Sexual Assault Prevention and Response at Reed

Key Terms and Discussion

Quick Facts

Reed College prohibits all forms of sexual assault. Sexual assault represents an egregious violation of Reed policy and the Honor Principle, and may constitute criminal conduct.  Any sexual acts without effective consent may be considered sexual assault.

The College employs the following key concepts to describe acts that constitute sexual assault.  These concepts may differ from criminal and legal definitions of sexual offenses as defined by the Oregon Revised Statutes.  Some acts not specifically codified as crimes are nevertheless considered by Reed as forms of sexual assault and are strictly prohibited by the College.

Key Terms and Discussion

Sexual Contact

Any deliberate sexual touching, however slight, of a person’s body (including but not limited to mouth, genitalia, groin, breasts, buttocks, or clothing covering those areas), or causing a person to touch his or her own sexual or intimate parts, may be considered sexual contact.

Sexual Acts/Activity

Sexual acts or activity include any deliberate behaviors or actions that result in sexual contact.

Effective Consent (summary)

Effective consent is informed; freely and actively given; by mutually understandable words or actions that indicate a willingness to engage in mutually agreed upon sexual activity.  In other words, to do the same thing, at the same time, in the same way, with each other.

For additional discussion of consent, including the concepts of  effective and ineffective consent, see Consent and Discussion.

Sexual Assault

Sexual assault is any type of sexual contact without effective consent.

Attempted Sexual Assault

Attempts to commit sexual assault (as described above) are prohibited at Reed, as is aiding in any way the commission of sexual assault.

Discussion of Reed College Standards versus Oregon Law (Oregon Revised Statutes [ORS])

Reed College’s standards for what activities constitute a sexual assault are, in some cases, higher than the minimum standards that constitute a criminal violation under the law. This higher standard of conduct, combined with a “preponderance of the evidence” standard of proof at Reed, allow the College to be more responsive and effective when responding to sexual activity that is harmful to individuals and the community.

Underage or Incapacitated persons cannot give consent

According to Oregon law (ORS 163.315), “(1) A person is considered incapable of consenting to a sexual act if the person is: (a) Under 18 years of age; (b) Mentally defective; (c) Mentally incapacitated; or (d) Physically helpless.

One who is mentally or physically incapacitated as a result of alcohol or other drug consumption (voluntarily and involuntarily), or who is unconscious, unaware, or otherwise helpless, is incapable of giving consent.”

Oregon law provides a potential defense if there is otherwise effective consent and the minor is at least sixteen (16) and the sexual activity is with someone who is no more than three (3) years older than the minor (ORS 163.345).