Defining sexual violence

While Mercyhurst University treats all types of sexual violence the same, the Pennsylvania Criminal Code defines them differently. In a Pennsylvania Court, a perpetrator will be prosecuted differently depending on the offense.

Committed when a person engages in sexual intercourse with a complainant:
By forcible compulsion,
By threat of forcible compulsion that would prevent resistance by a person of reasonable resolution,
Who is unconscious or where the person knows that complainant is unaware that the sexual intercourse is occurring,
Where the person has substantially impaired the complainant’s power to appraise or control his or her conduct by administering or employing, without the knowledge of the complainant, drugs, intoxicants or other means for the purpose of preventing resistance,
Who suffers from a mental disability which renders the complainant incapable of consent.

Sexual assault
Committed when a person engages in sexual intercourse or deviate sexual intercourse with a complainant without the complainant’s consent.

The Pennsylvania Criminal Code does not define sexual battery or sexual coercion; however by other state governments they are defined as follows:

Sexual battery
Intentional touching of the anus or genitals of the victim by the offender using any instrumentality or any part of the body of the offender, or the touching of the anus or genitals of the offender by the victim using any instrumentality or any part of the body of the victim, when any of the following occur:

The offender acts without the consent of the victim.
The act is consensual but the other person, who is not the spouse of the offender, has not yet attained fifteen years of age and is at least three years younger than the offender.
The offender is seventeen years of age or older and the following exist: The act is without consent of the victim, and the victim is prevented from resisting the act because either of the following conditions exist:
The victim has paraplegia, quadriplegia, or is otherwise physically incapable of preventing the act due to a physical disability.
Or the victim is incapable, through unsoundness of mind, of understanding the nature of the act, and the offender knew or should have known of the victim’s incapacity.

Sexual coercion
Act of using pressure, alcohol, drugs or force to have sexual contact with someone against his or her will. It’s persistent attempts to have sexual contact with someone who has already refused. Coercion includes:
Verbal pressure: Begging, flattery, name calling, arguing, lying or misleading
Social pressure: Peer pressure or threat of social isolation
Emotional pressure: Taking advantage of trust or intimacy in a relationship, threatening the loss of the relationship, making one feel guilty