Sexual misconduct is a broad continuum of sexually violent and abusive behaviors that includes but is not limited to:
- Sexual assault
- Drug facilitated sexual assault
- Sexual harassment
- Sex trafficking (also known as commercial sexual exploitation)
- Sexual bullying/intimidation
The judicial system might use other terms, or define these terms differently.
Sexual misconduct is defined as rape or any physical act of a sexual nature perpetrated against an individual without consent or when an individual is unable to freely and willingly give consent. Acts of a sexual nature include, but are not limited to: touching or attempted touching of an unwilling person’s breasts, buttocks, inner thighs, groin, or genitalia, either directly or indirectly through their clothing; and/or penetration (however slight) of another person’s oral, anal or genital opening with any object, penis, or finger.
The definition of sexual misconduct does not require a person who is the object of sexual aggression to physically or otherwise resist a sexual aggressor.
Sexual misconduct may also include sexual exploitation. This act occurs when a person takes nonconsensual or abusive sexual advantage of another for his or her own advantage or benefit, or for the benefit or advantage of a third party. (See section on exploitation under Forms of Sexual Misconduct).
All acts of sexual misconduct may or may not be accompanied by the use of coercion, manipulation, intimidation, or through advantage gained by the use of alcohol or other drugs.