Sexual Assault Resources

Sexual Assault includes all forcible and certain non-forcible sex offenses. Under UNA policy, forcible sex offenses are defined as any sexual act, directed against another person, without the consent of the Complainant, including instances where the Complainant is incapable of giving consent. Forcible sex offenses include: 

  • Penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the Complainant.
  • Oral or anal sexual intercourse with another person without the consent of the Complainant.
  • The use of an object or instrument to penetrate, however, slightly, the genital or anal opening of the body of another person, without the consent of the Complainant. 
  • The touching of the private body parts of another person, including the buttocks, groins, and breast, for the purpose of sexual gratification without the consent of the Complainant.

Consent is clear permission to engage in sexual activity, given knowingly and voluntarily, by words or action.

While consent may be expressed by words or by actions, it is highly recommended that consent be expressed and obtained verbally. Nonverbal consent expressed through actions may lead to confusion and potential for misunderstandings.

If consent is not clearly provided prior to engaging in the activity, consent may be ratified by word or action at some point during the interaction or thereafter, but clear communication prior to engaging in the activity is
highly recommended.

For consent to be valid, there must be a clear expression in words or actions that the other individual consented to that specific sexual conduct. Reasonable reciprocation can be implied. For example, if someone kisses you, you can kiss them back (if you want to) without the need to explicitly obtain their consent to being kissed back.

  • A lack of resistance does not grant consent.
  • Previous consent does not grant consent to future sexual acts.
  • Consent to some sexual acts cannot be presumed to be consent for other
    sexual acts.
  •  A current or previous intimate relationship is not sufficient to constitute
    consent.

Consent can also be withdrawn once given, as long as the withdrawal is reasonably and clearly communicated. If consent is withdrawn, that sexual activity should cease within a reasonable time.

It is the responsibility of the initiator of any sexual activity to obtain their potential partner’s consent; however, proof of consent or non-consent is not a burden placed on either party involved in an incident. The University must determine whether a policy has been violated based on the totality of the circumstances evaluated from the perspective of a reasonable person in the same or similar circumstances.

Consent to a sexual act is not freely given if the consent is obtained by force or coercion.

  • Force is the use of physical violence and/or physical imposition to gain sexual access. Force also includes threats, intimidation (implied threats), and coercion that is intended to overcome resistance or produce consent.
  • Sexual activity that is forced is, by definition, non-consensual, but nonconsensual sexual activity is not necessarily forced. Silence or the absence of resistance alone is not consent. Consent is not demonstrated
    by the absence of resistance. While resistance is not required or necessary, it is a clear demonstration of non-consent.
  • “Coercion” is unreasonable pressure for sexual activity. Coercive conduct differs from seductive conduct based on multiple factors, including the type or extent of pressure used. If a person makes clear that they do not want to engage in certain sexual activities or that they want to stop, continued pressure beyond that point may constitute coercion. 

Incapacitation: A person cannot consent if they are unable to understand what is happening or is disoriented, helpless, asleep, or unconscious, for any reason, including by alcohol or other drugs. Therefore, in situations when the Respondent knew or should have known that the Complainant is physically or mentally incapacitated, any “consent” obtained is invalid. “Should have known” is an objective, reasonable person standard that assumes that a reasonable person is both sober and exercising sound judgment. Incapacitation is based on the totality
of the circumstances and all relevant indicator’s of an individual’s state of mind.


Situations wherein an individual is deemed to have an inability to give consent in situations where the individual is include:

  • Incapacitated due to alcohol, drugs, or other substances including, but not limited to, prescription medications;
    • Determining consent when alcohol or other drugs are involved: In incidents involving alcohol, drugs, or other substances, the totality of the circumstances is analyzed to determine whether the use of alcohol, drugs, or other substances caused an inability make rational, reasonable decisions about sex activity. Whether a Respondent knew or reasonably should have known of the Complainant’s inability to give knowing consent is an element of the policy violation. An individual’s use of alcohol or drugs does not diminish that individual’s responsibility to obtain consent if that individual is the one who initiates sexual activity. Incapacitation differs from drunkenness or intoxication. Incapacitation is a state where an individual cannot make a rational, reasonable decision because they lack the capacity to make informed judgments about the situation.
    • Some factors considered to determine whether an individual is incapacitated due to alcohol, drugs, or other substances and therefore not able to give consent include, but are not limited to:
      • whether the individual was conscious or unconscious,
      • whether the individual became sick due to intoxication,
      • the individual’s ability to communicate and/or slurred speech,
      • the individual’s coordination (ex. ability to walk, dress/undress, perform simple tasks)
      • and any other action that would be indicative of a level of cognitive functioning.
    • The existence of any one of these factors may support a finding of incapacitation for purposes of this policy. The mere presence of alcohol, drugs, or other substances does not equate to an inability to give consent. Stated differently, it is possible for an individual to have alcohol, drugs, or other substances in their system and not be incapacitated.
  • Unconscious, asleep, or in a state of shock.
  • Under the age of consent as defined by the jurisdiction in which the act occurred, which, in Alabama, is less than 16 years of age.
  • Mentally or physically incapacitated and not reasonably able to give consent.

UNA Resources

If you or someone you know has experienced a sexual assault, the Office of Title IX may be able to help. Anyone can report a sexual assault to UNA's Title IX Coordinator. Click here to learn more about Title IX Investigations. If you aren't sure if you're ready to make a report, you can always discuss your options with one of UNA's Confidential Resources. 

Student Counseling Services 256-765-5215
University Health Services 256-765-4328
Center for Women's Studies 256-765-4380 or 256-765-6198
Mitchell-West Center for Social Inclusion 256-765-5185
University Case Manager 256-765-4531
North Alabama Crisis Center 256-716-1000 (hotline)
One Place of the Shoals 256-284-7600 or 256-767-1100 (hotline)
Safe Place (domestic violence) 256-767-6210 or 1-800-550-9215
THRIVE Alabama 256-764-0492

National Resources



 

Public Incident Report Form


In the case of an emergency, CALL 911 for immediate assistance. Public Incident Report forms are not checked after business hours.