"Consent is like a cup of tea..."
Script by Rockstar Dinosaur Pirate Princess | Animation by Rachel Brian | VO by Graham Wheeler
What is consent?
- Words or actions showing a clear, knowing and voluntary agreement to engage in a specific sexual activity during a sexual encounter.
- An affirmative, unambiguous and voluntary decision given by clear actions or words.
- Consent may not be inferred from: silence, passivity or lack of active resistance alone, a current or previous dating or sexual relationship, consent to one form of sexual contact does not imply consent to other forms of sexual contact.
Consent is also:
- Saying “Yes” with both your body and your words
- Given while sober
- Clearly communicated
- A sign you truly respect and care for your partner
- A two-way street
- Given continuously and at intervals (it is a process!)
Consent is NOT:
- Having had sex together before
- Being drunk
- Having kissed or done any other sexual act
- Being in love (if he/she says they love me, this must be okay)
Consent is an affirmative decision given by clear actions or words. It is important not to make assumptions. If confusion or ambiguity on the issue of consent arises anytime during the sexual interaction, it is essential that each participant stops and clarifies, verbally, willingness to continue. Consent may not be inferred from silence, passivity or lack of active resistance alone. Furthermore, 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.
It is important to note that a person who is intoxicated is not legally able to give consent to sexual contact or sexual acts. Additionally, a person 17 years old or younger is not legally able to give consent to a sexual act or contact with a person 18 or older.
Below are some of the most frequently asked questions regarding sexual assault on campus.
I am scared to report a sexual assault because I was drinking and am under 21. Can I get into trouble for under-age drinking if I report?
NDSCS is committed to responding to cases of sexual assault with sensitivity and care. Students who experience sexual misconduct while under the influence of alcohol or other drugs, will not be subject to the Student Conduct process, nor will the incident become part of a student's conduct record. If you have been assaulted and are scared to report, please feel free to contact Sandi Gilbertson, Deputy Title IX Coordinator at 701-671-2904 or Melissa Johnson, Deputy Title IX Coordinator at 701-671-2224. Any of these individuals can provide you with resources and further discuss reporting options for your specific situation.
Is it possible to report a sexual assault anonymously?
Yes. You may file an anonymous report of sexual assault to NDSCS by filing out the NDSCS Concern Report Form. This reporting system may also be used by third-party individuals who have witnessed a sexual assault or have information that an assault occurred. However, the ability of NDSCS to investigate and resolve anonymous complaints will be limited if the information contained in the anonymous report cannot be verified by independent facts.
If I have been sexually assaulted by someone who lives in my residence hall, can the campus help me find different housing?
Yes! It is your right to feel safe where you live, work, study and play. If you feel unsafe where you live, please contact Residential Life.
How many sexual assaults occur on college campuses?
According to a 2014 report from the U.S. Department of Justice, the rate of rape and sexual assault was 1.2 times higher for non students (7.6 per 1,000) than for students (6.1 per 1,000).
Can men be victims of sexual assault?
Yes, men can be and are victims of sexual assault. Less than 5% of adolescent and adult sexual assault victims are male. When men are assaulted, their perpetrators are generally male, thus the bulk of both the research on sexual assault and prevention efforts focuses on female victims. If you are a man who has been sexually assaulted, it is important to remember that it is not your fault and that there are resources available for you.
My friend has been sexually assaulted, what can I do to help them?
Helping a friend as they recover from sexual assault can be an overwhelming experience. It is important to remember, it is not your role to “fix” the situation (in fact, taking control away from a victim again can re-victimize). As a friend, it is most important that you show your friend that you believe them and are there to listen when they want to talk. As a friend, you can also let them know that resources are available to them. Many people who help friends recover from sexual assault find that they also need help processing their own feelings surrounding the experience. The NDSCS Student Health and Counseling Services Personal Counselor is a trained professional ready to listen and help.
What can I, as a parent of an NDSCS student, do to protect my child from sexual assault while on campus?
First, it is important to discuss sexual assault with your child before they come to campus as a freshman. Studies have shown that the freshman year is when female students are most vulnerable to becoming victims of sexual assault. While we do our best to provide students with information regarding sexual assault early on in their academic career, the more conversations they have on the topic, the better prepared they will be. It is especially important that parents speak with their male students regarding appropriate behavior, as well as the potential dangers of combining alcohol and sex.
