What is Sexual Assault or Misconduct?

Sexual Assault

Sexual assault is defined by Notre Dame as any sexual intercourse by any person upon another without consent. It includes oral, anal and vaginal penetration, to any degree, with any part of the body or other object. It is also referred to as “non-consensual sexual intercourse.”  (full policy available in du Lac: A Guide to Student Life)

Sexual Misconduct

Sexual misconduct includes, but is not limited to, behaviors such as: non-consensual sexual contact (touching), sexual exhibitionism, and going beyond the boundaries of consent (e.g. recording, sharing or disseminating recordings, or threatening to share or disseminate recordings, of sexual activity or nudity without the consent of all parties involved). 

Non-consensual sexual contact is any sexual touching with any part of the body or other object, by any person upon another, without consent. Sexual touching is contact of a sexual nature, however slight. (full policy available in du Lac: A Guide to Student Life)

Consent

Notre Dame's full consent policy (as it relates to sexual assault and sexual misconduct) can be found in du Lac: A Guide to Student Life. Here is a brief summary of some of the key points: 

  • Consent means informed, freely given agreement, communicated by clearly understandable words or actions, to participate in each form of sexual activity. 
  • Consent cannot be inferred from silence, passivity, or lack of active resistance.  
  • A current or previous dating or sexual relationship is not sufficient to constitute consent, and consent to one form of sexual activity does not imply consent to other forms of sexual activity.
  • By definition, there is no consent when there is a threat of force or violence or any other form of coercion or intimidation, physical or psychological.  
  • A person who is the object of sexual aggression is not required to physically or otherwise resist the aggressor; the lack of informed, freely given consent to sexual contact constitutes sexual misconduct. 
  • There is no consent when the individual in question is under the legal age of consent. The legal age of consent in Indiana is 16. 

For the Notre Dame's full definition of consent, please refer to du Lac: A Guide to Student Life.

Incapacitation

Key points related to Notre Dame's definition of incapacitation (as it relates to consent) can be found in du Lac: A Guide to Student Life. Here is a brief summary of some of the key points: 

  • An incapacitated person is incapable of giving consent.  
  • A person is incapacitated if that person is in a physical or mental state such that he or she lacks the ability to make a knowing and deliberate choice to engage in the sexual interaction.  
  • A person who is asleep or unconscious is incapacitated, without exception.  
  • A person may also become incapacitated due to other factors, which may include the use of alcohol and/or drugs to such a degree that the person no longer has the ability to make a knowing or deliberate choice to engage in the sexual interaction.  
  • Engaging in sexual activity with a person whom you know, or should reasonably know, to be incapacitated constitutes a violation.  
  • If there is a question about whether the complainant was incapacitated, the relevant standard is whether the respondent knew, or a sober, reasonable person in the respondent’s position should have known, that the complainant was incapacitated and therefore could not consent to the sexual activity.

For more information about incapacitation, please refer to du Lac: A Guide to Student Life.

Seeking Help

A number of confidential and other support resources are provided to students who have been sexually assaulted. If you have been assaulted, consider the following medical information:

Reporting Options

You have options to report if you or a friend has been sexually assaulted.  In case of emergency, call 911.  See the Reporting Options page to learn more about options available to you. To submit a report to the University administration, please use the online Speak Up report form.