Definitions


The term consent is not defined in law by the State of Michigan.  However, State of Michigan courts through jury instructions have identified the term consent as: “…a person consents to a sexual act by agreeing to it freely and willingly, without being forced or coerced.”

 

The  University Interim Policy Prohibiting Harassment, Discrimination, Retaliation, & Sexual Misconduct (Including Sexual Assault, Intimate Partner Violence, Stalking & Sexual Exploitation) definition of consent: 

Consent is affirmative, informed (knowing), voluntary (freely given), and clearly communicated by word or action.

  1. Consent can be withdrawn once given, as long as the withdrawal is reasonably and clearly communicated. If consent is withdrawn, that sexual activity should cease within a reasonable time.
  2. When evaluating whether the Complainant has given consent, GVSU will also consider the presence of physical violence, threats, intimidation, and/or coercion.
  3. Individuals may experience the same interaction in different ways. Therefore, it is the responsibility of each party to determine that the other has consented before engaging in the activity.
  4. Consent cannot be obtained by taking advantage of the incapacitation of another, where it was known, or reasonably should have been known, that the other was incapacitated.
    1. Incapacitation is such that it renders the person incapable of self-care and protection and occurs when someone cannot make rational, reasonable decisions because they lack the capacity to give informed (knowing) consent (e.g., to understand the “who, what, when, where, why, or how” of their sexual interaction).
      1. Incapacitation could be the result of alcohol, other drugs, sleep or unconsciousness, a temporary or permanent physical or mental health condition, or involuntary physical restraint.

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 determined based on the reporting party’s statement and with the 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.

 

State of Michigan definition: “Dating relationship” means frequent, intimate associations primarily characterized by the expectation of affectional involvement. This term does not include a casual relationship or an ordinary fraternization between two individuals in a business or social context. (Michigan Code of Criminal Procedure, Act 175 of 1972, 768.27b )

 

The  University Interim Policy Prohibiting Harassment, Discrimination, Retaliation, & Sexual Misconduct (Including Sexual Assault, Intimate Partner Violence, Stalking & Sexual Exploitation) definition of dating violence: Dating Violence is any act of violence committed by a person who is, or has been, in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim that does not fall within the definition of “domestic violence.”

  1. Dating violence includes, but is not limited to, sexual or physical abuse or assault or the threat of such abuse or assault.
  2. For the purposes of determining Intimate Partner Violence, whether the relationship is of a romantic or intimate nature is determined by a variety of factors, including: (a) the length of the relationship, (b) the type of relationship, and (c) the frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship.
  3. A relationship of a romantic or intimate nature means a relationship that is characterized by the expectation of affection or sexual involvement between the parties.
  4. An incident of dating violence can consist of a single act of violence or a pattern of violent acts that includes, but is not limited to, sexual or physical abuse, or the threat to engage in such abuse.

Felony or misdemeanor crimes 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 occurred.

 

State of Michigan definition:

“Domestic violence” or “offense involving domestic violence” means an occurrence of 1 or more of the following acts by a person that is not an act of self-defense:

  • Causing or attempting to cause physical or mental harm to a family or household member
  • Placing a family or household member in fear of physical or mental harm
  • Causing or attempting to cause a family or household member to engage in involuntary sexual activity by force, threat of force, or duress
  • Engaging in activity toward a family or household member that would cause a reasonable person to feel terrorized, frightened, intimidated, threatened, harassed, or molested.

 “Family or household member” means any of the following:

  • A spouse or former spouse
  • An individual with whom the person resides or has resided.
  • An individual with whom the person has or has had a child in common.
  • An individual with whom the person has or has had a dating relationship.  As used in this paragraph, “dating relationship” means frequent, intimate associations primarily characterized by the expectation of affectional involvement.  This term does not include a casual relationship or an ordinary fraternization between two individuals in a business or social context.
    (Michigan Code of Criminal Procedure, Act 175 of 1972, 768.27b )

 

The University Interim Policy Prohibiting Harassment, Discrimination, Retaliation, & Sexual Misconduct (Including Sexual Assault, Intimate Partner Violence, Stalking & Sexual Exploitation) definition of domestic violence:  Domestic Violence is any act of violence committed by any of the following individuals: (1) a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the victim; (2) person with whom the victim shares a child in common; (3) person who is cohabitating with, or has cohabitated with, the victim as a spouse or intimate partner; and/or (4) a resident or former resident of the victim’s household in the event such household residents have a current or prior intimate relationship.

An incident of domestic violence can consist of a single act of violence or pattern of violent acts that includes, but is not limited to, sexual or physical abuse, or the threat to engage in such abuse.

The penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim.

 

State of Michigan Definition: Rape is incorporated within the State of Michigan definition for sexual assault. 

 

The University Interim Policy Prohibiting Harassment, Discrimination, Retaliation, & Sexual Misconduct (including Sexual Assault, Intimate Partner Violence, Stalking & Sexual Exploitation) definition of rape: Rape is incorporated within the policy's definition for sexual assault.

An offense that meets the definition of rape, fondling, incest, or statutory rape as used in the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) program. Per the National Incident-Based Reporting System User Manual from the FBI UCR Program, A sex offense is “any sexual act directed against another person, without the consent of the victim, including instances where the victim is incapable of giving consent.”

