Definitions of Sexual Assault & Sexual Harassment

Definition of Sexual Assault

militarydefenseattorneys9.48.59 PM copyFor the purpose of DoD-wide sexual assault prevention and response awareness training and education, the term “sexual assault” is defined as intentional sexual contact, characterized by use of force, physical threat or abuse of authority or when the victim does not or cannot consent. This definition does not affect in any way definition of any offenses under the UCMJ.

Sexual assault includes rape, nonconsensual sodomy (oral or anal sex), indecent assault (unwanted, inappropriate sexual contact or fondling), or attempts to commit these acts. Sexual assault can occur without regard to gender or spousal relationship or age of victim.

“Consent” shall not be deemed or construed to mean the failure by the victim to offer physical resistance. Consent is not given when a person uses force, threat of force, coercion, or when the victim is asleep, incapacitated, or unconscious.

Definition of Sexual Harassment

“. . . is a form of gender discrimination that involves unwelcomed sexual advances, request for sexual favors, and other verbal of physical conduct of a sexual nature between the same or opposite genders when:

  • submission to , or rejection of, such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of a person’s job, pay, career or
  • submission to , or rejection of, such conduct by a person is used as a basis for career or employment decisions affecting that person;
  • such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work performance or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive working environment.

Any person in a supervisory or command position who uses or condones implicit or explicit sexual behavior to control, influence, or affect the career, pay, or job of a Soldier or civilian employee is engaging in sexual harassment. Similarly, any Soldier or civilian employee who makes deliberate or repeated unwelcome verbal comments, gestures, or physical contact of a sexual nature is engaging in sexual harassment.”

Categories of Sexual Harassment:

  • Verbal : telling sexual jokes, using sexually explicit profanity, threats, sexually oriented cadences, or sexual comments. Can include “honey, sweetheart, babe, hunk”.
  • Non-verbal : blowing kisses, winking, staring (undressing with eyes).
  • Physical : touching, but also blocking hallways, unsolicited back or neck rubs.

Types of Sexual Harassment:

  • Quid pro quo: conditions placed on career or teams of employment in return for favors. Includes implicit or explicit threats of adverse action. Can include third-party victims who are affected by job actions granted to another in exchange for sexual favors.
  • Hostile environment: Brings the topic of sex or gender differences into the workplace. Need not be quid pro quo. If physicl acts, sexual comments, or non-verbal actions unreasonably interfere with the job performance of another, it is sexual harassment. Can include comments about body parts, sexual jokes, suggestive pictures.

Complaints of sexual harassment follow same procedures as Equal Opportunity complaints. See AR 600-20, chapter 7, for details.