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Sexual Misconduct

Here at UT, according to the university’s Policy on Sexual Harassment, Sexual Assault, Dating and Domestic Violence, and Stalking, “Sexual Harassment” includes Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence, Dating Violence, and Stalking.


Countless movies romanticize stalking, it’s practically the plot of most rom-coms from the 90’s: someone likes someone else, they follow them around obsessively, despite initial rejections, until finally the other persons “falls in love” with their persistence. But stalking isn’t romantic. In fact, it’s a violation of UTK Policy and against the law in all 50 states.

Stalking can look like a lot of different things. But the important part is to pay attention to the way the behavior makes you feel. Feeling afraid, vulnerable, unsafe, anxious, or like you need to change your location, routine or housing can be signs that you are experiencing stalking.

Some examples:

  • Showing up uninvited to your place of work, school, home
  • Knowing your schedule
  • Repeated unwanted in person or online contact
  • Spreading rumors about you
  • Damaging your property
  • Using other people to find out more about you (e.g., via a mutual friend’s social media account)
  • Tracking your movements
  • “Stalking” means engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to—
    (A)fear for his or her safety or the safety of others; or
    (B)suffer substantial emotional distress.
    “Course of conduct” means two or more acts, including, but not limited to, acts in which a person directly, indirectly, or through third parties, by any action, method, device, or means, follows, monitors, observes, surveils, threatens, or communicates with or about another person, or interferes with another person’s property. “Substantial emotional distress” means significant mental suffering or anguish that may, but does not necessarily, require medical or other professional treatment or counseling.

Sexual Assault

“Sexual Assault” is an umbrella term for any sexual act directed against another person, without consent of the victim, including instances where the victim is incapable of giving consent. Sexual Assault includes Rape, Fondling, Incest, and Statutory Rape. from:

In short, sexual assault is when someone experiences sexual touch or penetration without consent.

If you have experienced sexual assault, you can visit the Office of Title IX’s website to learn more about resources, supports, and options. You are not alone. 

Intimate Partner Violence

Intimate partner violence includes Domestic Violence and Dating Violence.

  • “Dating Violence” means violence committed by a person—
    • Who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim; and
    • Where the existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on a consideration of the following factors:
      • The length of the relationship.
      • The type of relationship.
      • The frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship.
  • “Domestic Violence” includes felony or misdemeanor crimes of violence committed by a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the victim, by a person with whom the victim shares a child in common, by a person who is cohabitating with or has cohabitated with the victim as a spouse or intimate partner, by a person similarly situated to a spouse of the victim under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction in which the crime occurs, or by any other person against an adult or youth victim who is protected from that person’s acts under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction in which the crime occurs.

Recognizing the signs of abuse in intimate relationships can be challenging and painful. Often people assume if there is no physical violence, it cannot be considered abusive. But emotional and verbal abuse can take a significant toll on your well-being. Know the signs of healthy relationships as well as red flags of unhealthy relationships. Check out our page on healthy relationships for more info.

Sexual Exploitation

According to UTK Policy, “Sexual Exploitation” means taking sexual advantage of another person, without that person’s active agreement. An active agreement is words and/or conduct that communicate a person’s willingness to participate in an act.

You may be familiar with media portrayals and news stories about sex trafficking but there are other forms Sexual Exploitation. Some examples per UTK policy include:

  • Showing, posting, or sharing video, audio, or an image that depicts a person who is engaging in sexual act(s), or a person’s breasts, buttocks, groin, or genitals, when the person being observed/photographed/audiotaped/videotaped/recorded is in a place in which the person has a reasonable expectation of privacy, if all persons who are depicted have not agreed to having the video/audio/image shown, posted, or shared;
  • Knowingly exposing another person to a sexually transmitted infection or disease without informing the other person that one has a sexually transmitted infection or disease;
  • Forcing a person to participate in sexual act(s)with a person other than oneself;
  • Forcing a person to expose the person’s breasts, buttocks, groin, or genitals;

Get Help

If you or someone you know has experienced sexual harassment, you are not alone. There are resources on campus and in the community that can support you.

Sexual Assault Center of East Tennessee (local 24/7 hotline)

RAINN (national sexual assault hotline)

Victim Connect  (confidential referrals for victims of crimes)

1in6 (resource for men)

Family Justice Center (local 24/7 helpline)

love is respect (intimate partner violence hotline)

Anti-Violence Project (LGBTQ+ resource)