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"Consent is like a cup of tea..."


Script by Rockstar Dinosaur Pirate Princess | Animation by Rachel Brian | VO by Graham Wheeler

The Facts About Consent

What is consent?

Consent is:

  • 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!)
  • Sexy

Consent is NOT:

  • Silence
  • Sleep
  • 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.

Frequently Asked Questions

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 Jane Vangsness Frisch, Title IX Coordinator at 701-671-2627, Ann McGray, Deputy Title IX Coordinator at 701-671-2906, 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 an Anonymous 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. 

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 the campus each year?

According to a 2005 report from the United States Department of Justice, approximately 3% of all college women will be victims of rape or attempted rape each year.

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.

Where can I access the NDSCS Sexual Assault and Sexual Misconduct policy?

NDSCS Sexual Misconduct and Title IX Compliance Policy

My friend has been sexually assaulted, what can I do to help him or her?

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 Personal Counselor at the NDSCS Counseling Center is a trained professional ready to listen and help. 

What can I, as a parent of an NDSCS student, do to protect my son or daughter from sexual assault while on campus?

First, it is important to discuss sexual assault with your son or daughter 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.

Click here to view A Guide for Parents of Survivors of Sexual Assault.

Definitions of Sexual Assault

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.

Full North Dakota Century Code Chapter 12.1-20 Sex Offenses

NDSCS's Policy on Sexual Assault

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:

  1. Compelling a person to submit to sexual acts or contacts by force, threat of force or intimidation;
  2. Use of intoxicants to substantially impair the person’s power to give consent;
  3. Engaging in such acts when the person suffers from a mental state that renders him or her incapable of understanding the nature of the contact. This includes, but is not limited to, situations when an individual is intoxicated, “high”, scared, physically or psychologically pressured or forced, passed out, unconscious, intimidated, coerced, mentally or physically impaired, beaten, isolated or confined; or
  4. A victim under 15 years of age (do note the age of consent may vary depending on the ages of the individuals involved in the act).

Statistics

  • Just under 3% of all college women become victims of rape throughout a single academic year.1
  • 9 in 10 offenders of sexual assault are known to the victim.1
  • Almost 90% of rapes take place between 6:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m.2
  • The majority of the sexual victimization of college students takes place in a place of residence.2
  • Less than 5% of completed and attempted rapes are reported to the police.2
  • 35% of college men reported that they would commit sexual assault if they knew they would get away with it.3
  • 74% of perpetrators and 55% of victims of rape in a college setting had been drinking alcohol.4
  • According to one study, ¾ of college date rapists indicated that they purposefully got a date intoxicated to have sexual intercourse with her.

1 (United States Department of Justice. (2005) Sexual Assault on Campus: What Colleges and Universities are Doing about It. www.ojp.usdoj.gov/nij).
2 United States Department of Justice (2000) The Sexual Victimization of College Women.
3 Yeater, Elizabeth. A, O’Donohue, William. (1999) “Sexual Assault Prevention Programs: Current issues, future directions and the potential efficacy of interventions with women.” Clinical Psychology Review.
4 Abby, Antonia. (2002) Alcohol Related Sexual Assault: A Common Problem among college students. Journal of Studies on Alcohol. Supplement NO 14, 2002.

Resources for Family and Friends of Survivors of Sexual Assault

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 Personal Counselor at the NDSCS Counseling Center is a trained professional ready to listen and help. 

Guide for Parents of Survivors of Sexual Assault >
Helping a Victim of Sexual Assault >

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