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Stop Sexual Assault


Use these terms and their explanations to facilitate open discussion, create understanding and talk about how to stop sexual assault. These definitions supplement but don't replace the definitions of terms outlined in university policy.

Sexual Assault

Sexual assault is sex or any type of sexual touch without consent.


Consent is clear, conscious, willing and affirmative agreement to engage in sexual activity.

A person who is incapacitated for any reason is not capable of giving consent. Prior consent does not guarantee future consent. The style of a person's clothing does not express consent. Silence or the absence of a "no" does not mean there is consent. An unconscious person cannot consent. Consent for one sexual act does not imply consent for other sexual acts. Consent can be withdrawn at any time.

Active bystander

An active bystander is someone who sees a negative situation or event and intervenes in some way to prevent harm.

Being an active bystander does not always mean a person has to physically or directly intervene. Making the choice to be an active bystander can make a very real difference in someone's life. Contacting police or notifying on-campus personnel such as resident mentors or administrators are other ways to be an accountable bystander. The university's bystander accountability initiative, Stand Up Carolina, teaches community members signs to look for, ways to step in and resources to help.

Learn more about how to be an active bystander.

Victim blaming

Victim blaming occurs when people are held entirely or partially responsible for the crimes committed against them.

This phenomenon is more common in cases of sexual assault than in any other type of crime. Sexual assault survivors are frequently asked questions like, What were you wearing? Had you been drinking? Did you lead them on? These questions blame the victims rather than the people who took advantage of them. Placing blame on a victim for any reason is unacceptable. Sexual assault is never the victim's fault.

Confidential resources

Confidential resources are employees with a legal obligation or privilege of confidentiality. They are not required to report the identity of sexual assault survivors. At UofSC, medical and counseling staff, sexual assault survivor advocates, members of the clergy and attorneys are confidential resources.

See a list of contacts and note the confidential resources.

Intimate partner violence

Intimate partner violence occurs when one person in a relationship is using a pattern of methods and tactics to gain and maintain power and control over the other person.


Stalking is a pattern of repeated, unwanted attention and contact that causes fear or concern for one's own safety or the safety of someone else.

Stop Sexual Assault