Sexual Assault

So what is sexual assault?

The University of Colorado system, including UCCS, prohibits sexual assault, nonconsensual sexual intercourse, and nonconsensual sexual contact.

Sexual assault - nonconsensual sexual intercourse:  Means any sexual intercourse, however slight, with any object, by any person upon another person that is without affirmative consent and/or by force. Intercourse includes vaginal penetration by a penis, object, tongue or finger; anal penetration by a penis, object, tongue or finger; and oral copulation (mouth to genital contact or genital to mouth contact), no matter how slight the penetration or contact.  Also refer to the definitions of "affirmative consentand "incapacitation". (University of Colorado, APS 5014)


Sexual assault - nonconsensual sexual contact:  Means any intentional sexual touching, however slight, with any object, by any person upon another person, that is without affirmative consent and/or by force. Sexual contact includes intentional contact with the breasts, buttocks, groin or genitals, or touching another with any of these body parts, or making another touch you or themselves with or on any of these body parts; or any other intentional bodily contact in a sexual manner.  Also refer to the definitions of "affirmative consentand "incapacitation".  (University of Colorado, APS 5014) 

To understand these definitions, it is also important to understand how the University of Colorado defines affirmative consent and incapacitation. The definitions below are both from the University of Colorado APS 5014.

Affirmative consent:   Means the, unambiguous and voluntary agreement to engage in a specific sexual activity.  Consent is clear, knowing and voluntary words or actions which create mutually understandable clear permission regarding willingness to engage in, and the conditions of, sexual activity. Consent must be active; silence by itself cannot be interpreted as consent.

Consent is not effectively given if it results from the use of force, including threats, intimidation or coercion, or if it is from someone who is incapacitated:

  • Force is the use of physical violence or imposing on someone physically to gain sexual access.
  • Threats exist where a reasonable person would have been compelled by the words or actions of another to give permission to sexual contact they would not otherwise have given. For example, threats to kill someone, themselves or to harm someone one cares for constitute threats.
  • Intimidation occurs when someone uses physical presence to menace another, although no physical contact occurs, or where knowledge of prior violent behavior by an assailant, coupled with menacing behavior, places someone in fear as an implied threat.
  • Coercion is unreasonable pressure for sexual activity. Coercion differs from seduction by the repetition of the coercive activity beyond what is reasonable, the degree of pressure applied and other factors such as isolation. When someone makes it clear that they do not want sex, do not want to go past a certain point or want it to stop, continued pressure beyond that point can be coercive.  It also includes "grooming" meaning an attempt to control victims through a systematic process which takes advantage of an individual's vulnerabilities using a combination of strategies to gain the individual's trust, lower inhibitions and gain cooperation and "consent."

    Consent will be determined using both objective and subjective standards. The objective standard is met when a reasonable person would consider the words or actions of the parties to have manifested an agreement between them to do the same thing, in the same way, at the same time, with one another. The subjective standard is met when a party believes in good faith that the words or actions of the parties manifested an agreement between them to do the same thing, in the same way, at the same time, with one another.
  • A person who does not want to consent to sex is not required to resist.
  • Consent to some forms of sexual activity does not automatically imply consent to other forms of sexual activity.
  • Silence, previous sexual relationships or the existence of a current relationship do not imply consent.
  • Consent cannot be implied by attire or inferred from the giving or acceptance of gifts, money or other items.
  • Consent to sexual activity may be withdrawn at any time, as long as the withdrawal is communicated clearly.
  • Withdrawal of consent can be done in numerous ways and need not be a verbal withdrawal of consent.
  • respondent's intoxication resulting from intentional use of alcohol/drugs will not function as a defense to engaging in sexual activity without an individual's consent.
  • In order to give effective consent, the person giving consent must be of legal age under Colorado law for the purposes of determining whether there was a sexual assault.

Incapacitation:  Incapacitation may result from alcohol or other drug use, unconsciousness or other factors.  The use of alcohol or drugs, in and of itself does not render a person incapacitated. Incapacitation is a state beyond drunkenness or intoxication. The impact of alcohol and drugs varies from person to person.  Incapacitation is a state where a person cannot make a rational, reasonable decision because they lack the capacity to give affirmative consent (to understand the who, what, when, where, why or how of sexual interaction.) Incapacity can also result from illness, sleep, mental disability and other circumstances.  Engaging in sexual activity with a person whom you know to be mentally or physical incapacitated, or reasonably should know to be incapacitated, violates this policy.