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Westminster College support and reporting options for Dating/Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault, and Stalking

CARDV is thrilled to be collaborating with Westminster College on their new campus grant. Westminster applied for this grant to enhance supportive services in reducing gender-based violence on campus. We are working diligently with Westminster’s Every Blue Jay team to increase accessibility of services, shift campus culture to one that is unwelcoming of gender-based violence, and enhance the bystander skills of all students, faculty, and staff.

If you have experienced dating/domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking, you have options:

The following information is adapted from Nevada CARES, another institution receiving this project grant from the Department of Justice.

Dating or domestic violence is a pattern of ongoing power and control by one dating partner over another. Examples of dating or domestic violence include threatening a partner or their family, coercing them into doing something they don’t want to do, constantly belittling them, controlling what they can and cannot do, deciding who they can go out with and when, isolating them from friends and family, controlling their finances and access to resources, or physically hitting, kicking, punching, slapping, or scratching. Dating and domestic violence can also include sexual violence or stalking.

Domestic violence can happen to people of all ages, races, ethnicities, and religions. It occurs in heterosexual and LGBTQ relationships. While it is important to remember that we all have different cultural practices, beliefs, and experiences that shape our view of what intimate relationships look like, everyone deserves to feel safe and respected.

Dating or domestic violence comes in many different forms: physical abuse, emotional/verbal abuse, financial abuse, sexual abuse, digital abuse, and stalking. All forms of abuse are serious and are worthy of being heard and validated. No one deserves to be abused and abuse is never the victim’s fault. If you have been the victim of dating or domestic violence, you are not alone. Help is available.

What Westminster College’s conduct policy says:

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE: Domestic Violence is a felony or misdemeanor crime of violence committed: 

  • By a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the victim 
  • By a person with whom the victim shares a child in common 
  • By a person who is cohabitating with or has cohabitated with the victim as a spouse or intimate partner 
  • By a person similarly situated to a spouse of the victim under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction in which the crime of violence occurred 
  • By any other person against an adult or youth victim who is protected from that person’s acts under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction in which the crime of violence occurred 

DATING VIOLENCE: Dating Violence is violence committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim. The existence of such a relationship shall be based on the reporting party’s statement and with consideration of the length of the relationship, the type of relationship, and the frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship. Dating violence includes, but is not limited to, sexual or physical abuse or the threat of such abuse. Dating violence does not include acts covered under the definition of domestic violence.

INTIMATE PARTNER VIOLENCE: Intimate Partner Violence includes physical, sexual, or psychological harm inflicted by a current or former partner or spouse. This type of violence can occur among heterosexual or same-sex couples and does not require sexual intimacy. There are four main types of intimate partner violence: (1) physical violence, (2) sexual violence, (3) threats of physical or sexual violence, and (4) psychological/emotional violence. Psychological/emotional violence can involve trauma to the victim caused by acts, threats of acts, or coercive tactics. Psychological/emotional violence can include, but is not limited to, humiliating the victim, controlling what the victim can and cannot do, withholding information from the victim, deliberately doing something to make the victim feel diminished or embarrassed, isolating the victim from friends and family, and denying the victim access to money or other basic resources. Psychological/emotional violence can also occur when there has been prior physical or sexual violence or prior threat of physical or sexual violence.

What Missouri law says:

1.  Domestic violence occurs when a person commits one of the following acts against or upon the person’s spouse or former spouse, any other person to whom the person is related by blood or marriage, any other person with whom the person is or was actually residing, any other person with whom the person has had or is having a dating relationship, any other person with whom the person has a child in common, the minor child of any of those persons, the person’s minor child or any other person who has been appointed the custodian or legal guardian for the person’s minor child:

  • A battery.
  • An assault.
  • Compelling the other person by force or threat of force to perform an act from which the other person has the right to refrain or to refrain from an act which the other person has the right to perform.
  • A sexual assault.
  • A knowing, purposeful or reckless course of conduct intended to harass the other person. Such conduct may include, but is not limited to:
  • Stalking.
  • Arson.
  • Trespassing.
  • Larceny.
  • Destruction of private property.
  • Carrying a concealed weapon without a permit.
  • Injuring or killing an animal.
  • A false imprisonment.
  • Unlawful entry of the other person’s residence, or forcible entry against the other person’s will if there is a reasonably foreseeable risk of harm to the other person from the entry.