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There are a variety of definitions for sexual assault in both the legal and social realm. Generally, sexual assault is understood to be unwanted sexual contact of any kind. However, legally the definition can change depending on the state. Some states use the words rape and sexual assault interchangeably.
In the state of North Dakota, sexual assault is referred to as gross sexual imposition and includes both sexual acts (rape) and sexual contact (all other touching, above or below clothes). North Dakota Century Code Chapter 12.1-20-03 reads in part:
1. A person who engages in a sexual act with another, or who causes another to engage in a sexual act, is guilty of an offense if:
a. That person compels the victim to submit by force or by threat of imminent death, serious bodily injury or kidnapping, to be inflicted on any human being;
b. That person or someone with that person’s knowledge has substantially impaired the victim’s power to appraise or control the victim’s conduct by administering or employing without the victim’s knowledge intoxicants, a controlled substance as defined in chapter 19-03-.1, or other means with intent to prevent resistance;
c. That person knows or has reasonable cause to believe that the victim is unaware that a sexual act is being committed upon him or her;
d. The victim is less than 15 years old; or
e. That person knows or has reasonable cause to believe that the other person suffers from a mental disease or defect, which renders him or her incapable of understanding the nature of his or her conduct.
2. A person who engages in sexual contact with another, or who causes another to engage in sexual contact, is guilty of an offense if:
a. The victim is less than 15 years old;
b. That person compels the victim to submit by force or by threat of imminent death, serious bodily injury or kidnapping, to be inflicted on any human being; or
c. That person knows or has reasonable cause to believe that the victim is unaware that sexual contact is being committed on the victim.
Sexual assault is any sexual behavior between two or more people to which one person does not or cannot consent. This includes sexual acts or contacts with others that can involve:
- Compelling a person to submit to sexual acts or contacts by force, threat of force or intimidation;
- Use of intoxicants to substantially impair the person’s power to give consent; or
- A victim under the age of consent. (NOTE: the age of consent may vary depending on the ages of the individuals involved in the act and where the act occurs.)
- 11.2% of all students experience rape or sexual assault through physical force, violence, or incapacitation (among all graduate and undergraduate students).
- Among undergraduate students, 23.1% of females and 5.4% of males experience rape or sexual assault through physical force, violence, or incapacitation.
- 21% of TGQN (transgender, genderqueer, nonconforming) college students have been sexually assaulted, compared to 18% of non-TGQN females, and 4% of non-TGQN males.
- Only 20% of female student victims, age 18-24, report to law enforcement.
- More than 50% of college sexual assaults occur in either August, September, October, or November.
- Students are at an increased risk during the first few months of their first and second semesters in college.
Student or not, college-age adults are at high risk for sexual violence.
- Male college-aged students (18-24) are 78% more likely than non-students of the same age to be a victim of rape or sexual assault.
- Female college-aged students (18-24) are 20% less likely than non-students of the same age to be a victim of rape or sexual assault.
1. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Statistics, Rape and Sexual Victimization Among College-Aged Females, 1995-2013 (2014).
2. David Cantor, Bonnie Fisher, Susan Chibnall, Reanna Townsend, et. al. Association of American Universities (AAU), Report on the AAU Campus Climate Survey on Sexual Assault and Sexual Misconduct (September 21, 2015). ("Victim services agency” is defined in this study as a “public or privately funded organization that provides victims with support and services to aid their recovery, offer protection, guide them through the criminal justice process, and assist with obtaining restitution.” RAINN presents this data for educational purposes only, and strongly recommends using the citations to review any and all sources for more information and detail.)
3. Campus Sexual Assault Study, 2007; Matthew Kimble, Andrada Neacsiu, et. Al, Risk of Unwanted Sex for College Women: Evidence for a Red Zone, Journal of American College Health (2008).
Helping a friend or family member as they recover from sexual assault can be an overwhelming experience, and it is important to remember that it is not your role to “fix” the situation (in fact, taking control away from a victim again can re-victimize). As family and friends, it is most important that you show your loved one that you believe them and that you are there to listen when they want to talk. You can also let them know what resources are available to them. Many people who help a survivor recover from sexual assault find that they also need help processing their own feelings surrounding the experience. The NDSCS Student Health and Counseling Services Personal Counselor is a trained professional ready to listen and help.