Equal Opportunity Services
The University of Houston
153 Student Service Center 2
Houston, TX 77204-3020
Types of Complaints : Sexual Misconduct
"Sexual misconduct" is a broad term encompassing a range of non-consensual sexual activity or unwelcome behavior of a sexual nature. The term includes sexual assault, sexual exploitation, sexual intimidation and sexual harassment. Sexual misconduct can be committed by men or women, strangers or acquaintances and can occur between people of the same or different sex.
For information and other resources related to sexual assault, please visit the Crisis Information: Sexual Assault area of our website.
Sexual assault is any form of non-consensual sexual activity. Sexual assault represents a continuum of conduct from forcible rape to non-physical forms of pressure that compel individuals to engage in sexual activity against their will.
Examples of sexual assault under this policy include, but are not limited to, the following non-consensual sexual activity:
- sexual intercourse (vaginal or anal);
- oral sex;
- rape or attempted rape;
- penetration of an orifice (anal, vaginal, oral) with the penis, finger or other object;
- unwanted touching of a sexual nature;
- use of coercion, manipulation or force to make someone else engage in sexual touching, including breast, chest and buttocks; or
- engaging in sexual activity with a person who is unable to provide consent as defined in the sexual misconduct policy
- knowingly transmitting a sexually transmitted disease to another.
Sexual exploitation occurs when a party takes non-consensual or abusive sexual advantage of another for his/her own advantage or benefit, or to benefit or advantage anyone other than the one being exploited, and that behavior does not otherwise constitute one of the other sexual misconduct offenses.
Examples can include, but are not limited to, the following behaviors:
- prostituting another;
- non-consensual electronically recording, photographing or transmitting intimate or sexual utterances, sounds or images without the knowledge and consent of all parties involved;
- voyeurism (spying on others who are in intimate or sexual situations);
- going beyond the boundaries of consent (such as letting your friends hide in the closet to watch you having consensual sex); or
- distributing intimate or sexual information about another person without that person's consent.
Sexual intimidation involves:
- threatening another with a non-consensual sex act;
- stalking or cyber-stalking; or
- engaging in indecent exposure.
Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination that includes verbal, written or physical behavior of a sexual nature, directed at someone, or against a particular group, because of that person's or group's sex, or based on gender stereotypes, when that behavior is unwelcome, severe and pervasive, and where it meets either of the following criteria:
- submission or consent to the behavior is believed to carry consequences for the individual's education, employment, on-campus living environment or participation in a System or university-affiliated activity. Examples of this type of sexual harassment include:
- pressuring another to engage in sexual behavior for some educational or employment benefit; or
- making a real or perceived threat that rejecting sexual behavior will carry a negative consequence for another.
- the behavior has the purpose or effect of substantially interfering with another's work or educational performance by creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive environment for employment, education, on-campus living or participation in a System or university-affiliated activity. Examples of this type of sexual harassment can include:
- persistent unwelcomed efforts to develop a romantic or sexual relationship;
- unwelcome commentary about an individual's body or sexual activities;
- unwanted sexual attention;
- repeatedly engaging in sexually oriented conversations, comments or horseplay, including the use of language or the telling of jokes or anecdotes of a sexual nature in the workplace, office or classroom, even if such conduct is not objected to by those present; or
- gratuitous use of sexually oriented materials not directly related to the subject matter of a class, course or meeting even if not objected to by those present.