2.  As used in this section, “dating relationship” means frequent, intimate associations primarily characterized by the expectation of affectional or sexual involvement. The term does not include a casual relationship or an ordinary association between persons in a business or social context.  NRS 33.01

The following information is adapted from Nevada CARES, another institution receiving this project grant from the Department of Justice.

Often what we think of as sexual assault comes from movies and TV shows where the situation involves a stranger that is scary, there is violence and weapons, and it occurs in a threatening environment. These situations do occur, however a majority of sexual assaults, especially on a college campus, occur with people that know each other, where there may be very little to no aggression or violence, where the weapon involved is alcohol or other drugs, and in an environment that appeared to be (and should be) safe.

It is not uncommon to be unsure of what to call experiences that don’t feel right, that feel uncomfortable or are confusing. Some questions that you might have are: Is that sexual assault? Is that rape? Is this serious enough to report? Will someone believe me? What are my options?

Know that if something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. No matter the circumstances or what happened, sexual assault is never the victim’s fault. It doesn’t matter if alcohol or other drugs were consumed, how the person was dressed, if there was flirting, if there is dating or romantic relationship, if sex happened in the past, or anything else. The only person at fault for sexual assault is the perpetrator. You also don’t have to name your experience or give it a label if you don’t want to.

The Basics:

Sexual assault/rape is any act of sexual intercourse or sexual penetration of any orifice of the body with a body part or other object that takes place against a person’s will or without consent. This may be accompanied by coercion, threatening statements, intimidation, or the threat of physical harm/safety. Sexual assault is not about sex… it is about having power and control over another person.

Examples of sexual assault include unwanted touching, kissing, fondling, or penetration of the mouth, vagina, or anus with a finger, penis or object.

What Westminster College’s conduct policy says:


SEXUAL ASSAULT: Sexual Assault is actual or attempted physical sexual contact or sexual touching with another person without that person’s effective consent. Sexual Assault includes, but is not limited to: 

  • Touching of the private parts of another person for the purpose of sexual gratification, without the effective consent of that person 
  • Penetration, no matter how slight, of (1) the vagina or anus of a person by any body part of another person or by an object, or (2) the mouth of a person by a sex organ of another person, without that person’s effective consent 
  • Sexual intercourse between persons who are related to each other within the degrees wherein marriage is prohibited by law 
  • Sexual intercourse with a person who is under the statutory age of consent 

SEXUAL EXPLOITATION: Sexual Exploitation occurs when an individual (or group of individuals) engages in non-consensual, unjust or abusive sexual advantage of another for his/her/their own advantage or benefit, or to benefit or advantage anyone other than the one being exploited, and that behavior does not otherwise constitute one of the other offenses detailed herein. Examples of sexual exploitation include, but are not limited to, prostituting another person, nonconsensual video or audio-taping of sexual activity, going beyond the boundaries of consent (such as letting friends surreptitiously watch you having consensual sex), engaging in Peeping Tommery, and knowingly transmitting an STD or HIV to another person.

SEXUAL HARASSMENT: Sexual Harassment may include, but is not limited to, unwelcome sexual advances, request for sexual favors, verbal or written comments or physical conduct of a sexual nature when such conduct: 1) is made, either explicitly or implicitly, a term or condition of instruction, employment or participation in college activities 2) is used as a basis for evaluation in making academic or employment decisions affecting an individual 3) creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work or academic environment. 

