What is Sexual Violence?

At the University at Albany the term sexual violence includes sexual assault, intimate partner violence, dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking. University at Albany policies and the Penal Law of the State of New York define these terms differently. As a member of the University at Albany community, you have the right to report incidents of sexual violence to the university for, to the police, or to both. As such, it is important for you to understand how each of these acts are defined under the two systems.

The University at Albany's Student Code of Conduct, Community Rights and Responsibilities, prohibits sexual violence and defines the various acts constituting sexual violence as follows:

Sexual Assault violations:

Sexual Assault I
Sexual intercourse or any sexual penetration, however slight, of another person’s oral, anal, or genital opening with any object (an object includes but is not limited to parts of a person’s body) without the active consent of the victim.

Sexual Assault II
Touching a person’s intimate parts (defined as genitalia, groin, breast, or buttocks), whether directly or through clothing, without the active consent of the victim. Sexual Assault II also includes forcing an unwilling person to touch another’s intimate parts.

Sexual Exploitation
Nonconsensual, abusive sexual behavior that does not otherwise constitute Sexual Assault I, Sexual Assault II or Sexual Harassment. Examples include but are not limited to: intentional, nonconsensual tampering with or removal of condoms or other methods of birth control and STI prevention prior to or during sexual contact in a manner that significantly increases the likelihood of STI contraction and/or pregnancy by the non-consenting party; nonconsensual video or audio taping of sexual activity; allowing others to watch consensual or nonconsensual sexual activity without the consent of a sexual partner; observing others engaged in dressing/undressing or in sexual acts without their knowledge or consent; trafficking people to be sold for sex; and inducing incapacitation with the intent to sexually assault another person

In order to understand the above definitions, it is also important to understand the University at Albany's definition of 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.
  2. Consent is required regardless of whether the person initiating the act is under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol.
  3. Consent may be initially given but withdrawn at any time.
  4. Consent cannot be given when a person is incapacitated, and a reasonable person knows or should have known that such person is incapacitated. Incapacitation occurs when an individual lacks the ability to knowingly choose to participate in sexual activity. Incapacitation may be caused by the lack of consciousness or being asleep, being involuntarily restrained, or if an individual otherwise cannot consent. Depending on the degree of intoxication, someone who is under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or other intoxicants may be incapacitated and therefore unable to consent.
  5. Consent cannot be given when it is the result of any coercion, intimidation, force, or threat of harm.
  6. When consent is withdrawn or can no longer be given, sexual activity must stop.

Intimate Partner Violence Violations: Intimate Partner Violence includes Dating Violence and Domestic Violence, both of which are further defined below. Intimate Partner Violence can occur in relationships of the same or different genders.

Dating Violence
Any act of violence, including physical, sexual, psychological, and verbal violence, committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim. Dating Violence can occur as a single act, or it can consist of a pattern of violent, abusive, or coercive acts that serve to exercise power and control in the context of a romantic or intimate relationship. The existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on the victim’s statement and with consideration of the type and length of the relationship and the frequency of the interaction between the persons involved in the relationship. Two people may be in a romantic or intimate relationship, regardless of whether the relationship is sexual in nature; however, neither a casual acquaintance nor ordinary fraternization between two individuals in a business or social context shall constitute a romantic or intimate relationship.

Domestic Violence
Any violent felony, non-violent felony, or misdemeanor crime, as those terms are defined by the laws of the State of New York and of the federal government committed by a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the victim, a person sharing a child with the victim, or a person cohabitating with the victim as a spouse or intimate partner.

Stalking Violations:

Intentionally engaging in a course of conduct, directed at a specific person, which is likely to cause a reasonable person to fear for his or her safety or the safety of others or cause that person to suffer substantial emotional damage. Examples include, but are not limited to, repeatedly following such person(s), repeatedly committing acts that alarm, cause fear, or seriously annoy such other person(s) and that serve no legitimate purpose, and repeatedly communicating by any means, including electronic means, with such person(s) in a manner likely to intimate, annoy or alarm him or her. Stalking does not require direct contact between parties and can be accomplished in many ways, including through the use of electronic media such as internet, pagers, cell phones, or other similar devices.

