Understanding Key Terms

To help the DVC community better understand our policies around sexual violence, we have provided the following definitions for sexual violence key terms.

Definition of Consent

In California, "Affirmative Consent" is defined as positive cooperation. Consent must be freely and voluntarily given, and participants must have knowledge and understanding of the act.  Consent cannot be given when force, threat of force, coercion or fraud is used to gain compliance.

Consent cannot be given when someone is

  • incapacitated due to alcohol or other drug use
  • asleep or unconscious
  • under the legal age of consent (18 years old in California) or has limited mental capacity due to a disability or mental illness

Consent cannot be assumed based on silence, the absence of “no” or “stop,” the existence of a prior or current relationship, or prior sexual activity.

  • Consent can be revoked at any time, even in the middle of a sex act.
  • If someone physically or verbally communicates to the other person that s/he does not wish to continue with the sexual act or encounter, other person must immediately stop.
  • If s/he does not stop when asked, any sex act after consent has been revoked is considered assault.

Alcohol and/or Drugs and Consent

Consent cannot be given if a person is impaired by alcohol and/or drugs. Below are some obvious signs that a person is impaired by alcohol and/or drugs and can no longer make a clear decision about giving consent:

  • If a person is stumbling or falling down;
  • If a person cannot stand or walk on their own;
  • If a person’s speech is slurred or they are not communicating clearly;
  • If a person cannot focus their eyes or is confused about what is happening around them;
  • If a person has urinated, defecated, or vomited on themselves or around them;
  • If a person is sleeping or unconscious, he or she cannot give consent.

It is the responsibility of the person initiating sexual contact to be sure affirmative consent has been given.

Understanding Other Key Terms

Campus Sexual Violence Elimination Act (Campus SaVE):  The Campus Sexual Violence Elimination Act (Campus SaVE) was enacted in March 2013, and amends the Jeanne Clery Act, creating additional protections for victims of dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking, as well as creating more prescriptive requirements for prevention and awareness programs related to these offenses.

Clery Act: The Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act (20 USC § 1092(f)), commonly referred to as the Clery Act, requires colleges and universities that participate in federal financial aid programs to report annual statistics on crime on or near their campuses—including sexual assault and rape—and to develop and disseminate prevention policies.

Confidentiality: The college's policy states that names of individuals involved in sexual misconduct cases will not be disclosed by the college, except on a need-to-know basis or as required by law. Confidentiality is not the same as anonymity—which means not being named or personally identified.

Confidential Employees: Confidential employees include only certain, specific individuals on our campus whom are exempt from the reporting requirements of other college employees. These individuals include licensed, professional mental health counselors working in that role at the DVC.

Consent: In California, "Affirmative Consent" is defined as positive cooperation. Consent must be freely and voluntarily given, and participants must have knowledge and understanding of the act.  Consent cannot be given when force, threat of force, coercion or fraud is used to gain compliance.

Complainant: An individual who comes forward to complain of sexual misconduct against or by a member of the college community or a third party.

Dating Violence: Violence committed by a person against another person with whom he or she has been in a relationship of a romantic or intimate nature. The existence of such a relationship will be determined based on a consideration of the length of the relationship, the type of relationship, and the frequency of interactions between the persons involved in the relationship. (This definition is based on the VAWA definition 42 U.S.C. 13925 (a).)

Domestic Violence: Domestic violence is abuse or threats of abuse when the person being abused and the abuser are or have been in an intimate relationship (married or domestic partners, are dating or used to date, live or lived together, or have a child together). It is also when the abused person and the abusive person are closely related by blood or by marriage. See complete definition at courts.ca.gov.

Human Trafficking: A form of modern-day slavery where traffickers lure victims with false promises of employment or a better life. Traffickers recruit, transport, or obtain victims by force for the purpose of exploiting them. Human trafficking is divided into two categories: sex and labor trafficking.

Respondent: A member of the college community who is charged with one or more acts of sexual misconduct.

Responsible Employee: An employee who has the authority to take action to redress sexual violence, who has been given the duty of reporting incidents of sexual violence or any other misconduct by students to the Title IX coordinator or other appropriate college designee, or whom a student could reasonably believe has this authority or duty.

This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Instructors, including full-time professors, adjunct professors, lecturers, and others who offer classroom instruction or office hours to students
  • Academic Counselors
  • Coaches, trainers, and other athletic staff who interact directly with students
  • Administrators
  • Most classified employees who work in offices that interact with students
  • Supervisors and college officials

Retaliation: Intimidation, threats, harassment, adverse changes in work or academic environments—or other adverse actions threatened or taken against a complainant or a third party—in an attempt to retaliate against, prevent, or otherwise obstruct the reporting of sexual misconduct.

Sexual Assault: Any unwanted, non-consensual sexual act in which a person is threatened, coerced or forced to comply against their will, or when a person is unable to give consent because they are a minor, unconscious, asleep or incapacitated due to drugs or alcohol.  A perpetrator(s) of sexual assault may be known or unknown to the victim. He or she could be a date, partner, spouse, acquaintance, family member or stranger.

Sexual Harassment: Unwelcome conduct or behavior of a sexual nature. Sexual harassment includes sexual violence (see definition below). Both violent and nonviolent sexual harassment are prohibited by the college. Sexual harassment can include unwelcome sexual advances; requests for sexual favors; and other verbal, nonverbal, or physical conduct of a sexual nature. Sexual harassment creates a hostile environment when the conduct is sufficiently serious to limit or deny a person’s ability to participate in or benefit from the college’s educational programs or when it affects employment—and it is prohibited.

Sexual Misconduct: Sexual harassment, sexual violence, dating violence, domestic assault, domestic violence, rape, sexual assault, sexual exploitation, and stalking.

Sexual Violence: Physical sexual acts perpetrated against a person’s will or when a person is incapable of giving consent due to use of drugs or alcohol, or due to an intellectual disability or other disability. Sexual violence includes rape, sexual assault, sexual battery, and sexual coercion.

Stalking: A knowing or an intentional course of conduct involving repeated or continuing harassment of another person that would cause a reasonable person to feel terrorized, frightened, intimidated, or threatened and that actually causes the victim to feel terrorized, frightened, intimidated, or threatened. The term does not include statutorily or constitutionally protected activity.

Title IX Coordinator: The individual designated by the college to coordinate the college’s compliance with Title IX and respond to allegations of sexual misconduct by members of the college community.

Violence Against Women Act: The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) established federal legal definitions of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking.

Report an Assault or Complaint