About Sexual Violence and Exploitation

Sexual violence is any attempted or completed act that is directed against someone’s sexuality that is not consensual. Acts of sexual violence are not only limited to physical acts of violence but also include verbal and written acts.

Sexual Assault:

Sexual assault is any intentional, non-consensual sexual contact such as touching, kissing, or penetration with any body part or object. For the university definition of consent, please click here. Some examples of sexual assault and rape include:

  • Groping someone without permission (regardless of environment)
  • Making someone give or receive oral sex
  • Physical sexual interactions with someone who is unable to give informed consent due to drugs/ alcohol
  • Refusing to take “no” for an answer, repeatedly asking them to have sex until they give in

Sexual Harassment

Sexual Harassment is unwelcome, sexual, sex-based and/or gender-based verbal, written, online and/or physical conduct. Sexual harassment can take the form of quid pro quo harassment, retaliatory harassment and/or creates a hostile environment. Some examples include:

  • Catcalling
  • Purposely calling someone by the wrong pronouns
  • Repeatedly making unwelcome sexual comments through text or social media
  • Sharing sexually inappropriate and unsolicited photos/ videos

Sexual Exploitation

Sexual Exploitation occurs when one person takes non-consensual or abusive sexual advantage of another for his/her 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 sexual misconduct offenses. Some examples include:

  • Non-consensual digital, video or audio recording of nudity or sexual activity
  • Unauthorized sharing or distribution of digital, video or audio recording of nudity or sexual activity
  • Outing another person’s sexual orientation or gender identity

Fact vs. Fiction


  • Things like sexual harassment, sexist and/ or homophobic language, and bias aren’t a big deal. People who complain about it are being sensitive.
  • Sexual assault is happens because one person “misreads” or “misunderstands” another person’s signals. It’s just a miscommunication.
  • Sexual assault is usually done by a stranger and usually happens in poorly lit, outdoor places. It can be prevented by having pepper spray or a weapon.
  • Sexual assault only occurs when someone physically forces another person into sexual activity or when someone pursues sexual activity with another person is passed out from alcohol.


  • Sexist, homophobic language, and sexual harassment normalize other forms of violence like sexual assault.
  • It is on both/ all partners to ensure that their partner(s) is consents. If they have any reason to be unsure, they must ASK.
  • 90% of people know their perpetrator and often it is someone that the survivor or victim cares or cared about and trusts.
  • Sexual assault also occurs when one person continuously asks or pressures another person into saying yes or when people start engaging in consensual sexual activity but one person starts doing things or going further than what was consented to. Consent can be revoked at any time.

Survivor Support

If you or someone you care about has experienced sexual harassment, sexual assault, or sexual exploitation, there are many resources available:

  • Confidential advocate – to schedule a meeting with the confidential advocate, call 336-278-5009. The confidential advocate can also be reached by email at akrauss3@elon.edu.
  • Safeline– 24/7 confidential advocacy phone line available at 336-278-3333.
  • Counseling services– located at the R. N. Ellington Center for Health and Wellness, 301 South O’Kelly Avenue. To make an appointment call 336-278-7280.

For more resources and options for support, please go to the Get Help Now page.