Sexual Misconduct

Sexual misconduct is a broad term encompassing any non-consensual behavior of a sexual nature that is committed by force, coercion or intimidation, or that is otherwise unwelcome. Sexual misconduct can occur between members of the same or different sex, strangers or acquaintances, including persons involved in an intimate or sexual relationship.

 Behaviors Encompassed within Sexual Misconduct 

  • rape
  • sexual assault (which includes any kind of non-consensual sexual contact),
  • sexual harassment
  • intimate partner violence
  • stalking, and
  • any other conduct of a sexual nature that is non-consensual, or has the purpose or effect of:
  • threatening
  • intimidating, or
  • coercing a person or persons 


The following are types of sexual misconduct behaviors prohibited by The University of Southern Mississippi, and commonly used by the Title IX Office. For more information and examples of each, refer to the University's Sexual Misconduct, Sexual Assault, and Sexual Harassment Policy


 Non-Consensual Sexual Intercourse (Or Attempts to Commit Same) 

Non-consensual sexual intercourse (or attempts to commit same) is any sexual penetration (oral, vaginal, or anal), however slight, with any object or body part, by any person upon another person without consent and/or by force. 


 Non-Consensual Sexual Contact (Or Attempts To Commit Same) 

Non-consensual sexual contact (or attempts to commit same) is any intentional sexual touching, however slight, with any object or body part, by any person upon another person, without consent and/or by force. 


 Sexual Exploitation 

Sexual exploitation occurs when an individual takes non-consensual or abusive sexual advantage of another person for the purpose of personal benefit or advantage or to benefit anyone other than the person being exploited. Examples of sexual exploitation include, sexual exhibitionism (exposing one's genitals in non-consensual circumstances or inducing another person to expose their genitals), voyeurism (secretly observing a person's sexual activity or nakedness), and recording or sharing photographs, video, or other visual or auditory records of sexual activity without explicit consent, even if the activity documented was consensual.. 



A course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to fear for their safety, or the safety of others, or to suffer substantial emotional distress.


 Intimate Partner Violence 

Intimate partner violence (often referred to as dating/relationship violence) is actual or threatened physical violence, intimidation, or other forms of sexual or physical abuse that would cause a reasonable person to fear harm to self or others, by a person who is, or has been, in a romantic or intimate relationship with the victim. 


 Sexual Harassment 

Sexual harassment is unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature. This includes, but is not limited to, behavior that is sufficiently severe, persistent or pervasive that it unreasonably interferes with, denies or limits an individual’s ability to participate in or benefit from the University’s work environment, educational programs and/or activities, and is based on:

Incidents of sexual harassment can occur in a variety of contexts and some behaviors represent evidence of sexual harassment. For example, incidents of sexual harassment may be aimed at coercing an individual to participate in an unwanted sexual relationship or may cause an individual to change behavior or work performance. Behaviors that may be considered as evidence of sexual harassment include, an attempt to coerce an unwilling person into a sexual relationship, unwelcome sexual attention, or punishing a refusal to comply with a sexual based request. For more examples of behaviors, refer to the University's Sexual Misconduct, Sexual Assault, and Sexual Harassment Policy 


The following represent some examples of Sexual Harassment: 

  • A professor insists that a student have sex with them in exchange for a good grade.
  • A student repeatedly sends sexually oriented jokes around on an email list the student created, even when asked to stop, causing one recipient to avoid the sender on campus and in the residence hall in which they both live.
  • Explicit sexual pictures are displayed in a professor’s office, on the exterior of a residence hall door or on a computer monitor in a public space.
  • Two supervisors frequently “rate” several employees’ bodies and sex appeal, commenting suggestively about their clothing and appearance.
  • A professor engages students in discussions in class about their past sexual experiences, yet the conversation is not in any way germane to the subject matter of the class. The professor probes for explicit details, and demands that students answer her, though they are clearly uncomfortable and hesitant.
  • An ex-girlfriend widely spreads false stories about her sex life with her former boyfriend to the clear discomfort of the boyfriend, turning him into a social pariah on campus.
  • Male students take to calling a particular brunette student “Monica” because of her resemblance to Monica Lewinski. Soon, everyone adopts this nickname for her, and she is the target of relentless remarks about cigars, the president, “sexual relations”, and Weight Watchers.
  • A student grabs another student by the hair, then grabs her breast and puts his mouth on it.

[1] Quid pro quo sexual harassment exists when there are: a) unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature; and b) submission to or rejection of such conduct results in adverse educational or employment action.

[2] Hostile environment sexual harassment includes any situation in which there is harassing conduct that is sufficiently severe or pervasive and objectively offensive that it alters the conditions of employment or limits, interferes with or denies educational benefits or opportunities, from both a subjective (the alleged victim’s) and an objective (reasonable person’s) viewpoint.

[3] Retaliatory harassment is any adverse employment or educational action taken against a person because of the person’s participation in a complaint or investigation of discrimination or sexual misconduct.