Interpersonal violence refers to threats or acts of physical, sexual, psychological, verbal, financial, digital, and legal violence and abuse. These acts can be committed by any person with the purpose of exerting control and/or causing significant harm. Interpersonal violence is almost always driven by power and control.
Interpersonal violence is prevalent in every community and affects all people regardless of age, socio-economic status, sexual orientation, gender, race, religion, or nationality. Rates of victimization are higher for women (especially women of color), members of the LGBTQ+ community, and individuals between the ages of 18-34.
Listed and defined below are several types of interpersonal violence. These definitions are taken from Texas A&M University’s Student Rules and are consistent with Federal Title IX guidelines for colleges and universities. View these Student Rules.
DATING VIOLENCE (Student Rule 188.8.131.52)
Physical abuse or sexual misconduct committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE (Student Rule 184.108.40.206)
Physical abuse or sexual misconduct committed by a former or current spouse; person with whom the victim shares a child in common; a cohabitant or household member
SEXUAL ABUSE (Student Rule 220.127.116.11)
Oral, anal, or vaginal penetration by any means that occurs without the victim’s consent
SEXUAL CONTACT (Student Rule 18.104.22.168)
Attempting or making sexual contact, including but not limited to touching and fondling, without the victim’s consent
SEXUAL EXPLOITATION (Student Rule 22.214.171.124)
Taking non-consensual or abusive sexual advantage of another for one’s own benefit
SEXUAL HARASSMENT (Student Rule 126.96.36.199)
Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for favors, and other verbal, nonverbal, or physical conduct of a sexual nature that negatively affects employment, education, or campus participation
STALKING (Student Rule 188.8.131.52)
Engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific individual that would cause a reasonable person to fear for their safety or the safety of others (family, friends, pets) and/or experience emotional distress
Texas A&M University's definition of consent (Student Rule 24.1.6):
The term "consent," solely for the purposes of the Sexual Misconduct policy (see rule 24.4.20), means clear, voluntary, and positive verbal or non-verbal communication that all participants have agreed to the sexual activity.
- Consent must occur prior to or at the same time as the sexual activity.
- Consent must remain clear, voluntary, and positive throughout the sexual activity.
- Consent must be given for the current sexual contact. The existence of a prior relationship or prior sexual activity does not automatically ensure consent for current or future sexual contact. There must be consent for each specific type of sexual contact throughout the sexual activity. Consent must be given by each participant involved.
- A person must be 17 years of age or older to be able to consent to sexual activity if the other participant(s) involved are more than three (3) years of age older than that person.
- A person who is clearly or visibly incapacitated is not able to give consent to sexual activity.
Consent can often seem overwhelming and overly legal in terminology; it can also be perceived as too awkward to talk about. The reality is, consent is a big deal, but it's completely manageable for integrating into your everyday conversations. Consent is all about communication. Talk with your partners about what you're comfortable with, and listen to your partners.
Recognize: "It takes strength and courage to share this information."
Respond: "What can I do to support you?"
Refer: "Texas A&M offers resources on- and off-campus that can help you."
- Offer to listen and provide emotional support. Don't judge.
- Don't give them an ultimatum. They need to decide if they want help from formal resources.
- Certified advocates can help devise safety plans.
- They know their own situation better than anyone. Your experience is not their experience.
LEARN MORE ABOUT THE ISSUE
Health Promotion offers several presentations covering interpersonal violence prevention, including In Their Shoes, Love the Way You Lie, Consent 101, Man/Lady Box, and Interpersonal Violence Prevention Overview.
Any complaint of sexual discrimination, sexual harassment, or sexual violence can be reported to the Title IX Coordinator, Jennifer Smith (979.845.0977). Visit Step In Stand Up for more details on how to report.
Health Promotion recognizes that many people choose not to disclose their abuse for many reasons. Barriers to reporting can include fear of retaliation, feeling at fault or ashamed, inability to access resources, and fear of not being believed. We believe you, and we support you.
If you are in immediate danger, CALL 911. If you are able to leave the premises safely, do so immediately. You can always go to the nearest police station. These confidential hotlines can help connect you to local advocates:
- National Domestic Violence Hotline: 800.572.7233
- National Sexual Assault Hotline: 800.656.4673
The following local resources are either non-confidential (required by Title IX to report to the university) or confidential (not required to report, provided there is no imminent threat of harm to self or others).