Policy Definitions

Sexual Violence and Relationship Violence is governed by Purdue University's Anti-Harassment Policy. While you may wish to review the Policy in its entirety for additional information and definitions, here are some important definitions:


Affirmative, clear communication given by words or actions that shows an active, knowing and voluntary agreement to engage in mutually agreed-upon sexual activity. Consent is given freely and voluntarily. Consent may not be inferred from silence, passivity or when an individual is Incapacitated or otherwise prevented from giving Consent as a result of impairment due to a mental or physical condition or age. No Consent exists when there is a threat of force or physical or psychological violence.

Although Consent may be given initially, it may be withdrawn at any point without regard to activity preceding the withdrawal of Consent.

The voluntary nature of Consent will be subject to heightened scrutiny in circumstances in which a person engages in a sexual relationship with a person over whom he or she has any power or authority within the University.


A mental state in which an individual cannot make rational decisions because they lack the capacity to give knowing Consent (e.g., to understand the who, what, where, why and how of their sexual interaction). Such Incapacitation may be caused by alcohol or other drug use, sleep or unconsciousness. Intoxication is not equivalent to Incapacitation.

Relationship Violence

Any physical, sexual and/or psychological harm against an individual by a current or former intimate or romantic partner. Intimate or romantic partners may be dating, cohabitating, married, separated or divorced, and may be of the same or opposite sex.

Sexual Exploitation

An act that exploits someone sexually. Examples of Sexual Exploitation include, but are not limited to:

  • Exposing one’s own or another person’s intimate parts without Consent.
  • Recording video or audio, photographing, or transmitting intimate or sexual utterances, sounds or images without Consent of all parties involved.
  • Allowing others to view sexual acts (whether in person or via a video camera or other recording device) without the Consent of all parties involved.
  • Engaging in any form of voyeurism.

Sexual Harassment

  1. Any act of Sexual Violence.
  2. Any act of Sexual Exploitation.
  3. Any unwelcome sexual advance, request for sexual favors or other written, verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when:
    1. Submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual's employment, education or participation in a University program or activity;
    2. Submission to, or rejection of, such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for, or a factor in, decisions affecting that individual's employment, education or participation in a University program or activity; or
    3. Such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's employment or academic performance or creating an intimidating, offensive or hostile environment for that individual's employment, education or participation in a University program or activity.

Sexual Violence

Any non-Consensual sexual act, including but not limited to rape, sexual assault, sexual battery and sexual coercion. Sexual Violence also includes Relationship Violence. Examples of Sexual Violence include, but are not limited to:

  • Non-Consensual sexual contact: touching, with any body part or object, another person’s intimate parts (e.g., genitalia, groin, breast, buttocks), whether clothed or unclothed.
  • Non-Consensual sexual intercourse: oral, anal and/or vaginal penetration, to any degree and with any body part or object.
  • Compelling a person to touch his or her own or another person’s intimate parts without Consent.


Any knowing or intentional course of conduct involving repeated or continued following, threatening or intimidating another by telephone, mail, electronic communication, social media, in person or any other action, device or method that 1) would cause a reasonable person to suffer substantial emotional distress or fear of bodily injury or death and 2) actually causes such person substantial emotional distress or fear of bodily injury or death.

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