Gender-based Violence is violence directed against a person on the basis of gender.  This term is used to capture all forms of power-based violence (such as sexual assault and harassment, intimate partner dating violence, and stalking). Gender-based violence is about getting and maintaining power and control over another individual. For more detailed information about each form of gender-based violence, click on the definitions below.

  • Sexual Misconduct

    Washington College defines Sexual Misconduct as deliberate sexual behavior, contact, or threat of sexual contact without the other person’s consent. Examples include, but are not limited to:

    • Crude, obscene, or sexually offensive gestures
    • Unwanted touching, fondling, or groping of a sexual nature or coercion to force someone else to touch, fondle, grope
    • Rape, forcible sodomy, or penetration with inanimate object, sexual intercourse without consent
    • Coercing a person to consume alcohol or other drugs for the purpose of inducing sexual activity
    • Any act involving sexually related behavior which places another person in a degrading, exploitative, abusive, or humiliating situation including (but not limited to): placing photographs of a sexual nature on the internet without permission
    • Between 20 and 25% of college age women will be victims of rape or attempted rape during their college career (Fisher et al, 2000).
    • 84% of women who reported sexually coercive behaviors experienced the incident during their first four semesters on campus (An Examination of Sexual Violence Against College Women, 2006).
    • 1 in 33 men, or 3 %, will be the victim of a completed or attempted rape during his lifetime (National Institute for Justice, Center for Disease Control & Prevention, U.S. Department of Justice, 2000)
  • Sexual Harrassment

    Washington College defines sexual harassment as any unwelcome sexual advance, request for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature which has the purpose or effect of interfering with one’s academic or work performance or social world by creating an intimidating, hostile, offensive, or violence environment.

    Examples include:

    • An action of an individual in position of authority or power who misuses that position to subject an individual to unwanted sexual attention of either a verbal or physical nature when that conduct is explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of a person’s employment or academic status;
    • Demanding sexual favors accompanied by implied or overt threats or promises concerning grades, recommendations, or evaluations;
    • Inappropriate conduct against an individual that interferes with an individual’s work performance or educational experience by creating an uncomfortable environment that would not occur but for the sex of the individual.
    • 62% of female college students report having been sexually harassed at their university, with 80% reported harassment being peer to peer.
    • More than 1/3 of college students experience sexual harassment within their first year.  
    • While female students are more likely to be target of sexual jokes, comments, gestures, or looks; male students are more likely to be called gay or a homophobic name.

    (American Association of University Women, 2005)

  • 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 (U.S. Department of Justice)

    Examples of stalking

    • Repeated calls, including hang ups
    • Follow and show up wherever you are
    • Send unwanted gifts, texts, letters, emails, messages
    • Damage property
    • Monitor phone calls, computer use
    • Use GPS technology to track where you go
    • Drive by home, work, school to ensure you are there or for intimidation purposes
    • Threaten to hurt you, family, friends, pets
    • Find out information about you using public records, online searches, investigators, going through garbage, contacting friends…
    • 80% of stalking victims knew their stalker (National College Women Sexual Victimization Study, 2000).
    • 1 in 6 women and 1 in 19 men have experienced stalking victimization during their lifetime in which they felt very fearful or believed that they or someone close to them would be harmed or killed (Campus Safety Magazine, 2012).
    • 13% of college women report they have been stalked, 42% of these were stalked by a current or former boyfriend (Fisher and Cullen, 2000).
  • Dating Violence

    Dating violence is a pattern of abusive behavior in any relationship that is used by one partner to gain or maintain power and control over another intimate partner (U.S.Department of Justice, 2013).

    Are you wondering if you are in an unhealthy or abusive relationship? Check out these red flags for dating violence below. This is not an exhaustive list, and if you still have questions, come talk to Lauren Gibson at or visit the office on the 2nd floor of the Casey Academic Center in the Student Affairs office.


    • Possessiveness & jealousy: wants to control what you do, where you go, and gets jealous about things like friendships with others.
    • Calls and texts you all the time: chatting throughout the day is fine, but when it becomes incessant and he/she gets angry when you don’t respond, it could be a problem.
    • Wanting to know where you are al the time.
    • Withdrawal from family/friends/activities: if you find that you are not spending a lot of time, if at all, with your regular friends and activities because you feel guilty, this might be a sign of unhealthy behavior.
    • Yelling, name calling, insults
    • Threats of harm against you, friends, family, pets, themselves
    • If your partner easily is angered and you feel you are “walking on egg shells” a lot with him/her.
    • Blames you for the fights and conflicts and won’t take any responsibility for actions.
    • Shows up unexpectedly to places you are at to “check in” or make sure that you are there.
    • Demands that you provide passwords for social media accounts, email, or cellphone.
    • Leave unwanted gifts
    • Pressure for sex or other sexual acts
    • Sexual assault: just because you are in a relationship does not mean you owe your significant other anything.

    If you are afraid to break up with your significant other,  feel like you have to check-in all the time, and/or worrying about how to please your partner and keep them unhappy, this may indicate that you or a friend are in an unhealthy and abusive relationship(

    • Intimate partner violence is most common among women between the ages of 18-24 (Truman, J & Morgan, R, 2014)
    • 21% of college students report having experienced dating violence by a current partner, 32% by a previous partner (Sellers and Bromley, 1996).
    • 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men have experienced severe physical violence by an intimate partner at some point in their lifetime, while 50% of women and men have experienced psychological aggression by an intimate partner (NIPSVS, 2011).


Consent exists when a person freely and knowingly agrees, at the time, to participate in a particular sexual act with a particular person. There is no consent when force, threat, or coercion is used. In addition, consent cannot be given when a person is unable to make a reasonable judgment because of consumption of alcohol or other drugs, sleep deprivation, or captivity.

Consent can be given, and taken a way, at any point during a sexual encounter. One can say yes to one sexual activity, but say no to others. Current/previous dating or sexual relationship does not necessarily constitute consent in every instance. Consent may not be implicated from silence or lack of active response, and relying solely on non-verbal communication can lead to miscommunication between the partners.

For more information about consent, and find ways you can ask for consent in a respectful, clear, and fun way check out our Asking for Consent is Sexy! page.

If you are wondering what sexual assault, dating violence, and stalking mean, check out the definitions to the left. If you have any concerns or questions, contact Lauren Gibson at 410-778-7277