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The following is from the Vassar College Regulations.

  1. Intimate Partner: To be considered intimate, a relationship must include (or have included) some romantic, sexual, and/or domestic element. Common intimate partner relationships are:
    • Married Partners—individuals who are legally married;
    • Domestic Partners—individuals who live together AND who are romantically interested in one another (not simply roommates, regardless of state law); can be married or unmarried; can include a sexual component, but does not have to; 
    • Dating Partners—individuals who are romantically interested in one another; can be a couple (dating each other exclusively) or dating casually (concurrently dating other people); can include a sexual component, but does not have to; 
    • Sexual Partners—individuals who have engaged in at least one sexual act with one another. 
  2. Emotional/Verbal Abuse is persistent abuse that undermines an individual’s sense of self-worth and/or self-esteem. This may include, but is not limited to constant criticism, diminishing one’s abilities, name-calling, and/or damaging one’s relationship with their friends and/or family.
  3. Psychological Abuse is abuse that would cause fear in a reasonable person. This includes but it not limited to intimidation; threatening physical harm to self, partner, children, or partner’s family or friends; threatening to disclose partners’ orientation, destruction of pets and property; and isolating from family, friends, or school and/or work. 
  4. Economic Abuse is intending to make or attempting to make an individual financially dependent on their partner. This includes but is not limited to maintaining control over financial resources, withholding one’s access to money, or forbidding attendance at school, employment or other activities.
  5. Physical Abuse is physical harm by partner. This includes but is not limited to hitting, slapping, shoving, kicking, grabbing, pinching, biting, hair-pulling, spitting, physical restraint and/or restricting breathing. Physical abuse may also include denying a partner medical care or coercing use of alcohol and/or other drugs, touching in ways that make a person uncomfortable, and persistent treatment of the victim and other people as objects via actions and remarks. 
  6. Sexual Abuse involves violating an individual’s autonomy over their body. Sexual abuse may include, but is not limited to, coercing or attempting to coerce any sexual contact or behavior, forcing the partner to dress in a sexually explicit way, forcing to watch or simulate pornography, nonconsensual intercourse or contact, or accusing the victim of sexual activity with others. 

Affirmative Consent

Affirmative consent is a knowing, voluntary, and mutual decision among all participants to engage in sexual activity. Consent can be given by words or actions, as long as those words or actions create clear permission regarding willingness to engage in the sexual activity. Silence or lack of resistance, in and of itself, does not demonstrate consent. The definition of consent does not vary based upon a participant’s sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.

  1. Consent to any sexual act or prior consensual sexual activity between or with any party does not necessarily constitute consent to any other sexual act. Consent is required regardless of whether the person initiating the act is under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol. Consent may be initially given but withdrawn at any time.
  2. Consent cannot be given when a person is incapacitated, which occurs when an individual lacks the ability to knowingly choose to participate in sexual activity.
  3. Consent cannot be given when it is the result of any coercion, intimidation, force, or threat of harm. When consent is withdrawn or can no longer be given, sexual activity must stop.
  4. In order to give effective consent, one must be of legal age; New York State defines 17 years as of legal age.