Examples of Sexual Harassment include unwelcome touching, sexually explicit offensive jokes, graphic or degrading verbal or written comments or questions of a sexual nature. Sexual Harassment can include sexual verbal abuse. Sexual Verbal Abuse is defined as using language that is sexual in nature and unwanted on the part of another person. Examples include, but are not limited to, verbal sexual innuendo, threats, and/or obscene gestures; inappropriate humor and jokes about gender specific traits or sexual orientation; sexual propositions; suggestive or insulting sounds and actions, including, whistling, leering, and obscene gestures; and phone calls or use of written and/or verbal communication that are intimidating, threatening, or obscene in nature. 

Allegations of behavior that may constitute Sexual Harassment, but that do not constitute Sexual Misconduct as that term is defined in this Policy, are addressed by the College’s Harassment and Discrimination Policy. Please refer to the Harassment and Discrimination Policy in the Student Handbook for more information on reporting and the adjudication procedures involving Sexual Harassment. Any individual with questions about which policy may apply in a given set of circumstances should contact the College’s Title IX Coordinator. 


Other Common Terms: 

INTERCOURSE: Intercourse includes vaginal penetration by a penis, object, tongue or finger, anal penetration by a penis, object, tongue, or finger, and oral copulation (mouth to genital contact or genital to mouth contact). 

SEXUAL TOUCHING: Sexual touching is any contact with the breasts, buttock, groin, or genitals, or touching another with any of these body parts, or making another touch you or themselves with or on any of these body parts. 

INCAPACITATED SEX: Incapacitated sex occurs when an individual engaged in a sexual situation is incapable of making a rational, reasonable decision about his/her participation in sexual activity. Being under the influence of alcohol or drugs is never an excuse for violation of this Policy. To have sex with someone who you know to be, or should know to be, incapable of making a rational, reasonable decision about a sexual situation is a violation of Policy. This includes someone whose incapacity results from taking the so-called “date-rape drug.” Possession, use and/or distribution of any of these substances, including Rohypnol, Ketomine, GHB, Burundanga, etc. is prohibited, and 69 administering one of these drugs to another student for the purpose of inducing incapacity is an offense of the most serious nature. 


Understanding Consent: 

EFFECTIVE CONSENT: Consent that is informed, freely and actively given, mutually understandable words or actions which indicate a willingness to participate in mutually agreed upon sexual activity. Consent is not effective if it results from the use of physical force, threats, intimidation, or coercion. 

INEFFECTIVE CONSENT: Consent which is obtained through the use of fraud or force (actual or implied) whether that force be physical force, threats, intimidation, or coercion, is ineffective consent. 

  • Physical force exists, for example, when someone acts upon you physically, such as hitting, kicking, restraining or otherwise exerting their physical control over you through violence.
  • Threat exists where a reasonable person would have been compelled by the words or actions of another to give permission to sexual contact they would not otherwise have given, absent the threat. For example, threats to kill you, themselves, or to harm someone you care for are sufficient to constitute threats.
  • Intimidation exists where someone uses their physical presence to menace you, though no physical contact occurs, or where your knowledge of prior violent behavior by an assailant, coupled with menacing behavior, places you in fear as an implied threat.
  • Coercion exists when a sexual initiator engages in sexually pressuring and/or oppressive behavior that violates the norms of respect in the community, such that the application of such pressure or oppression causes the object of the behavior to engage in unwanted sexual behavior. Coercion is differentiated from seduction when the coercive activity is unreasonably repetitive, the degree of pressure applied is greater, and the initiator has knowledge that the pressure is unwanted. 

Under Missouri Law Consent Is Not Valid if: (a) it is given by a person who lacks the mental capacity to authorize the conduct and such mental incapacity is manifest or known to the actor; or (b) it is given by a person who by reason of youth, mental disease or defect, intoxication, a drug-induced state, or any other reason is manifestly unable or known by the actor to be unable to make a reasonable judgment as to the nature or harmfulness of the conduct; or (c) it is induced by force, duress or deception. 

