SSAC broadly defines interpersonal violence (or IPV) as behavior within a relationship that causes physical, psychological, financial or sexual harm to those in that relationship. It’s not your fault. The perpetrator is responsible for the assault, not the victim. The perpetrator can be a current or former partner, a friend, a family member, a leader/advisor, acquaintance, someone you’ve known for years or someone you just met.

Interpersonal violence can happen to anyone- regardless of age, race, gender, culture, sexual identity, what you are wearing, or your financial status.

The Student Support and Advocacy Center provides confidential supportive services to student victims of all forms of interpersonal violence as well as serving as a linkage to campus and community resources.

SSAC can providing information and connection to resources regarding:

  • Campus and community reporting options
  • Medical resources
  • Emotional support
  • Safety planning
  • Academic support
  • Navigating additional challenges and needs

If you or someone you know is in need of resources and support regarding any interpersonal violence please call 703-993-3686 to schedule an appointment. We are a confidential resource for interpersonal violence.

To learn more about Interpersonal Violence, please review George Mason University’s definitions from our 1202 Sexual and Gender-Based Harassment and Other Interpersonal Violence Policy.

 

Sexual Assault

Sexual Assault consists of (1) Sexual Contact and/or (2) Sexual Intercourse that occurs without (3) Affirmative Consent.

Sexual Contact is:
  • Any intentional sexual touching
  • However slight
  • With any object or body part (as described below)
  • Performed by a person upon another person

Sexual Contact includes (a) intentional touching of the breasts, buttocks, groin or genitals, whether clothed or unclothed, or intentionally touching another with any of these body parts; and (b) making another touch you or themselves with or on any of these body parts.

Sexual Contact includes (a) intentional touching of the breasts, buttocks, groin or genitals, whether clothed or unclothed, or intentionally touching another with any of these body parts; and (b) making another touch you or themselves with or on any of these body parts.

Sexual Intercourse is:
  • Any penetration
  • However slight
  • With any object or body part (as described below)
  • Performed by a person upon another person

Sexual Intercourse includes (a) vaginal penetration by a penis, object, tongue, or finger; (b) anal penetration by a penis, object, tongue, or finger; and (c) any contact, no matter how slight, between the mouth of one person and the genitalia of another person.

Affirmative Consent is:
  • Informed (knowing)
  • Voluntary (freely given)
  • Active (not passive), meaning that, through the demonstration of clear words or actions, a person has indicated permission to engage in mutually agreed-upon sexual activity

Affirmative Consent cannot be obtained by Force. Force includes (a) the use of physical violence, (b) threats, (c) intimidation, and/or (d) coercion.

 

Relationship Violence (Interpersonal Violence)

 

Interpersonal Violence (commonly referred to as intimate partner violence, dating violence, domestic violence, and relationship violence), can encompass a broad range of abusive behavior committed by a person who is or has been:

  • In a romantic or intimate relationship with the Complainant (of the same or different sex);
  • The Complainant’s spouse or partner (of the same or different sex);
  • The Complainant’s family member; or
  • The Complainant’s cohabitant or household member within the past 12 months, including a roommate.

Whether there was such a relationship will be gauged by its length, type, and frequency of interaction. Reports of Interpersonal Violence that do not involve one of the specified relationships or do not involve an individual’s Protected Status (Protected Statuses are listed in University Policy 1201, Non-Discrimination) will be resolved under the Code of Student Conduct or, for employees, applicable policies.

Interpersonal Violence includes physical violence, emotional abuse, sexual assault, economic control and neglect that a reasonable person in similar circumstances and with similar identities would find intimating, frightening, terrorizing, or threatening. Such behaviors may include threats of violence to one’s self, one’s family member, or one’s pet.

 

Stalking

Stalking occurs when a person engages in a course of conduct directed at a specific person under circumstances that would cause a reasonable person in similarly circumstances and with similar identities to fear bodily injury or to experience substantial emotional distress.

Course of conduct means two or more acts, including but not limited to acts in which a person directly, indirectly, or through third parties, by any action, method, device, or means, follows, monitors, observes, surveils, threatens, or communicates to or about another person, or interferes with another person’s property. Substantial emotional distress means significant mental suffering or anguish, or creating a hostile, intimidating, or abusive environment for a reasonable person in similar circumstances with similar identities. Stalking may involve individuals who are known to one another, who have a current or previous relationship, or who are strangers.

Stalking includes “cyber-stalking,” a particular form of stalking in which a person uses electronic media, such as the internet, social networks, blogs, cell phones, texts, or other similar devices or forms of contact.

Sexual or Gender-Based Harassment

Sexual or Gender-Based Harassment includes:

  1. Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and other verbal, physical, or electronic conduct of a sexual nature that creates a hostile, intimidating, or abusive environment;
  2. Verbal, physical, or electronic conduct based on Sex, Gender, Sexual Orientation, or sex-stereotyping that creates a hostile, intimidating, or abusive environment, even if those acts do not involve conduct of a sexual nature, or

Harassment for exhibiting what is perceived as a stereotypical characteristic for one’s Sex or for failing to conform to stereotypical notions of masculinity and femininity, regardless of the actual or perceived Sex, Gender, Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, or Gender Expression of the individuals involved

Sexual Exploitation & Gender Discrimination

More to come

If you or someone you know is in need of resources and support regarding any interpersonal violence, please call 703-993-3686 to schedule an appointment. We are a Confidential Resource for interpersonal violence.

Information shared with Confidential Resources (specially designated campus or community professionals) will only be disclosed with the individual’s express written permission, unless there is a continuing threat of serious harm to the client/student or to others or there is a legal obligation to reveal such information (e.g., where there is suspected abuse or neglect of a minor).

To connect someone you know to resources, please make a referral.
To learn more about how to be a positive bystander, please visit our help page.