Sexual Violence Defined

Villanova University prohibits all forms of sexual violence, including sexual assault, sexual harrasment and other sexual misconduct. The following, as outlined in the University's policy are prohibited conduct. For Pennsylvania state law definitions, please see Appendix E

Sexual assault is having or attempting to have sexual intercourse or sexual contact with another person without consent. This includes sexual intercourse or sexual contact achieved by the use or threat of force or coercion, where person does not consent to the sexual act, or where a person is incapacitated. Sexual assault includes the following acts:

  • Rape - Attempted or Actual Penetration(s): Causing or attempting to cause non-consensual vaginal, anal, or oral penetration, however slight, with any object or body part, with another person.
  • Fondling - Non-Consensual Sexual Contact: The touching of the private body parts of another for the purpose of sexual gratification forcibly and/or against that person's will; or not forcibly or against the person's will where the person is incapable of giving consent because of their age or because of their temporary or permanent mental incapacity.  This can include causing the other to touch the harasser’s private body parts.
  • Incest: Sexual intercourse between persons who are related to each other within the degrees wherein marriage is prohibited be law.
  • Statutory rape: Sexual intercourse with a person who is under the statutory age of consent. In Pennsylvania, individuals under 13 years of age can never consent to intercourse; individuals younger than 16 years of age can never consent to intercourse with a partner more than four years their senior. 

Sexual exploitation is an act or omission to act that involves taking nonconsensual, unjust, humiliating, or abusive sexual advantage of another, either for personal advantage or to benefit or advantage anyone other than the Complainant. Examples of sexual exploitation include but are not limited to the following:

  • Creating a picture(s), movie(s), webcam, tape recordings, graphic written narrative(s), or other means of memorializing sexual behavior or a state of undress of another person without the other's knowledge or consent;
  • Sharing items described in the paragraph above beyond the boundaries of consent where consent was given. For example, showing a picture to friends where consent to view it was given for oneself only;
  • Observing or facilitating observation by others of sexual behavior or a state of undress of another person without the knowledge or consent of that person;
  • Voyeuristic behaviors, such as watching another person or persons, without their consent, while they are undressing, undressed, or engaged in sexual activity;
  • Engaging in sexual behavior with knowledge of an illness or disease that could be transmitted by the behavior without full and appropriate disclosure to the partner(s) of all health and safety concerns;
  • Engaging in or attempting to engage in "escort services" or "dating services" which include or encourage in any way sexual behavior in exchange for money;
  • Intentionally, knowingly, or surreptitiously providing drugs or alcohol to a person for the purpose of sexual exploitation; or
  • Exposing another person to pornographic material without the person's advanced knowledge or consent.

Sexual harassment is unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other physical, visual, or verbal behavior of a sexual nature where:

  • Submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of a person's employment or education; or
  • Submission to or rejection of such conduct by a person is used as the basis for employment or academic decisions affecting the person; or 
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    • Unreasonably interfering with a person’s academic or professional performance; or
    • Creating an intimidating, hostile, or demeaning employment or educational environment.

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Examples of potentially sexually harassing behaviors include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Unwelcome sexual advances, sexual innuendo, or requests for sexual favors in person, by phone, by electronic message or photo, written words or images such as graffiti, and social media postings;
  • Unwelcome behavior of a sexual nature by a faculty member, coach, or other staff person directed towards a student, a colleague, or other community member;
  • A person in a position of authority (such as a faculty member, coach, supervisor) suggesting that an educational or employment benefit will result from submission to some unwelcome behavior of a sexual nature or will be denied for refusal to engage in sexual activity;
  • Repeated sexual remarks, offensive stories, remarks about sexual activity or experiences, sexual innuendoes or other suggestive comments that are unwanted and unwelcome by another;
  • Displaying or showing pictures, cartoons, or other printed materials of a sexual nature in the workplace or in an educational setting where there is insufficient academic relevance;
  • Exposing the private parts of one’s body to another person, or in public forums.



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 fear for their safety, or the safety of others, or suffer substantial emotional distress. The course of conduct means two or more acts in which the stalker follows, monitors, observes, surveils, threatens or communicates to or about a person, or interferes with a person's property.  This includes cyber-stalking, a particular form of stalking in which electronic media such as the internet, social networks, blogs, cell phones, texts or other similar devices or forms of contact are used to pursue, harass, or make unwelcome contact with another person.

This resource flyer is available for more information about stalking.

Retaliation is defined as attempts or acts to seek retribution including, but not limited to, any form of intimidation, reprisal, harassment, or intent to prevent participation in criminal proceedings or University proceedings under University Policy. Retaliation may include continued abuse or violence, other harassment, and slander and libel. Retaliation may be committed by any person or group of people, not just a Respondent or Complainant.  It may be committed against the Complainant, Respondent, or any person or group of people involved in the investigation and/or in the resolution of an allegation of sexual assault, sexual harassment, or other sexual misconduct.  Retaliation could occur before, during or after an investigation and/or University proceedings.

Here is a resource "Understanding Stalking" which contains helpful information about understanding, preventing and responding to stalking.

Dating violence. Includes physically, sexually, and/or psychologically abusive behavior that arises in the form of a direct violent act, or indirectly as acts that expressly or implicitly threaten violence.  Dating violence also occurs when one partner attempts to maintain power and control over the other through one or more forms of abuse, including sexual, physical, verbal, financial or emotional abuse.   Specifically, dating violence is violence or the threat of violence committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the Complainant. The existence of such a relationship is determined based upon the length of the relationship, the type of the relationship and the frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship.

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The person who reports that they have been the subject of sexual assault, sexual harassment or other sexual misconduct.

The person who is reported to have committed act(s) of sexual assault, sexual harassment or other sexual misconduct.

Non-Public Safety personnel who have significant responsibility for campus security or student and campus activities, as identified under the Clery Act. To read more about the responsibilities of CSAs, click here.

All employees (except for confidential resources) have been designated as “responsible employees” and are required to report any and all incidents to the Title IX Coordinator or a Deputy Coordinator (as outlined in the Title IX Notice) regardless of wheather or not the "responsible employee" witnessed the incident or learned of it through the Complainant, Respondent or a third party.