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The students, faculty, and staff of Princeton University have traveled from all fifty states in the nation and from nations around the world to be a part of our community. Because state laws vary greatly and SHARE-related terms can mean a lot of different things to different people, we have provided the following definitions to ensure that we can speak a common language around issues of interpersonal violence and abuse.  

Note: Situations need not rise to the level of a criminal act or violation to Rights, Rules, Responsibilities in order for a person to obtain services at SHARE.  

Interpersonal violence and abuseThe intentional use of force or power, threatened or actual, against another person, that can result in physical or psychological harm. Interpersonal violence and abuse includes sexual harassment, sexual assault, domestic/dating violence, and stalking. (Adapted from the World Health Organization's definition)

Consent: The voluntary, informed, uncoerced agreement through words and actions freely given, which a reasonable person would interpret as a willingness to participate in mutually agreed-upon sex acts. Consent cannot be given when an individual is 1) incapacitated due to alcohol and/or drugs (lacking cognitive ability to make or act on conscious decisions); 2) unconscious; 3) mentally or physically incapacitated; or 4) underage.

Sexual Harassment: When a person making unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature and/or based on one's sexual orientation or gender identity 1) threatens or rewards academics, employment or participation in any University activity or benefit based on willingness to submit to such conduct; 2) gives grades or makes personnel decisions based on willingness to submit to such conduct; 3) interferes with a person’s educational experience or living/working conditions, due to the severe and/or pervasive nature of the conduct, by creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment.

Sexual Assault: This is an umbrella term that encompasses any form of unwanted or involuntary touching or penetration of intimate body parts, by a person of any gender. This includes being forced to touch someone else. "Unwanted or involuntary" sexual contact means that:

1) consent is not given, and the contact may include the use of threats, intimidation, coercion, or physical force


2) consent cannot be given because the contact is with those who are unable to give consent due to their age, physical helplessness, mental incapacitation, or incapacitation by alcohol or other drugs

Dating/Domestic Violence or Intimate Partner Violence (IPV): The actual or threatened physical, sexual, emotional, or financial abuse of an individual by someone with whom they have a current/prior intimate relationship or shared residence. These relationships may include: partner/spouse, family member, caretaker, someone with whom a child is shared, household member or roommate. 

Stalking: Purposefully or knowingly engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to fear for their safety, the safety of a third person, or suffer other emotional distress.  “Course of conduct” is two or more acts of maintaining a visual or physical proximity to a person, either directly or indirectly by any action, method, device, or means.

*Confidential Resource:  Confidential resources are not obligated to report information that is provided to them. This allows individuals to explore their options in a non-pressured environment while they make informed decisions. There may be exceptions in cases involving child abuse, imminent risk of serious harm, emergent hospitalization, or a court order. In addition, non-identifying information about violations of the Sex Discrimination and Sexual Misconduct policy may be submitted to the Department of Public Safety for purposes of the anonymous statistical reporting under the Clery Act.

Non-Confidential Resource: A resource that is required by law to report incidents/violations and take legal, disciplinary or other action accordingly.

Princeton University

217 McCosh Health Center
Washington Road, Princeton, NJ 08544