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What is Sexual Violence?

Sexual violence is any non-consensual sexual act. This includes rape, sexual assault, relationship violence, stalking, child sexual abuse, sexual exploitation, sexual harassment, unwanted sexual touching, and attempts of any of these acts. This Web site will focus on Sexual Assault, Stalking, Relationship Violence, Sexual Harassment, and How to Help a Friend who has experienced an act of sexual violence.

Support services (SASS and CARDV) are available for anyone who would like to process an experience of unwanted sexual contact. This is true regardless of whether the experience fits with the legal and/or student conduct definitions.

What is Consent?

Consent is to willingly engage in a shared sexual act. 









Equal power




Freely choosing to participate


An assumption



Previous sexual acts

Being intoxicated

Physical force


Using power to get sex

How someone is dressed



Sexual violence is ALWAYS the fault of the perpetrator, and NEVER the fault of the survivor.

How to Help a Friend

How to Help a Friend

As a friend or family member of a survivor, you have been affected by the assault, also. It is important that you seek out support for yourself and address your own reactions to the violence, so that you are able to provide the best possible support to the survivor.

How can I help a friend? 

What are the possible impacts of these situations?

Every survivor responds to sexual and interpersonal violence in a unique manner. Some effects may occur immediately, while others may show up later.

Common reactions may include (but are not limited to):

Sexual Assault

Sexual Assault

Sexual assault is any sexual contact that is unwanted, and occurs without a person's consent. A sexual act is non-consensual if it is compelled through coercion, manipulation, force, threats, intimidation, or helplessness. Examples include (but are not limited to):

Alcohol and Other Drugs

According to Oregon State law an individual who is "mentally incapacitated," including under the influence of alcohol or drugs, cannot consent to sexual intercourse.

If a survivor engages in what some might define as “risky behavior” (e.g., getting drunk, wearing revealing clothes), a natural consequence might be getting a hangover, not sexual violence. The violence occurred because there was a perpetrator present who was willing to hurt someone else.

For more information please visit Student Health Services’ Health Promotion Alcohol and Other Drugs Web site.



Stalking is a pattern of repeated, unwanted behavior that would make someone afraid. Examples of stalking behaviors include:

Safety Planning

It's often difficult to predict when and how a stalker will act or whether the unwanted intrusions into the survivor’s life will escalate into physical or sexual assaults. Some stalkers never move beyond threats and intimidation, while others do so with little warning. A safety plan is an important step in staying as safe as possible.

Collecting Evidence

Keeping records of unwanted contacts can be helpful in reporting stalking. This can be done by preserving e-mails, voice mails, letters, Facebook messages, and other communications that are received. A log can also be helpful in which you document the date and time, location, type of contact, and names of other witnesses to the contact. This can provide a picture of the pattern of the stalking behavior.

Relationship Violence

Relationship Violence

Relationship violence, also referred to as Intimate Partner Violence (IPV), is a pattern of coercive behaviors used to control a partner through fear and intimidation. IPV can occur in many forms:

Sexual: Coercion, having sex with you while you are sleeping, humiliation during sex, forcing sex, refusal to accept “no,” threats of retaliation.

Verbal: Name calling, insults, threats.

Emotional: Controlling, blaming, criticizing, manipulation, intimidation, unfounded jealous accusations, not allowing privacy.

Economic: Preventing you from working, getting you fired from your job, withholding money.

Physical: Throwing objects, shoving, blocking escape, pulling hair, holding you down, hitting, cutting, burning.

How is Abuse Different from Healthy Relationships?


Power and Control Wheel (PDF)

Abuse is about power and control; one person trying to make another do what s/he wants them to do through manipulation, coercion, and even physical violence.

Graphic of Power and Control Wheel 

Equality Wheel (PDF)

Healthy relationships are based upon equality, choice, freedom, respect, cooperation, and compromise.

Graphic of Equality Wheel 

Sexual Harassment

Sexual Harassment

Oregon State University’s definition of sexual harassment is:

Unwelcome* sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when:

*Employee conduct directed towards a student - whether unwelcome or welcome - can constitute sexual harassment under OAR 580-015-0010(2).

Examples of Sexual Harassment

For more information about sexual harassment, visit OSU’s Affirmative Action Web site.



Facts about Sexual Violence