Key terms and concepts

The following definitions are based upon University policy and will be used for all administrative proceedings where a report has been made.

Wayne State's Sexual Assault Policy states the following regarding consent:
For purposes of this policy, consent shall not be deemed to have occurred if given by a person who is unable to make a reasoned judgment concerning the nature or harmfulness of the activity because of his or her incapacitation, unconsciousness, mental deficiency or incapacity, or if the product of threat or coercion.

When engaging in sexual activity, consent is about communication. It needs to be a verbal, willing and clear agreement to engage in sexual activity free from the influence of coercion, threats, force or incapacitation due to alcohol or other drugs.

Consent needs to happen every time. Giving consent for one activity, one time, does not mean giving consent for increased or recurring sexual contact. For example, agreeing to kiss someone doesn't give that person permission to remove the other person's clothes. Having sex with someone in the past doesn't give that person permission to have sex with the other person again in the future.

If either person is passed out, unconscious, or incapacitated consent is not present.

Alcohol is far more commonly used in situations of sexual assault than other known date rape drugs.

Coercion: Coercion includes threatening to break up with someone, spread rumors about them, share private photos of them, or any other attempt to verbally control them. Trying to wear someone down by repeatedly asking until they say yes is a form of verbal coercion. Agreeing to engage in sexual activity due to coercion is not consent.

Sexual Violence: an all-encompassing, non-legal term that refers to crimes like sexual assault, rape, and intimate partner violence.

Sexual Assault:

  • Any intentional, unconsented, unwelcome physical contact or threat of unwelcome physical contact or attempt thereof, of: (a) an intimate body part of another person, such as a sexual organ, (b) any body part of another person with one's sexual organs, or (c) any part of another person's body with the intent of accomplishing a sexual act; or
  • Unwanted, inappropriate undressing of another person, or purposeful exposure of one's genitals to another without their consent; or
  • Forcing, or attempting to force, any other person to engage in sexual activity of any kind without their consent; or
  • Any behavior that is proscribed as "criminal sexual conduct" under the Michigan Penal Code, even if criminal charges have not been brought against the individual alleged to have engaged in such behavior.

Sexual Harassment: Unwelcome sexual advances, request for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct or communication of a sexual nature when:

  • Submission to such conduct or communication is made a term or condition either explicitly or implicitly to obtain employment, public accommodations or public services, education, or housing.
  • Submission to or rejection of such conduct or communication by an individual is used as a factor in decisions affecting such individual's employment, public accommodations or public services, education, or housing.
  • Such conduct or communication has the purpose or effect of substantially interfering with an individual's employment, public accommodations or public services, education, or housing, or creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive employment, public accommodations, public services, educational or housing environment.

Relationship (Domestic, Dating, or Intimate Partner) Violence:

This refers to a pattern of behavior in which one person attempts to control another person through threats or use of physical, sexual, verbal or psychological abuse. 

It applies to the following relationships

  • Spouse or former spouse;
  • Dating relationship or former dating relationship;
  • Child in common; or
  • Resident or former resident of the same household.

This form of violence includes mental and emotional abuse or control as well as physical violence. If you or someone you know has a partner who is engaging in these behaviors, please seek help.

Warning signs that a relationship may be unhealthy or even abusive:

  • Isolation: If one partner is trying to cut-off the other from their family and friends
  • If one partner uses put-downs, insults, or threats to control the other person
  • Using threats of self-harm or suicide to control the other person
  • Attempts to control what the other person is wearing, who they're with, or where they go
  • Constantly calling, messaging or texting a partner when unwanted to control them
  • Sexual violence of any form
  • Any form of physical violence or threat of violence (e.g. grabbing, pushing, shoving, hitting, slapping, scratching, hair pulling, etc.)

Stalking: a pattern of repeated or continuing harassment of another person without consent that would cause a reasonable person to feel terrorized, frightened, harassed, threated or intimidated and actually causes the person to feel any of those things.
This can include following a person; appearing at a person's home, class, or work; continuing to contact a person after receiving requests not to; leaving written messages, objects, or unwanted gifts; vandalizing a person's property; photographing a person; and other threatening, intimidating, or intrusive behavior.

The Wayne State Police can and will assist victims of stalking in obtaining a Personal Protection Order (PPO).

Retaliation:  taking an adverse action against a person as a result of that person filing a complaint or participating in the investigation of a complaint.

Retaliation can take the form of any adverse action against a student in a class, a clinic, a sports team, or online.

Retaliation is prohibited by Title IX and by University policy.


Title IX Office