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Sexual Violence

Sexual Misconduct

According to Winthrop University's Student Conduct Code, sexual misconduct will not be tolerated in the Winthrop community. Sexual misconduct can occur in many relationships and may involve sexual assault, sexual harassment, relationship violence, and stalking. This behavior interferes with the educational mission by:

• Endangering the physical and emotional safety of community members;

• Damaging trust in the community;

• Offending the dignity and violating the autonomy of community members; and

• Disrupting the academic progress of victims or survivors during their recovery.

Sexual Assault

Winthrop University's Student Conduct Code defines sexual assault "as any unwanted sexual acts that involve threats, physical force, intimidation or deception. Sexual assault can be defined as one or more of the following:

a. Offensive Touching: The touching of an unwilling person’s intimate parts; touching an unwilling person with one’s own intimate parts; causing an unwilling person to touch another’s intimate parts.

b. Non-Consensual Sexual Assault: Unwilling or non consensual penetration of any bodily opening with any objects or body part.

c. Forced Sexual Assault: Requires the use of physical force and/or penetration. Coercion, the threat of immediate physical harm, the restriction of movement, and/or the administration of a drug, intoxicant or a physical substance that impairs the faculties of a person would all constitute forced sexual assault."


According to Winthrop University's Student conduct code, "Consent is the equal approval, given freely, willingly, and knowingly by each participant to desired sexual involvement. Consent is an affirmative, conscious decision - indicated clearly by words or actions – to engage in mutually accepted sexual contact."

Setting the Stage for Sexual Violence

Alcohol, Other Drugs, and Sex

Alcohol and other drugs can:
  • inhibit clear thinking
  • make talking and listening more difficult
  • increase one's risk or vulnerability to sexual violence
  • decrease an individual's ability to provide consent to sexual activity

Alcohol and other drugs are not the cause of sexual violence; aggression and power are at the root of it. However, alcohol and other drugs increase your vulnerability for sexual violence to occur because of the reasons listed above.

Healthy sexual activity is based on clear, conscious verbal and nonverbal communication in which both parties assume sex will not take place until consent is given. Alcohol and other drugs cloud the ability of both parties to provide this form of communication. In many states, laws require that someone must be sober in order to give true consent. Also, being drunk or high is never a justification for sexual violence.

During unhealthy sexual activity, a person assumes "I have access to sex until my partner says no or pushes me away." Alcohol and other drugs can impede your ability to say no or physically resist and may result in unwanted sexual activity.

During illegal sex, a person assumes "I have access to sex no matter what." Alcohol and other drugs are often used to avoid the possibility that an individual will resist sex, therefore making access to sex easy.

Drug-facilitated Sexual Assault

Alcohol is the most common substance used in sexual assault. However, certain drugs like Rohypnol, GHB (Gamma-Hydroxybutyrate), and Ketamine are sometimes mixed in drinks (alcohol and non-alcoholic beverages) and given to an individual without her/his knowledge. Most of these substances are tasteless, colorless, and odorless. They generate extreme drowsiness, sudden fatigue, confusion, and, in the case of Rohypnol, memory loss. Someone under the influence of alcohol or other drugs is at increased risk for sexual assault because of her/his inability to fight back.

Ways to Stay Safe

  • At a party or bar, accept drinks only from a bartender/server; do not leave drinks unattended; and do not accept open container drinks from anyone
  • If you or a friend feel intoxicated or disoriented after only a few sips of your drink, go immediately to a safe place with someone you trust.
  • Make a pact with a friend that you will not leave each other. Make sure you keep an eye on each other all night.

We are here to support you, no matter the circumstances.

Office of Victims Assistance
204 Crawford Building
Rock Hill, SC 29733, USA
803/323-3332 (fax)