Policies and Procedures Concerning Sexual Assault
Sexual Assault: How Does it Affect Me?
Sexual assault touches everyone’s life in many different ways. It affects us all, regardless, gender, sexual of age, race orientation, religion, ethnicity, class, or national origin. Sexual assault can encompass a variety of experiences a person may have, including unwanted sexual touching, non-consensual oral or anal sex, or rape, and can happen with someone you have just met, with an intimate partner, or with a stranger.
National statistics indicate that one out of five college women are raped during their college years and 10% of adult rape victims are male. In a survey at 171 institutions of higher education, alcohol was involved in 74% of all sexual assaults. Despite the prevalence of sexual assault on college campuses throughout the United States, less than 5% of completed or attempted rapes experienced by college students were reported to law enforcement officials. In many cases, individuals who have experienced interpersonal events that meet the legal definitions of rape do not define their experience in these legal terms. Factors that affect the likelihood of a survivor viewing their assault as rape may stem from self-blame, their relationship to the assailant, engagement in drinking before the assault occurred, or the degree of physical force used.
Talking about these issues can be very challenging. You are not alone, there are people who are here to help. This publication is intended to help you recognize misconduct of a sexual nature, to provide information about options and resources available as it relates to medical, legal, and counseling or support services, and to identify some tips to help reduce the risk of sexual assault. We encourage you to read this information, review it periodically so you will remember it, and keep this document for future reference.
New York University is committed to maintaining a learning and working environment that is free of acts of bias, prejudice, and harassment, which undermine the character and purpose of the University, and to creating a campus climate that supports, nurtures, and rewards educational and career advancement on the basis of ability and performance. The University Anti-Harassment policy (see Appendix A) is based upon federal, New York State, and New York City laws and expressly prohibits acts of harassment, assault, bias, or discrimination that are based upon one’s actual or perceived race, sex, gender identity, color, religion, age, national origin, ethnicity, disability, veteran or military status, sexual orientation, marital status, citizenship status, or other such legally protected basis. The Anti-Harassment Policy is applicable to all of the University’s Campus sites and to all University sponsored programs and activities whether those take place on a University campus or at another location.
Sexual assault is a term that can have a variety of meanings. Within the New York University Anti-Harassment Policy, the term sexual assault is defined as a sexual act against the will and without the consent of the victim or where the victim is incapable of giving consent. Defining consent in sexually intimate relationships can be difficult, however keeping the following guidelines in mind may be helpful:
• the more impaired your partner is from alcohol or other drugs, the more difficult it can be to clearly establish his/her consent to a particular action ,
• having sex with someone who is “passed out” or sleeping is non-consensual sex
• both people must be free to say no and/or change their mind, and
• both people must clearly and honestly communicate their desires and intentions.
While legal definitions of unlawful sexual conduct differ from state to state and from country to country in the case of the University’s Study Abroad sites, it is important to recognize that behavior which violates the University Anti-Harassment policy may also be in violation of the laws of the locality in which the incident occurred and may subject the perpetrator to criminal action by the presiding authority. Where criminal behavior is involved, the University will cooperate with victims and law enforcement authorities in prosecuting such violations.
A) New York State: the New York State Penal Code uses the term “sex offenses” to include conduct that would be considered sexual assault by the University. (For further information, including on what constitutes consent according to the New York State Penal Code, see Appendix B)
B) Study Abroad sites: students who are studying at one of the University’s Study Abroad sites should be aware that they are subject to the laws of that country in regard to what constitutes sexual assault or another sex-based offense. Thus, students are strongly advised to familiarize themselves with the laws of the country in which they will be living while studying abroad.