This means, consent cannot be given by: 

  • A minor to an adult. Someone under the age of 16 cannot give consent to someone over the legal age of consent (18), absent a legally valid marriage or court order.
  • Mentally disabled persons cannot give consent to a sexual activity if they cannot appreciate the fact, nature, or extent of the sexual situation in which they find themselves.
  •  Physically incapacitated persons. One who is physically incapacitated as a result of alcohol or other drug consumption (voluntary and involuntary), or who is unconscious, unaware, or otherwise physically helpless, is incapable of giving consent. One may not engage in sexual activity with another who one knows or suspects to be physically incapacitated. Physically incapacitated persons are considered incapable of giving effective consent when they lack the ability to appreciate the fact that the situation is sexual, and/or cannot rationally and reasonably appreciate the nature and extent of that situation. 

What You Need To Know About Consent:

  • At the heart of the idea of consent is the idea that every person, man or woman, has a right – to personal sovereignty—not to be acted upon by someone else in a sexual manner unless he/she gives clear permission to do so.
  • Consent can be broad or narrow and can be limited, such as in cases where someone is willing to engage in some forms of sexual activity, but not in others.
  • Consent to one form of sexual activity does not imply consent to other forms of sexual activity.
  • Consent may be given verbally or nonverbally, based on an active, informed, freely decided choice.
  • Consent means you can’t make assumptions about what your partner does or does not want. Absence of clear signals means you can’t touch someone else, not that you can.
  • Consent means two people deciding together to do the same thing, at the same time, in the same way, with each other. 
  • The idea of consent completely rules out any need to show the use of force, or any type of resistance.
  • Consent requires that the person initiating the sexual activity gets permission to do so, and that permission does not exist in the absence of resistance.
  • Passively allowing someone to touch you in a sexual manner is not consent.
  • There is no duty for anyone to fight off or act in any way to stop a sexual aggressor. 
  • There must be a verbal or non-verbal “Yes” in order for any permissible sexual activity to take place. 
  • There are circumstances where even when consent is given, it is not valid. Consent would be invalid when forced, threatened, intimidated, coerced, when given by a mentally or physically incapacitated person, or when given by a minor. 
  • We cannot play the game of “If she/he doesn’t want it, she’ll/he’ll stop me.” That notion is based on antiquated resistance requirements. It is not her or his job to resist, but yours to respect her or his boundaries and find out what they are if they are unclear. 
  • No means no, but nothing also means no. Silence and passivity do not equal permission.
  • The idea that kissing always leads to fondling, which always leads to petting, which leads to some sort of intercourse is a notion that is based on stereotypical sexual patterns and beliefs. Mutual exchanges must involve the expectations and desires of each person involved.
  • To be valid, consent must be given prior to or contemporaneously with the sexual activity.
  • Consent can be withdrawn at any time, as long as that withdrawal is clearly communicated by the person withdrawing it. 
  • Silence, previous sexual relationships, and/or current relationships may not, in themselves, be taken to imply consent.
  • Consent cannot be implied by attire, or inferred from the buying of dinner or the spending of money on a date. 
  • Intentional use of alcohol/drugs by the accused is not an excuse for violation of the Sexual Misconduct Policy. 
  • Consent has an expiration date. Consent lasts for a reasonable time, depending on the circumstances.

What Missouri law says:

A person is guilty of sexual assault if he or she:

Subjects another person to sexual penetration, or forces another person to make a sexual penetration on himself or herself or another, or on a beast, against the will of the victim or under conditions in which the perpetrator knows or should know that the victim is mentally or physically incapable of resisting or understanding the nature of his or her conduct. NRS 200.366

The following information is adapted from Nevada CARES, another institution receiving this project grant from the Department of Justice.

What Westminster College’s conduct policy says:

STALKING: Stalking is engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to fear for her or his safety or the safety of others, or suffer substantial emotional distress.

For purposes of this definition: 

  • “Course of conduct” means two or more acts, including, but not limited to, acts which the stalker directly, indirectly, or through third parties, by any action, method, device, or means follows, monitors, observes, surveils, threatens, or communicates to or about, a person, or interferes with a person’s property
  • “Substantial emotional distress” means significant mental suffering or anguish that may, but does not necessarily, require medical or other professional treatment or counseling
  • “Reasonable person” means a reasonable person under similar circumstances and with similar identities to the victim

What Missouri law says: