Title IX and VAWA FAQ’s
- What is Consent?
In order for individuals to engage in sexual activity of any type with each other, there must be clear, knowing, and voluntary consent prior to and during sexual activity. In order to give effective consent, one must be of legal age. In North Carolina, the legal age of consent is 16 years of age.
- Informed, clear, knowing and voluntary approval given by word or actions to engage in sexual activity;
- Active, not passive;
- An affirmative action or decision by all participants to engage in mutually acceptable sexual activity;
- Effectively communicating before and during any sexual activity about the limits of your sexual encounter.
Consent is not:
- Obtained by force, threats, or coercion;
- Automatic – even if there is prior relationship;
- Silent – lack of resistance does not imply consent;
- If consent was once obtained, it does not imply consent to future sexual acts or to any other forms of sexual activity;
- Obtained when the person is incapacitated due to a mental condition, drug or alcohol use, or is asleep or unconscious.
Alcohol and/or other drugs can place the capacity to consent in question. When alcohol and/or other drugs are being used, a person will be considered unable to give valid consent if they cannot fully understand the details of a sexual interaction (who, what, when, where, why, or how) because they lack the capacity to reasonably understand the situation. Individuals who consent to sex must be able to understand what they are doing. This also covers a person of whose capacity to consent is altered due to mental disability, sleep, involuntary physical restraint, or from taking date rape drugs (Rohypnol, GHB, Ketamine, Burundanga, etc.).
Consent: It’s Simple as Tea Video
Remember: “No” means “No” and “Yes” may not always mean “Yes.” Anything but a clear, knowing, and voluntary consent to any sexual activity is equivalent to a “No.”
- What is Sexual Harassment?
Sexual harassment is unwelcome, gender-based verbal or physical conduct that is sufficiently severe, persistent, or pervasive that it unreasonably interferes with, denies or limits someone’s ability to participate or benefit from the College’s educational programs and/or activities. Sexual harassment is based on power differentials (quid pro quo), which can create a hostile environment, and/or be retaliatory in nature.
- Attempting to coerce an unwilling person into a sexual relationship;
- Repeatedly subjecting a person to egregious, unwelcome sexual attention;
- Punishment for refusal to comply with a sexually based request;
- Conditioning a benefit on complying with sexual advances.
- Hostile Environment includes any situation in which there is harassing conduct that is sufficiently severe, persistent, or pervasive that it alters the conditions of employment, or limits, interferes with or denies educational benefits or opportunities, from both a subjective (the alleged victim’s viewpoint) and objective (reasonable person’s) viewpoint.
The determination of whether an environment is “hostile” must be based on all of the circumstances. These circumstances could include, but not limited to:
- The frequency of the conduct;
- The nature and severity of the conduct;
- Whether the conduct was physically threatening;
- Whether the conduct was humiliating or perceived as humiliating;
- The effect of the conduct on the alleged victim’s mental or emotional state;
- Whether the conduct was directed at more than one person;
- Whether the conduct arose in the context of other discriminatory conduct;
- Whether the conduct unreasonably interfered with the alleged victim’s educational or work performance;
- Whether the statement is a mere utterance of an epithet which engenders offense in an employee or student, or offends by mere discourtesy or rudeness;
- Whether the speech or conduct deserves the protection of academic freedom or the 1st Amendment.
- Quid pro quo sexual harassment exists when there are unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature; and submission to or rejection of such conduct results in adverse educational or employment actions.
- Retaliatory harassment is an adverse employment or educational action taken against a person because of the person’s participation in a complaint or investigation of discrimination or sexual misconduct.
- What is Force?
Force is the use of physical violence and/or imposing on someone physically to gain sexual access. Force also includes threats, intimidation (implied threats) and coercion that overcome resistance or produce consent.
There is no requirement that a party resists the sexual advance or request, but resistance is a clear demonstration of non-consent. The presence of force is not demonstrated by the absence of resistance. Sexual activity that is forced is by definition non-consensual, but non-consensual sexual activity is not defined by force.
- What is Non-Consensual Sexual Contact?
Non-consensual sexual conduct is any intentional sexual touching, however slight, with any object, by a man or woman upon a man or woman that is without consent and/or by force.
- Intentional contact with the breast, buttocks, groin, or genitals, or touching another with any of these body parts, or making another touch you or themselves with or on any of these body parts.
- Intentional bodily contact in a sexual manner, though not involving contact with/of/by breast, buttocks, groin, genitals, mouth or other orifice.
For more information on North Carolina’s General Statutes related to Non-Consensual Sexual Contact, please refer to statutes §14-27.4, §14-27.4A, §14-27.5, and §14-27.5A at the North Carolina General Assembly.
- What is Non-Consensual Sexual Intercourse?
Non-consensual intercourse is any sexual intercourse, however slight, with any object, by a man or woman upon a man or woman that is without consent and/or by force.
- Vaginal penetration by a penis, object, tongue or finger;
- Anal penetration by a penis, object, tongue or finger;
- Oral copulation (mouth to genital contact or genital to mouth contact).
For more information on North Carolina’s General Statutes related to Non-Consensual Sexual Intercourse, please refer to statutes §14-27.2, §14-27.2A, §14-27.3, §14-27.7, §14-27.7A, and §14-27.8 at the North Carolina General Assembly.
- What is Sexual Exploitation?
Sexual exploitation occurs when a person takes a non-consensual or abusive sexual advantage of another for his/her own advantage or benefit, or to benefit or advantage anyone other than the one being exploited, and that behavior does not otherwise constitute one of other sexual misconduct offenses.
Examples include, but are not limited to:
- Invasion of sexual privacy;
- Prostituting another person;
- Non-consensual video or audio-taping of sexual activity;
- Going beyond the boundaries of consent (such as letting your friends hide in the closet to watch you having consensual sex);
- Engaging in voyeurism (practice of obtaining sexual gratification by looking at sexual objects or acts, especially secretively);
- Knowingly transmitting an STD/STI or HIV to another person;
- Exposing one’s genitals in non-consensual circumstances; inducing another to expose their genitals;
- Sexually-based stalking and/or bullying may also be form of sexual exploitation.
- What is Domestic Violence?
As defined by the Office on Violence Against Women, US Department of Justice, domestic violence is a pattern of abusive behavior in any relationship that is used by one partner to gain or maintain power and control over another intimate partner. Domestic violence can be physical, sexual, emotional, economic, or psychological actions or threats of actions that influence another person. This includes any behaviors that intimidate, manipulate, humiliate, isolate, frighten, terrorize, coerce, threaten, blame, hurt, injure, or wound someone.
- Physical Abuse: Hitting, slapping, shoving, grabbing, pinching, biting, hair pulling, etc. are types of physical abuse. This type of abuse also includes denying a partner medical care or forcing alcohol and/or drug use upon him or her.
- Sexual Abuse: Coercing or attempting to coerce any sexual contact or behavior without consent. Sexual abuse includes, but is certainly not limited to: marital rape, attacks on sexual parts of the body, forcing sex after physical violence has occurred, or treating one in a sexually demeaning manner.
- Emotional Abuse: Undermining an individual's sense of self-worth and/or self-esteem is abusive. This may include, but is not limited to constant criticism, diminishing one's abilities, name-calling, or damaging one's relationship with his or her children.
- Economic Abuse: Is defined as making or attempting to make an individual financially dependent by maintaining total control over financial resources, withholding one's access to money, or forbidding one's attendance at school or employment.
- Psychological Abuse: Elements of psychological abuse include - but are not limited to - causing fear by intimidation; threatening physical harm to self, partner, children, or partner's family or friends; destruction of pets and property; and forcing isolation from family, friends, or school and/or work.
Domestic violence can happen to anyone regardless of race, age, sexual orientation, religion, or gender. Domestic violence affects people of all socioeconomic backgrounds and education levels. Domestic violence occurs in both opposite-sex and same-sex relationships and can happen to intimate partners who are married, living together, or dating.
Domestic violence not only affects those who are abused, but also has a substantial effect on family members, friends, co-workers, other witnesses, and the community at large. Children who grow up witnessing domestic violence are among those seriously affected by this crime. Frequent exposure to violence in the home not only predisposes children to numerous social and physical problems, but also teaches them that violence is a normal way of life, thereby increasing their risk of becoming society's next generation of victims and abusers.
For more information on North Carolina’s General Statute related to domestic violence, please refer to statute §50B-1 at the North Carolina General Assembly.
- What is Dating Violence?
As defined by the Office on Violence Against Women, US Department of Justice, violence committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim is dating violence. The existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on a consideration of the following factors:
- The length of the relationship
- The type of relationship
- The frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship
The North Carolina General Statute §50B-1 for domestic violence also includes dating violence within the statute.
- What is Stalking?
As defined by the Office on Violence Against Women, US Department of Justice, stalking is a pattern of repeated and unwanted attention, harassment, contact, or any other course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to feel fear.
Stalking can include:
- Repeated, unwanted, intrusive, and frightening communications from the perpetrator by phone, mail, and/or email.
- Repeatedly leaving or sending victim unwanted items, presents, or flowers.
- Following or laying in wait for the victim at places such as home, school, work, or recreation place.
- Making direct or indirect threats to harm the victim, the victim's children, relatives, friends, or pets.
- Damaging or threatening to damage the victim's property.
- Harassing the victim through the Internet.
- Posting information or spreading rumors about the victim on the Internet, in a public place, or by word of mouth.
- Obtaining personal information about the victim by accessing public records, using internet search services, hiring private investigators, going through the victim's garbage, following the victim, contacting victim's friends, family work, or neighbors, etc.
For more information on North Carolina’s General Statute related to stalking, please refer to statute §14-277.3A at the North Carolina General Assembly.
- How can I reduce my risk of being involved in sexual assault?
Gender-based and/or sexual misconduct is not the fault of the victim. It can happen to anyone, and it typically happens from people, in which the victim is acquainted. It is estimated that about 80% of all sexual assaults are committed by an acquaintance and the majority of the assaults occur on a date.
The following is a list of things you can do to reduce the risk of being involved in sexual or relationship abuse.
- Do not put personal information on social media websites.
- Always be aware of your surroundings.
- If you are going out, tell your friends where you are going and who will be with you.
- Stay with a group of friends at the club or the party. Do not get isolated from group, or walk alone.
- Be clear about your emotional and physical boundaries with people and communicate when those boundaries are not being respected.
- Do not accept drinks from strangers and protect the drinks you bought.
- Do not use drugs and carefully monitor your alcohol intake. Both substances can have a negative impact on your judgment.
- Park in areas that have good lighting, and keep your keys in hand.
- Keep your car, room, and/or house locked.
- Limit the amount of items you carry – this is will limit your ability to run or fight.
- Trust your “gut.” If it feels wrong, then it probably is wrong.
- Watch out for your friends and ask them to watch out for you.
- What are the warning signs of abusive behavior?
The following list of behaviors are common in people who abuse their partner. If you notice any of these warning signs, please seek help from the SCC Campus Police or the Office of Health, Wellness, and Development as soon as possible.
Common warning signs:
- Abuse in previous relationships
- Use of force, threats, or violence in an argument
- Destructive behavior, such as throwing or breaking objects
- Jealousy and controlling behavior
- Cruelty to animals and children
- Isolation of family and friends
- Lack of accountability for their problems
- Unpredictable personality
For more information about healthy and abusive relationships, please visit The Red Flag Campaign.
- How can I be an active bystander to prevent sexual or relationship misconduct?
Bystander intervention can prevent sexual or relationship misconduct from happening to someone. It is important to know what actions and interventions you can take when and if you find yourself in this position. Below are common interventions that you may find helpful.
Common bystander interventions:
- Notice that the offense is occurring by naming or identifying the inappropriate behavior.
- Take action by getting help or by providing a distraction to stop the offense.
- Support the victim by listening, offering reassurance, and encouragement.
- Report the offenses to the proper authorities.
- Speak out and be an advocate for preventing sexual or relationship misconduct.
For more information about bystander intervention please visit the National Sexual Violence Resource Center.
- What do I need to do if I am a victim of sexual or relationship misconduct?
There are numerous resources both on-campus and off-campus to anyone that has experienced sexual or relationship violence. A list of the resources can be found under the resources link on our Title IX and VAWA website. The following steps will provide you with a guide if you find yourself involved in sexual or relationship violence.
- Call 911 immediately.
If the sexual assault happens on-campus or off-campus, the 911 operator will contact the SCC Police Department or the local law enforcement agency.
- Get to a safe place and try to all preserve evidence.
After an assault, you may be in a state of shock. Wrap yourself in something warm, and try to preserve all evidence.
Do Not: Bathe/shower/douche, eat/ drink, smoke, brush your teeth or hair, urinate or wash your clothing.
Put the clothes you were wearing into a paper (not plastic) bag. Plastic bags draws moisture and the moisture could contaminate the evidence.
- Call a trusted friend or family member.
Receiving comfort and support from a friend or family member helps restore a sense of safety and contributes to better decision-making.
- Seek medical attention.
You may have injuries of which you’re unaware; you also should be tested for sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy (if applicable). A medical exam for evidence collection (by a qualified forensic nurse examiner) is strongly recommended and should be done as soon as possible, or at least within 72 hours of the assault.
- Report the assault promptly.
Reporting an assault does not commit you to filing charges and you can decide at any time not to pursue the case. While it is important that perpetrators be held accountable and prevented from doing this to others, you should never let anyone pressure you if you know you do not want to report.
- Talk with a counselor.
Working with a counselor can accelerate recovery and help you manage post-traumatic symptoms. At SCC, the Office of Health, Wellness, and Development offers free counseling for students, and can work with you to find community resources that can help you during your time of recovery. The SCC counselor can also speak with you in confidence about the assault.
- Take care of yourself.
Rest, eat well, seek social support, and engage in activities that are healing for you and your body.
- Call 911 immediately.
- How do I file a complaint?
If you are victim of gender-based and/or sexual misconduct, please report the incident as soon as possible. Students and employees can report the incident on-campus to our Title IX Coordinator, Deputy Title IX Coordinators, or Campus Police.
Surry Community College – Campus Police Department
A Building, First Floor
Phone: (336) 386-8121
All SCC employees are considered to be mandatory reporters for gender-based and sexual misconduct. This means that if you disclose a gender-based or sexual misconduct incident to an SCC employee, they have a duty to report the complaint to a Title IX coordinator or the SCC Campus Police Department. Only certain individuals (counselors, clergy, or health care workers) are classified as voluntary reporters. This type of reporter does not have to disclose the incident unless they think you or the campus community may be in immediate danger.
If you would like to file a confidential report, you may contact:
Anne Marie Woodruff
A Building, First Floor
Phone: (336) 386-3247