  • Fondling - The touching of the private body parts of another person for the purpose of sexual gratification, without the consent of the victim, including instances where the victim is incapable of giving consent because of their age or because of their temporary or permanent mental capacity.
  • Incest  - Sexual intercourse between persons who are related to each other within the degrees wherein marriage is prohibited by law.
  • Statutory Rape - Sexual intercourse with a person who is under the statutory age of consent.

 

The State of Michigan identifies sexual assault as:  Criminal Sexual Conduct (CSC).  There are four degrees of CSC: First and Third Degrees require sexual penetration; Second and Fourth Degrees require sexual contact.

Sexual contact” includes the intentional touching of the victim’s or actor’s intimate parts or the intentional touching of the clothing covering the immediate area of the victim’s or actor’s intimate parts, if that intentional touching can reasonably be construed as being for the purpose of sexual arousal or gratification, done for a sexual purpose, or in a sexual manner for revenge, to inflict humiliation or out of anger.

Intimate parts” includes the primary genital area, groin, inner thigh, buttock, or breast of a human being.

Sexual penetration” means sexual intercourse, cunnilingus, fellatio, anal intercourse, or any other intrusion, however slight, of any part of a person’s body or of any object into the genital or anal openings of another person’s body, but emission of semen is not required. (MI Penal Code, Act 328 of 1931, 750.20a)

 

Sexual Assault is defined in the University Interim Policy Prohibiting Harassment, Discrimination, Retaliation, & Sexual Misconduct (Including Sexual Assault, Intimate Partner Violence, Stalking & Sexual Exploitation) as: 

Sexual Assault: having or attempting to have sexual intercourse or sexual contact with another individual by force or threat of force, without consent, or where the person is incapacitated, as defined below:

  1. Sexual Contact: any intentional sexual touching, however slight, with any object or body part, performed by a person upon another person, and includes;
    1. Intentional touching of the breasts, buttocks, groin or genitals, whether clothed or unclothed, or intentionally touching another with any of these body parts;
    2. Making another touch you or themselves with or on any of these body parts;
    3. Causing another to touch one’s intimate parts, disrobing or exposure of another without permission.
  2. Sexual Intercourse: vaginal or anal penetration, however slight, with any object or body part, performed by a person upon another person; and/or oral penetration involving mouth to genital contact, and includes:
    1. Vaginal penetration by a penis, object, tongue, or finger;
    2. Anal penetration by a penis, object, tongue, or finger;
    3. Any contact, no matter how slight, between the mouth of one person and the genitalia of another person.

Engaging in a 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.

For purposes of this definition-

  • Course of Conduct means two or more acts, including but not limited to, acts in 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.
  • Reasonable Person means a reasonable person under similar circumstances and with similar identities to the victim.
  • Substantial emotional distress means significant mental suffering or anguish that may, but does not necessarily, require medical or other professional treatment or counseling.

 

State of Michigan definition:  “Stalking” means a willful course of conduct involving repeated or continuing harassment of another individual that would cause a reasonable person to feel terrorized, frightened, intimidated, threatened, harassed, or molested, and that actually causes the victim to feel terrorized, frightened, intimidated, threatened, harassed, or molested.

  • Course of conduct” means a pattern of conduct composed of a series of two or more separate non-continuous acts evidencing a continuity of purpose.
  • Emotional distress” means significant mental suffering or distress that may, but does not necessarily, require medical or other professional treatment or counseling.
  • Harassment” means conduct directed toward a victim that includes, but is not limited to, repeated or continuing unconsented contact that would cause a reasonable individual to suffer emotional distress and that actually causes the victim to suffer emotional distress.  Harassment does not include constitutionally protected activity or conduct that serves a legitimate purpose.
  • Unconsented contact” means any contact with another individual that is initiated or continued without that individual’s consent or in disregard of that individual’s expressed desire that the contact be avoided or discontinued.  (Examples of unconsented contact are included in the Act)
    (Michigan Penal Code, Act 328 of 1931, Sec 750.411h )

 

The  University Interim Policy Prohibiting Harassment, Discrimination, Retaliation, & Sexual Misconduct (Including Sexual Assault, Intimate Partner Violence, Stalking & Sexual Exploitation) definition of stalking:  Stalking occurs when a person engages in a course of conduct directed at a specific person under circumstances that would cause a reasonable person to fear bodily injury or to experience substantial emotional distress.

  1. Course of conduct means two or more acts, including but not limited to acts in which a person directly, indirectly, or through third parties, by any action, method, device, or means, follows, monitors, observes, surveils, threatens, or communicates to or about another person, or interferes with another person’s property.
  2. Reasonable person means a reasonable person under similar circumstances.
  3. Substantial emotional distress means significant mental suffering or anguish that may, but does not necessarily, require medical or other professional treatment or counseling.
  4. Stalking includes "cyber-stalking," a particular form of stalking in which a person uses electronic media, such as the internet, social networks, blogs, cell phones, texts, or other similar devices or forms of contact. The policy prohibits all stalking, not just stalking that occurs within the context of a relationship.