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Sexual Assault

Pepperdine is committed to honoring the dignity and respect of every individual, therefore any sexual misconduct (and any related retaliation), as defined in our policy, is prohibited and will result in disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal from the University.


Identifying Sexual Assault

Definition of Sexual Assault

Sexual assault is a general term that covers a broad range of inappropriate and/or unlawful conduct, including rape, sexual battery, and sexual coercion. As defined under California law, rape is non-consensual sexual intercourse that involves the use or threat of force, violence, or immediate and unlawful bodily injury or threats of future retaliation and duress. Other examples of sexual assault include the following non-consensual acts: oral copulation, anal intercourse, and penetration of the anal or vaginal area with a foreign object, including a finger. Sexual battery includes the non-consensual touching of a person's intimate parts, or the clothing covering the immediate area of those parts, or forcing a person to touch another's intimate parts. Sexual coercion is the act of using pressure (including physical, verbal, or emotional pressure), alcohol, medications, drugs or force to have sexual contact against someone's will or with someone who has already refused.

Definition of Consent

Consent means affirmative, conscious, and voluntary agreement to engage in sexual activity. It is the responsibility of each person involved in the sexual activity to ensure that he or she has the affirmative consent of the other or others to engage in sexual activity. Lack of protest or resistance does not mean consent, nor does silence mean consent. Affirmative consent must be ongoing throughout a sexual activity and can be revoked at any time. The existence of a dating relationship between the persons involved, or the fact of past sexual relations between them, should never by itself be assumed to be an indicator of consent. An individual is also unable to provide consent to engage in sexual activity when the individual: 1) is a minor (age 17 or under); 2) has a mental disorder or developmental or physical disability that renders her or him incapable of giving knowing consent; 3) is asleep or unconscious; or 4) is incapacitated from alcohol or other drugs, and this condition was known, or reasonably should have been known or recognized by the accused. "Incapacitated" means intoxicated to the point that the person is incapable of exercising the judgment required to decide whether to consent.


Ways to Step UP!

  1. Be aware of comments and behaviors from others that would indicate they were intent on having sexual intercourse even if the partner was unwilling.
  2. Notice if someone is getting ready to have sexual intercourse with a partner who is incapacitated.
  3. Don't pressure or encourage friends to drink or have sex as often or with as many people as possible.
  4. Don't joke about sexual assault; comments and jokes that are meant to "ease the tension" or are "just kidding around" can trivialize the severity of the behavior.
  5. Know your level of comfort with conversations and talk about sexual behavior. If you find groups or individuals who talk about sexual relationships that are not in sync with how you feel, or the type of relationship you want, don't be afraid to state your position.
  6. Many perpetrators are unaware that what they have done is a crime. (They may say, "Yeah, that was messed up, but it was fun.") Let them know that what they did was not right and was against the law.

If you become aware that a sexual assault has occurred or are told of an assault occurring:

  • Believe the person.
  • Tell the victim it is not his or her fault.
  • Encourage a report (to campus or local police, to the Dean of Students, to the campus Health Center, counselor, etc.) Realize however, there may be reasons that the person does NOT want to report. Respect that decision.
  • Don't pry or try to get information out of the person if he/she is unwilling to be forthcoming with information... be ready to listen when the individual is ready to talk.
  • If you learn of the perpetrator's identity, don't suggest physical or any other form of retaliation.
  • Know available resources.
  • Listen.
  • Be patient.


Did you know...?

  • You must have consent to engage in any and all sexual behaviors. Consent is hearing the word "yes." It is not the absence of hearing "no." It's the LAW!
  • Up to 75% of the physical and sexual assaults that occur on college campuses involve the abuse of alcohol by assailants, victims, or both.
  • According to the UCR (Uniform Crime Report), in a study surveying more than 6,000 students at 32 colleges and universities in the US:
    • More than 90% of sexual assaults are committed by people the victim knew (dating partner, boyfriend, friend, classmate, etc.)
    • Although the majority of sexual assaults are not reported to law enforcement, recent research indicates that report rates are increasing.
    • Less than 2% of reports to police are considered false reports.
    • While men can be victims as well, the majority of sexual assault cases involved male perpetrators and female victims.




Myths and Facts






The University of Arizona C.A.T.S. Life Skills Program, along with the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and national leading experts, has developed Step UP! Be a Leader, Make a Difference.