Counseling Services

What is Sexual Assault?

Sexual Misconduct

State law defines various violent and/or non-consensual sexual acts as crimes. Additionally, the University has defined categories of sexual misconduct, as stated below, for which action under this policy may be imposed. Generally speaking, the University considers Non-Consensual Sexual Intercourse violations to be the most serious, and therefore typically imposes the most severe sanctions, including suspension or expulsion for students. However, Butler University reserves the right to impose any level of sanction, up to and including suspension or expulsion/termination, for any act of sexual misconduct or other gender-based offenses based on the facts and circumstances of the particular complaint. Acts of sexual misconduct may be committed by any person upon any other person, regardless of the sex, gender, sexual orientation and/or gender identity of those involved. Violations include:

Sexual Harassment

Defined as:

  • Unwelcome, sexual or gender-based verbal, written or physical conduct that is,
  • Sufficiently severe, persistent or pervasive that it,
  • Has the effect of unreasonably interfering with, denying or limiting employment opportunities or the ability to participate in or benefit from the University's educational, social and/or residential program, and is
  • Based on power differentials (quid pro quo), the creation of a hostile environment or retaliation.

Non-consensual Sexual Intercourse:

Defined as:

  • Any intentional sexual penetration or intercourse (anal, oral, or vaginal),
  • However slight,
  • With any object,
  • By a person upon a person,
  • That is without consent and/or by force.
  • Note: Sexual penetration includes vaginal or anal penetration by a penis, tongue, finger or object, or oral copulation by mouth to genital contact or genital to mouth contact.

Non-consensual Sexual Contact

Defined as:

  • Any intentional sexual touching,
  • However slight,
  • With any object,
  • By a person upon a person,
  • That is without consent and/or by force.
  • Note: Sexual touching includes any bodily contact with the breasts, groin, genitals, mouth, or other bodily orifice of another individual, or any other bodily contact in a sexual manner.

Sexual Exploitation

Sexual Exploitation refers to a situation in which a person takes non-consensual or abusive sexual advantage of another, and situations in which the conduct does not fall within the definitions of sexual harassment, non-consensual sexual intercourse or non-consensual sexual contact. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • Sexual voyeurism (such as watching a person undressing, using the bathroom or  engaged in sexual acts without the consent of the person observed)
  • Taking pictures or video or audio recording another in a sexual act, or in any other private activity without the consent of all involved in the activity, or exceeding the boundaries of consent (such as allowing another person to hide in a closet and     observe sexual activity, or disseminating sexual pictures without the photographed person's consent)
  • Prostitution
  • Sexual exploitation also includes engaging in sexual activity with another person while knowingly infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) or other sexually transmitted disease (STD) and without informing the other person of the infection, and further includes administering alcohol or drugs (such as "date rape" drugs) to another person without his or her knowledge or consent

Consent Defined:

Consent is knowing, voluntary, and clear permission by word or action, to engage in mutually agreed upon sexual activity. Since individuals may experience the same interaction in different ways, it is the responsibility of each party to make certain that the other has consented before engaging in the activity. For consent to be valid, there must be a clear expression of words or actions that the other individual consented to that specific sexual conduct.

  • A person cannot consent if he or she is unable to understand what is happening or is disoriented, helpless, asleep, or unconscious for any reason, including due to alcohol or other drugs. An individual who engages in sexual activity when the individual knows, or should know, that the other person is physically or mentally incapacitated has violated this policy.
  • It is not an excuse that the individual accused of sexual misconduct was intoxicated and, therefore, did not realize the incapacity of the other. Incapacitation is defined as a state where someone cannot make rational, reasonable decisions because they lack the capacity to give knowing consent (e.g., to understand the "who, what, when, where, why or how" of their sexual interaction). This policy also covers a person whose incapacity results from mental disability, involuntary physical restraint and/or from the taking of incapacitating drugs
  • Consent to some sexual contact (such as kissing or fondling) cannot be presumed to be consent for other sexual activity (such as intercourse). A current or previous dating relationship or prior consensual sexual interaction is not sufficient to constitute consent. Silence or the absence of resistance alone is not consent. A person can withdraw consent at any time during sexual activity by expressing in words or actions that he or she no longer wants the act to continue, and, if that happens, the other person must stop immediately.
  • In the State of Indiana, a minor (meaning a person under the age of 16 years) cannot consent to sexual activity. The means that sexual contact by an adult with a person younger than 16 years old is a crime, as well as violation of this policy, even if the minor wanted to engage int he act.

Detailed information on the University's policies and grievance process as it relates to sexual misconduct can be found in the Student Handbook under the heading "Harassment and Nondiscrimination."

(Update: Effective January 1, 2014, the University adopted a Civil Rights Equity Grievance Process for Faculty, Students, and Staff.  The PDF linked HERE replaces heading XIV - Harassment and Nondiscrimination, found on pages 94-110.)