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Force (within context): It doesn’t always refer to physical pressure, it also refers to the use of emotional coercion, psychological force, or manipulation to coerce a victim into non-consensual sex. 

Sexual Violence: An all-encompassing, non-legal term that refers to crimes like sexual assault, rape, and sexual abuse. It is most often inflicted by someone the victim knows. Examples: intimate partner sexual violence and domestic violence.

Sexual Assault: Refers to sexual contact that occurs without the consent of the victim. Examples include: Attempted rape, fondling or unwanted sexual touching, forcing a victim to perform sexual acts, or penetration of a victim’s body (rape).

Drug-Facilitated Sexual Assault:  Occurs when alcohol or drugs are used to compromise an individual's ability to consent to sexual activity. These substances make it easier for a perpetrator to commit sexual assault because they lower inhibitions, reduce a person’s ability to resist, and can prevent them from remembering details of the assault. 

Sexual Harassment: It is a broad term for unwanted behavior of a sexual nature. Includes the violation of someone’s dignity or the creation of an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating, or offensive environment. Harassment can be audible or visual, and in-person or online. Examples include unwanted flirting, gesturing, making sexual comments about someone’s body, sexual orientation, or gender reassignment; asking someone questions about their sex life, telling sexually offensive jokes, displaying/sharing sexually explicit content, touching someone against their will, and soliciting sexual favors

Stalking: A pattern of repeated and unwanted attention, harassment, contact, or any other course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to feel fear.

Sexual Exploitation: Actual or attempted abuse of a position of vulnerability, power, or trust, for sexual purposes, including, but not limited to, profiting monetarily, socially, or politically from the sexual exploitation of another.

Sexual Abuse: ​​The infliction of sexual contact upon a person by physical or emotional force.

  • Child Sexual Abuse: A form of child abuse that includes sexual activity with a minor. A child cannot consent to any form of sexual activity. Examples include: exposing oneself to a minor, fondling, intercourse, masturbation in the presence of a minor, forcing a minor to masturbate, obscene conversations, phone calls, text messages or digital interaction, possessing/producing/sharing child pornography, sex of any kind with a minor, sex trafficking, or any other sexual nature including a minor. 

  • Grooming: When someone builds a relationship, trust, and emotional connection with a child or young person so they can manipulate, exploit and abuse them.

  • Grooming Pattern:

    1. Victim selection: Abusers often observe possible victims and select them based on ease of access to them or their perceived vulnerability.

    2. Gaining access and isolating the victim: Abusers will attempt to physically or emotionally separate a victim from those protecting them and often seek out positions in which they have contact with minors.

    3. Trust development and keeping secrets: Abusers attempt to gain the trust of a potential victim through gifts, attention, sharing “secrets” and other means to make them feel that they have a caring relationship and to train them to keep the relationship secret.

    4. Desensitization to touch and discussion of sexual topics: Abusers will often start to touch a victim in ways that appear harmless, such as hugging, wrestling, and tickling, and later escalate to increasingly more sexual contact, such as massages or showering together. Abusers may also show the victim pornography or discuss sexual topics with them, to introduce the idea of sexual contact.

    5. An attempt by abusers to make their behavior seem natural, to avoid raising suspicions. For teens, who may be closer in age to the abuser, it can be particularly hard to recognize tactics used in grooming. Be alert for signs that your teen has a relationship with an adult that includes secrecy, undue influence or control, or pushes personal boundaries.

Consent in Minnesota: "Consent" means words or overt actions by a person indicating a freely given present agreement to perform a particular sexual act with the other person. Consent does not mean the existence of a prior or current social relationship between the accused person and a victim. It does not mean that the victim failed to resist a particular sexual act. 

Washburn staff teaches that the following are all required elements of consent: 

  • Freely given - not coerced out of them
  • Reversible - a person can change their mind
  • Informed - the person knows clearly what they are consenting to
  • Enthusiastic - not wavering or unsure
  • Specific - one agreement doesn’t mean agreeing to something else as well

Further: A person who is mentally incapacitated or physically helpless as defined by this section cannot consent to a sexual act.

  • Mentally incapacitated: A person, as a result of inadequately developed or impaired intelligence or a substantial psychiatric disorder of thought or mood, lacks the judgment to give reasoned consent to sexual contact or to sexual penetration.
  • Physically helpless: A person is (a) asleep or not conscious, (b) unable to withhold consent or to withdraw consent because of a physical condition, or (c) unable to communicate nonconsent and the condition is known or reasonably should have been known to the actor.
  • Corroboration of the victim’s testimony is not required to show a lack of consent.