What is Sexual Misconduct?

Any sexual misconduct is prohibited at UMW as stated in the University Sexual Harassment policy and the University’s Statement of non-discrimination. Sexual misconduct may include:

  • Sexual Harassment
  • Sexual Violence
  • Sexual Exploitation

Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment is unwanted, unwelcome sexual advances, request for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when:

  • Submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s employment or academic success or
  • Submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for academic or employment decisions or
  • Such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work performance or creating and intimidating academic or living environment
  • Sexual harassment can take place in the classroom or workplace and is a violation of state and federal laws as well as the University of Mary Washington’s policy

How Do You Know When It’s Harassment?

It can be difficult at times to know you are being sexually harassed. You may feel that the person didn’t mean what he or she said, that you are being overly sensitive or that you didn’t hear the person correctly.

If the attention is unwanted, ask yourself these questions:

  • Is the attention of a sexual nature, explicitly or implied?
  • Does the other party exercise power over you, such as issuing a grade, supervising, or writing recommendations?
  • Did the conduct or remarks create an intimidation or hostile environment?
  • Has your class or work performance suffered because of what was said or done?

If you answered YES to any of these questions, you may be a victim of sexual harassment.

Some common examples include

  • Direct or implied threats that submission to sexual advances will be a condition of employment, work status, promotion, or grade
  • Unwanted sexual teasing, jokes, remarks or questions
  • Unwanted pressure for dates
  • Unnecessary touching, patting, hugging, or brushing against a person’s body
  • Sexual looks or gestures
  • Pressure for sexual favors
  • Unwelcome letters, telephone calls or materials of sexual nature

Sexual Violence

Sexual violence means physical sexual acts perpetrated against a person’s will from unwanted sexual touching no matter how slight to unwanted sexual penetration or where a person is incapable of giving consent due to the victim’s age, use of drugs or alcohol.  An individual also may be unable to give consent due to an intellectual or other disability.

All forms of sexual violence are forms of sexual harassment covered under Title IX.

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 of advantage anyone other than the one being exploited, and that behavior does not otherwise constitute one of the other sexual misconduct offenses.