause that person to suffer substantial emotional damage. Examples include, but are not limited t, repeatedly following such person(s), repeatedly committing acts that alarm, cause fear, or seriously annoy such other person(s) and that serve no legitimate purpose, and repeatedly communicating by any means, including electronic means, with such person(s) in a manner likely to intimidate, annoy, or alarm him or her.
When there is reasonable cause to believe that a student member of the University has violated the Code of Student Conduct, the University will take action in accordance with the established policies and procedures outlined in the Seton Hall University Community Standards. University judicial action may be taken whether or not criminal charges are filed and without regard to whether the conduct occurred on or off the Seton Hall University campus.
What is Consent?
Consent is defined by Seton Hall University as clear, unambiguous and voluntary agreement between the participants to engage in specific sexual activity does not imply future consent. Silence or the absence of resistance does not imply consent. Consent to engage in sexual activity with one person does not imply consent to engage in sexual activity with another. Consent can be withdrawn at any time. Coercion, force, or threat of either invalidates consent. Someone who is incapacitated cannot give consent. Incapacitation may be due to the use of alcohol and/or other drugs, may be if a person is asleep or unconscious, or may be due to an intellectual or other disability that prevents the student from having the capacity to give consent.
Myths and Realities
Myth: It could never happen to me.
Reality: Any person of any age, gender, race, class, physical ability, occupation, sexual orientation, or physical appearance can be raped or sexually assaulted.
Myth: Sexual assault is committed in dark alleys by strangers.
Reality: 80-90 percent of sexual assaults are perpetrated by individuals known to the survivor. This can range from someone known to the survivor only by sight or someone very close to the survivor, such as a friend, boyfriend, girlfriend or spouse. Even male survivors are primarily assaulted by acquaintances.
Myth: Women give mixed messages because they do not want to admit that they do not want to have sex.
Reality: Rape is a crime for which the perpetrator has responsibility. Rape is rape regardless of the relationship between two people, and regardless of the behavior of the survivor.
Myth: Only women are sexually assaulted or raped, and only by men.
Reality: Both men and women can be sexually assaulted or raped, and assailants can be male or female with any sexual orientation.
Myth: Someone who was drinking or drunk when sexually assaulted is at least partially to blame.
Reality: Sexual assault survivors are never responsible for the attack, no matter what, no matter how much alcohol was consumed. The law is clear. Responsibility lies with the perpetrator; the survivor is never responsible for the assailant's behavior. Alcohol may increase the risk of sexual assault, and may make someone incapable of giving consent or protecting themselves, but it is not the cause of the assault.
Myth: It's not rape if the couple is dating or is married.
Reality: Unwanted sexual activity in any relationship qualifies as sexual assault.
Myth: If the victim didn't fight or try to run away, or there was no weapon or injuries sustained, rape did not occur.
Reality: Threats of violence are a weapon, and an individual may not resist vigorously for fear of injury or death.