UNC Charlotte’s Parents Matter

Parents are probably the most important people to impact students as they make decisions in college and throughout life. Your son or daughter trusts you and relies on you for a great deal of healthy information. Talking to your college student about important topics and communicating your expectations may help him/her to make healthy choices.

It’s important to talk to your children, especially about difficult issues. It’s important to set expectations for your children. Some sexual assaults can be prevented by limited alcohol use and by being clear with partners about sexual intentions. Research shows that the majority of sexual assaults that occur are between two people who know each other and where alcohol or drugs are involved. It’s important to talk to your children, especially about your expectations about alcohol and drug use and your values about sexual involvement.

What is Sexual Assault?

Sexual Assault is the commission of an unwanted sexual act, whether by an acquaintance or by a stranger, that occurs without indication of consent of both individuals, or that occurs under threat or coercion. Sexual assault can occur either forcibly and/or against a person’s will, or when a person is incapable of giving consent. In general, a person is legally incapable of giving consent if under 16 years of age; if intoxicated by drugs and/or alcohol; if developmentally disabled; or if temporarily or permanently mentally or physically unable to do so.

Under federal and state law, sexual assault includes, but is not limited to, rape, forcible fondling (e.g., unwanted touching or kissing for purposes of sexual gratification), forcible sodomy, forcible oral copulation, sexual assault with an object, sexual battery, and threat of sexual assault.

What is Consent?

Consent -Consent is based on choice. Consent is active not passive. Consent is possible only when there is equal power. Giving in because of fear is not consent. Going along with something because of fear is not consent. Going along with something because of wanting to fit in with the group, being deceived, or feeling bad is not consent. Being verbally, emotionally, psychologically, or physically pressured into any kind of sexual activity is not consent. If you cannot say “no” comfortably then saying “yes” has no meaning. If you are unwilling to accept a “no” then “yes” has no meaning.

There must always be active consent on both sides. Consent to one thing does not imply another. If limits are made clear and consent is not given, pressuring someone into changing their mind is not consent. → If you are unwilling to accept a “no”, then “yes” has no meaning.

Many misconceptions about sexual assault exist that make it more difficult for someone to:

  • assess a potentially risky situation
  • respond effectively when at risk or being assaulted
  • seek help when they or someone else has been assaulted
  • understand that they have been assaulted and are not to blame (resulting in the high number of unreported rapes)
  • confide in someone when they’ve been sexually assaulted (because they feel ashamed or are afraid of not being believed or understood)
  • understand and believe another person who confides that they’ve been sexually assaulted (since many people have misconstrued ideas of what constitutes as sexual assault)

Therefore it is important for everyone to become better informed of the dangers and realities of sexual assault.

Not “understanding” sexual assault is no excuse for rape or other unwanted sexual advances! Sexual assault is wrong in any language and in any culture and will not be tolerated by UNC Charlotte.