April 8, 2014

Author: NDSP

It was reported that a sexual assault was committed by an acquaintance in a north quad men’s residence hall in the early morning hours of April 5, 2014. The report was made to a university administrator.

Sexual assault can happen to anyone. Anyone initiating any kind of sexual contact with another person must seek consent and not engage in sexual contact unless consent is given. According to du Lac, “Consent means informed, freely given agreement, communicated by clearly understandable words or actions, to participate in each form of sexual activity. Consent cannot be inferred from silence, passivity, or lack of active resistance.” Importantly, intoxication is not an excuse for failure to obtain consent, and a person who is incapacitated—whether by alcohol, drugs, or otherwise—is incapable of giving consent. For more information on consent and incapacitation, see http://studenthandbook.nd.edu/community-standards/standards/smsa/.

As the University’s sexual assault policy makes clear: “Sexual misconduct of any kind is inconsistent with the University’s values and incompatible with the safe, healthy environment that the Notre Dame community expects. All members of this community share responsibility for creating and maintaining an environment which promotes the safety and dignity of each individual.” On college campuses, perpetrators are more likely to assault an acquaintance than a stranger. Being aware of your own safety and watching out for your friends are important steps you can take to reduce the risk of sexual assault.

The perpetrator, not the survivor, is responsible for any instance of sexual assault. Nothing a survivor does or does not do is an excuse for sexual assault.