What is Sexual Assault?

The following information provides an overview and list of resources for students, parents, friends, faculty, and staff who are interested in learning more about sexual assault and intimate partner abuse.

UMW’s Code of Conduct, as listed in the University Handbook 2011-2012, addresses sexual assault under the Sexual Misconduct policy. Sexual Misconduct at UMW is defined a:

• any sexual intercourse (anal, oral, or vaginal)
• however slight
• with any object
• by a man or woman upon a man or a woman
without consent*

• any intentional sexual touching
• however slight
• with any object
• by a man or a woman upon a man or a woman
without consent*

View more information regarding UMW’s sexual misconduct policy and Title IX here.

By definition, Sexual Assault includes any form of sexual conduct that is not given without effective consent of the receiving party.  Sexual assault encompasses acts that range from unwanted touching to rape. Sexual assault occurs when a person does not, or is unable to, consent to sexual activity.

Effective Consent is defined as informed, freely and actively given, mutually understandable words or actions which indicate a willingness to participate in mutually agreed upon sexual activity. Please note consent may never be given by:

  1. Minors to legal adults (Statutory Rape);
  2. Mentally disabled persons;
  3. Physically incapacitated persons:
    Note: One who is physically incapacitated as a result of alcohol or other drug consumption (voluntary and involuntary), or who is unconscious, unaware, or otherwise physically helpless, is incapable of giving consent

What is Intimate Partner Abuse?

Sexual assault or sexual coercion can often be a part of a larger pattern of other forms of abuse that are taking place in the relationship. However, many college students can also be involved in relationships where emotional, verbal, psychological or physical abuse occur. The term intimate partner abuse is often used to describe the other forms of abuse that can take place in a relationship.


There are many resources online and locally that provide guidance, support and information  on sexual assault and interpersonal violence. Below is a list of resources by topic.

Local Resources:

  • Rappahannock Council Against Sexual Assault (RCASA) (540) 371-1666 provides individual and group counseling, outreach, and information for survivors, family and friends.
  • Virginia Family Violence and Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-838-8238, available 24 hours
  • Mary Washington Hospital is an essential contact if you have been sexually assaulted. Your health and medical safety should never be over looked. For general information dial (540) 741-1000
  • Student Health Center (540) 654-1040
    Provides STD and Pregnancy testing.

General Resources:

See Also:

Sexual Assault Information

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