| Life at WSU | Title IX | Definitions
Domestic violence is defined as a pattern of coercive and controlling behaviors and tactics used by one person over another to gain power and control. This may include verbal abuse, financial abuse, emotional, sexual, and physical abuse. Domestic violence occurs in heterosexual as well as same-sex partnerships and crosses all ethnic, racial, and socio-economic lines. In Massachusetts, “domestic violence” refers to abuse committed by a member of a family, a household, or an intimate partner against another member of the family, household, or against the intimate partner. “Abuse” is defined as the occurrence of one or more of the following acts:
“Family or household members” are persons who:
Campus SaVE ActWhile the Campus SaVE Act differentiates between domestic violence and dating violence for reporting purposes, there is no specific statutory definition or crime of “dating violence” in Massachusetts other than what might exist within Massachusetts domestic violence law. Throughout the Title IX website, we use the term “relationship violence” to encourage the broad conceptual understanding of domestic violence, including dating violence.
Retaliation is adverse employment or educational action against a person who:
Retaliation, even in the absence of provable discrimination in the original complaint or charge, constitutes as serious a violation of WSU policy as proved discrimination under the original claim, complaint, or charge.
Sexual assault and rape are crimes of violence and control, using sex acts as a weapon. Rape and sexual assault are not sexually motivated acts; rather, they stem from aggression, rage, sexism, and the determination to exercise power over someone else.
Rape is a legal term that is defined in Massachusetts by 3 elements: penetration of any orifice by any object; force or threat of force; and against the will of the victim. Sexual assault is often more broadly defined as any sexual activity that is forced or coerced or unwanted. Sexual assault is charged as indecent assault and battery in Massachusetts. It is defined as a crime that occurs when the offender, without the victim's consent, intentionally has physical contact of a sexual nature with the victim. (Massachusetts General Law c. 265, § 13H)