The University at Albany strictly prohibits retaliation against any individual who has made a report of sexual violence or who is participating in sexual violence investigation or proceeding. Under Community Rights and Responsibilities, retaliation is defined as follows:

Retaliation consists of engaging, directly or indirectly, in any action or attempting to harass, intimidate, retaliate against, or improperly influence any individual involved with the Student Conduct System. It is also an intentional act taken against an individual who initiates any sexual misconduct complaint, including stalking of intimate partner violence, pursues legal recourse for such a complaint, or participants in any manner in the investigation of such a report. Any act of retaliation is prohibited and is subject to a student conduct referral.

The New York State Penal Law sets forth all acts that are criminal in nature in the State of New York. Articles 120 and 130 of the Penal Law address crimes constituting sexual violence. The Penal Law prohibits the following acts:

Section 130.20 – Sexual Misconduct
This offense includes sexual intercourse without consent and deviate sexual intercourse without consent. The penalty for violation of this section in¬cludes imprisonment for a definite period to be fixed by the court up to one year.

Section 130.25/.30/.35 – Rape
This series of offenses includes sexual intercourse with a person incapable of consent because of the use of forcible compulsion or because the person is in¬capable of consent due to a mental defect, mental incapacity, or physical helplessness. This series of offenses further includes sexual intercourse with a person under the age of consent. The penalties for violation of these sections range from imprisonment for a period not to ex¬ceed four years up to imprisonment for a period not to exceed 25 years.

Section 130.40/.45/.50
Criminal Sexual Act. This series of offenses includes oral or anal sexual conduct with a person incapable of consent because of the use of forcible compulsion or because the person is incapable of consent due to a mental defect, mental incapacity, or physical helplessness. This series of offenses further includes oral or anal sexual conduct with a person under the age of consent. The penalties for violation of these sections range from imprisonment for a period not to exceed four years up to imprisonment for a period not to exceed 25 years.

Section 130.52 - Forcible Touching
This offense involves the forcible touching of the sexual or other intimate parts of another person for the purpose of degrading or abusing such person; or for the purpose of gratifying the actor’s sexual desire. Forcible touching includes the squeezing, grabbing, or pinching of such other person’s sexual or other intimate parts. The penalty for violation of this section includes imprisonment for a period of up to one year in jail.

Section 130.55/.60/.65 – Sexual Abuse
This series of offenses includes sexual contact with a person by forcible compulsion, or with a person who is incapable of consent due to physical helplessness, or due to the person being under the age of consent. The penalties for viola¬tion of these sections range from imprisonment for a period not to exceed three months up to imprisonment for a period not to exceed seven years.

Section 130.65-a/.66/.67/.70
Aggravated Sexual Abuse. This series of offenses occurs when a person inserts a finger or a foreign object in the vagina, urethra, penis or rectum of another person by forcible compulsion, when the other person is incapable of consent by reason of being physically helpless, or when the other person is under the age of consent. The level of this offense is enhanced if the insertion of a finger or foreign object causes injury to the other person. The penalties for violation of these sections range from imprisonment for a period not to exceed seven years up to imprisonment for a period not to exceed 25 years.

Section 130.90
Facilitating a sex offense with a controlled substance. This offense occurs when a person knowingly and unlawfully possesses a controlled substance or any preparation, compound, mixture or substance that requires a prescription to obtain and administers such substance without such person’s consent and with intent to commit against such person a sexual offense as defined in Article 130. Facilitating a sex offense is a class D felony punishable by a period of up to seven years.

Section 120.45/50/55/60
Stalking: these offenses, which are described more fully in each section of the law, prohibit individuals from engaging in an intentional course of conduct directed at a specific person that is likely to cause a reasonable person to fear material harm to themselves, to another, to their property, etc. In each section the prohibited conduct is explained more fully.

The Title IX Coordinator is available to all members of the University at Albany Community to answer questions about the differences between the prohibitions in the University at Albany's policies and the Criminal Law as well as the differences in each system's processes and goals.