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Policy on Sexual Assault

Definitions

Consent

Consent means the mutual understanding of words or actions freely and actively given by two informed people, which a reasonable person would interpret as a willingness to participate in mutually agreed upon sexual activity. Consent is not effective if it results from the use of physical force, there is intimidation or coercion, or the recipient party is incapacitated, or if a person is under the influence of drugs or alcohol such that they lack necessary judgment to give consent to sexual activity. Also remember that consent can be withdrawn and that consent to one activity does not necessarily imply consent to another. Finally, silence or non-communication should never be interpreted as effective consent.

Sexual Contact

Sexual contact includes but is not limited to: sexual intercourse, penetration of an orifice (anal, oral or vaginal) with the penis, finger, or other object in a sexual manner, intentional touching of the genitals, buttocks, or breasts, or coercion to force someone else to touch one’s genitals, buttocks, or breasts. Sexual contact can occur over clothing.

Sexual Contact With An Incapacitated Person

Incapacitation is the physical and/or mental inability to make informed, rational judgments. To have sexual contact with someone whom you know to be, or should know to be incapable of making a rational, reasonable decision due to his or her consumption of substances, in other words, unable to give effective consent, is a violation of policy.

Sexual Exploitation

Acts committed by a person for sexual gratification, financial gain and/or advancement, entertainment, or for any other reason that abuses or exploits the privacy of another person’s sexuality. Examples may include but are not limited to: non-consensual recording of sexual activity or nudity, unauthorized presentation or distribution of said recordings in any form, allowing others to observe a sexual act without the knowledge or consent of the individuals involved, or prostituting another person.

Policy Statement

ACM prohibits sexual assault or sexual violence in any form, including non-stranger rape. The goals of this policy are to create a community free of sexual assault, to provide avenues for those affected by sexual misconduct to obtain assistance, and to provide a clear and fair complaint and investigation procedure.

Sexual assault committed in connection with any ACM program in any location is prohibited. ACM strongly recommends that people who believe they have been victims of sexual assault pursue criminal charges against the person or persons they believe to have committed the sexual assault. Victims are also urged to make a complaint to staff in the ACM Chicago office. A criminal charge and an internal complaint can be pursued at the same time. Retaliation against anyone involved in the complaint process or anyone who pursues legal action—including the complainant, the respondent, or anyone participating in the investigation—is prohibited and will not be tolerated.

Definition of Sexual Assault

Sexual assault is intentional sexual contact with another person without that person’s consent (see definitions of sexual contact and consent). Consent exists when a person freely and knowingly agrees at the time to participate in a particular sexual act with a particular person. Consent is not effective, for example, when force, threat, or coercion is used. Consent is not effective when sexual contact is with a person who is unable to say no or otherwise resist because of the use of alcohol or drugs or because he or she is asleep or unconscious (see also definition of Sexual Contact with an Incapacitated Person).

The initiator of sexual contact will be found in violation of this policy if it is determined that he or she knew or should have known that the other person could not give effective consent as defined by this policy. Being intoxicated or under the influence of any substance at the time of sexual contact is never an excuse for violation of this policy.
Sexual assault can be committed by a man or a woman against a person of the same or opposite sex. Sexual assault can be committed by current or former lovers, friends, or acquaintances.