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What is Sexual Misconduct?
Sexual misconduct is any unwelcome and unreasonable behavior of a sexual nature that is committed without consent or by force, intimidation, coercion, or manipulation. Iowa State has a policy prohibiting sexual misconduct, as well as other gender-based violence. Information on the policy and forms of sexual misconduct are below:
Sexual Misconduct Policy
Iowa State University does not tolerate sexual misconduct, sexual assault, sexual exploitation, sexual and/or gender-based harassment, sexual intimidation, intimate partner violence, stalking, retaliation, or complicity in any of these acts. Every participant involved in sexual activity must obtain and give consent in each instance and before each specific sexual act.
Sexual Misconduct, Sexual Assault, Sexual Harassment, Stalking, and Intimate Partner Violence Involving Students Policy
Sexual assault is any intentional sexual contact without consent. Sexual assault may include:
- Anal, oral or vaginal sexual penetration, however slight, without consent
- Attempted sexual intercourse without consent
- Intentional touching of another person’s intimate body part without consent
- Engaging in sexual activity with a person who is unable to provide consent because of incapacitation
- Inducing consent to sexual activity through alcohol, drugs, coercion, manipulation, threats, or force
Sexual exploitation is any act where one person violates the sexual privacy of, or takes sexual advantage of, another person without consent. Sexual exploitation may include:
- Electronically recording, photographing, or distributing intimate information about another person without consent.
- Voyeurism, including secretively observing another’s nudity or sexual activity without consent.
- Exposing one’s genitals or inducing another to expose their genitals in nonconsensual circumstances.
- Intentionally exposing another person to a sexually transmitted infection without that person’s knowledge.
- Intentionally removing a prophylactic during sexual contact without a partner’s consent.
Sexual and/or Gender-Based Harassment
Sexual and/or gender-based harassment can include unwelcome behavior directed at someone because of that person's sex, gender, sexual orientation or gender identity, that meets any of the following criteria:
- The submission to, or rejection of, the unwelcome conduct is made an implicit or explict term or condition of participation or of a benefit; is used as a basis for academic, employment, and/or program decisions; or the unwelcome conduct creates a hostile, intimidating, or offensive environment.
Sexual and/or gender-based harassment may include physical or verbal conduct (examples can be found here - PDF).Sexual and/or gender-based harassment is a form of discrimination, as defined in the university’s Discrimination and Harassment policy.
Sexual intimidation involves threatening to commit a nonconsensual sexual act or physical violence upon another person because of that person’s sex, sexual orientation, gender, or gender identity. Sexual intimidation may include:
- Threatening to commit a sexual act upon another person without that person’s consent.
- Threatening to physically assault another person because of that person’s sex, sexual orientation, gender, or gender identity.
Intimate Partner Violence
Intimate partner violence is any act or threat of violence that occurs between persons who are or have been involved in a sexual, dating, spousal, domestic, or other intimate relationship. Intimate partner violence may include:
- Intimate partner violence includes “dating violence” and “domestic violence.”
- “Domestic violence” includes:
- assault between family or household members who resided together at the time of the assault;
- assault between family or household members who resided together within the past year but were not residing together at the time of the assault.
- assault between separated spouses or persons divorced from each other and not residing together at the time of the assault;
- assault between persons who are parents of the same minor child
Stalking is a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to fear for their safety or the safety of others or to suffer substantial emotional distress. Stalking may include:
- Pursuing, waiting, or showing up uninvited at a workplace, place of residence, classroom, or other location
- Following, monitoring, observing, monitoring
- “Cyber stalking,” in which a person uses electronic media to engage in the stalking behavior
- Gathering information from family, friends, coworkers, and/or classmates.
- Manipulative and controlling behaviors such as threats to harm oneself or physical and/or verbal threats against a person or their loved ones, including animal abuse.
If you or a friend may have experienced any of the above, click here for information on how to get help.
For these definitions and additional information and examples of prohibited conduct, please review the Procedures, Applications, and Guidance available here.
What is Consent?
Every participant involved in sexual activity must obtain and give consent before every sexual act. Consent is an informed, voluntary, and active agreement to engage in sexual activity. Consent must be:
- Informed: the individuals understand the sexual activity they are agreeing to;
- Voluntary: the individuals agree to the activity freely and without coercion, intimidation, or force; and
- Active: the individuals communicate their agreement to engage in the activity through affirmative words and/or actions. Consent cannot be assumed.
The following do not constitute consent:
- Lack of protest or resistance
- The absence of “No”
Under Iowa law the following people are unable to give consent:
- Persons who are asleep or unconscious
- Persons who are incapacitated due to the influence of drugs, alcohol, or medication
- Persons who are unable to communicate consent due to a mental or physical condition