Interpersonal Violence Behaviors

First and foremost, it is important to know that in order for an individual to seek services at SAAVI, you do not need to define your experience. We recognize that immediately following an incident, and sometimes even years after an incident, it can be difficult to clearly define what happened to you. That is okay. That is why we are here. To help you define your story and navigate your journey.

Do not let the inability to clearly understand or define what happened to you stop you from seeking our services and getting the help you deserve.

The behaviors listed below are not reflective of university policy. More information about how USU addresses sexual misconduct can be found in interim USU Policies 339 and 339A, as well as Policy 533.


Bullying is unwanted, aggressive behavior that involves a real or perceived power imabalance. The behaior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time. 


Hazing is any activity expected of someone joining or participating in a group that humilitates, degrades, abuses, or endangers them, regardless of the person's willingness to participate. 

Sexual Harassment

Sexual Harassment includes Hostile Environment and Quid Pro Quo.

Hostile Environment is unwelcome sex-based conduct determined by a reasonable person to be so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that it effectively denies a person equal access to an Employment or Education Program or Activity.

Quid Pro Quo is an Employee's conditioning of the provision of a University aid, benefit, or service on a person's participation in unwelcome sexual conduct.

Sexual Harassment Examples

  • Verbal
    • Whistling
    • Sexual comments or jokes
    • Asking personal questions about someone's sex life
    • Repeatedly asking someone out when the answer is "No"
    • Referring to someone as hunk, doll, babe, honey, etc.
    • Direct/indirect threats
    • Sending crude language via phone, email, social media, etc.
    • Flirting behaviors with minors
    • Unwelcome comments about a person's clothing or body
    • Coercion for a date or a romantic or intimate relationship
    • Subtle pressure for sexual activity
  • Non-Verbal
    • Paying unwanted attention to someone
    • Displaying sexually suggestive visuals
    • Making facial expressions - winking, licking lips, throwing kisses, etc.
    • Sexual gestures with hands or body movements
    • Looking at a person up and down (elevator eyes)
    • Sending explicit images via phone, email, social media, etc.
    • Giving letters, personal gifts, and other grand gestures that are unwanted
  • Physical
    • Hanging around, standing too close, or brushing up against an individual without consent
    • Unwelcome touching or patting of a person's clothing or hair, or massaging.
    • Hugging, kissing, patting, or stroking without consent
    • Touching or rubbing oneself sexually in view of others
    • Sexual assault
    • Physical contact with minors

Sexual Assault

Sexual Assault includes any sexual act or attempted sexual act, including Rape, Sodomy, Sexual Assault with An Object, or Fondling, directed against another person without their Consent. This includes instances where the person is incapable of giving Consent because of their age or because of a temporary or permanent mental or physical incapacity. Sexual Assault also includes unlawful sexual acts, such as Incest and Statutory Rape.

  • Rape is sexual intercourse with another person without their Consent.
  • Sodomy is oral or anal sexual intercourse with another person without their Consent.
  • Sexual Assault with An Object is the use of an object or instrument to unlawfully penetrate, however slightly, the genital or anal opening of the body of another person without their Consent.
    • Objects or instruments may include fingers, sex toys, or other non-sexual related objects
  • Fondling is the touching of the private body parts of another person for the purpose of sexual gratification without their Consent.
    • Private body parts may include anus, buttocks, clitoris, penis, upper body, vulva, or other area deemed 'private' by an individual
  • Incest is sexual intercourse between persons who are related to each other within the degrees wherein marriage is prohibited by law (e.g., a sibling or parent/child relationship).
  • Statutory Rape is sexual intercourse with a person who is under a state's statutory age of Consent.

Relationship Violence

Dating Violence includes violence committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the Claimant. The existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on a consideration of the following factors: (a) the length of the relationship, (b) the type of relationship, and (c) the frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship.

Domestic Violence includes felony or misdemeanor crimes of violence committed against the Claimant by a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the Claimant, by a person with whom the Claimant shares a child in common, by a person who is cohabitating with or has cohabitated with the Claimant as a spouse or intimate partner, by a person similarly situated to a spouse of the Claimant under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction in which the crime of violence occurred, or by any other person against an adult or youth Claimant who is protected from that person’s acts under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction. A criminal charge or conviction is not a predicate for an allegation of Domestic Violence to be brought under this policy.

Signs of Relationship Violence

  • Physical: Hitting, kicking, scratching, biting, spitting, or vandalism of property.
  • Sexual or Reproductive: Sexually assaulting, refusing to use birth control or protective contraception, always keeping their partner or themselves pregnant, stealthing, human and sex trafficking.
  • Coercion and Threats: making and/or carrying out threats to hurt someone by threatening to leave, commit suicide, report to welfare, force charges to be dropped, or force illegal behavior.
  • Intimidation: making someone afraid by using looks, actions, and gestures like smashing things, destroying property, abusing pets, or displaying weapons.
  • Emotional: putting someone down, making someone feel bad about themselves, name calling, playing mind games, and humiliation.
  • Isolation: controlling what someone does, who they talk to, what they read, where they go, limiting outside involvement, deliberately misunderstanding; all in an effort to isolate their partner from others.
  • Transphobia, Homo/Biphobia, Heterosexism: perpetuating and utilizing invisibility of LGBTQIA+ relationships to define relationship norms, using the awareness of fear and hatred to control partners expression of gender identity and sexual orientation. 
  • Blaming, Minimizing, Denying: making light of abuse and not taking concerns seriously by saying the abuse didn't happen, shifting responsibility, laying blame; 'gaslighting'.
  • Using Children, Friends, or Loved Ones: making a person feel guilty about children, friends, or loved ones, using children to relay messages, using visitation for harassment, or threatening to take the children away.
  • Societal Privilege: treating partner as inferior; race, education, wealth, politics, class, physical ability, gender, etc.; using community influence
  • Using Dominance: treating someone like a servant, making all the decisions, or being the one to define all roles.
  • Economic Abuse: stealing money, controlling finances, withholding support of children, preventing someone from working, making someone ask for money, giving an allowance, or denying access to family income or assets.
  • Academic Abuse: preventing someone from pursuing a degree, or denying them time to work on their studies.
  • Technological: requiring access to social media accounts, requesting to see your text/call history, consistently tracking your location, blackmail for explicit images or videos, using SmartHome technology to manipulate an individuals environment.
  • Social: Gossiping, "out-ing" their partner to friends or family members, or turning their friends against them.

The Cycle of Violence

Relationship violence often happens in a cycle. The relationship starts out in a "honeymoon phase". In this phase, everything is going really well. There is mutual demonstration of love and respect. However, as the relationship continues, the couple enters the "tension-building phase", which then leads to an "explosive incident". In both of these phases, tension between individuals builds until the abusive partner has an explosive incident, demonstrating one or more forms of violence. Then the honeymoon phase begins again. Oftentimes, explosive incidents happen far and few between, making it difficult to recognize the relationship is abusive. 


Sex-based Stalking is engaging in a  course of conduct directed at a specific person or persons based on sex, that would cause a reasonable person to fear for their safety or for the safety of others or to suffer substantial emotional distress. Stalking may include by telephone, mail, electronic communication, social media, or any other action, device, or method.

A course of conduct is two or more acts, including, but not limited to, acts in which the stalker directly, indirectly, or through a third party, follows, monitors, observes, surveils, threatens, intimidates, harasses, or communicates to or about a person, or interferes with a person's property by telephone, mail, electronic communication, social media, or any other action, method, device, or means.

Stalking often occurs following the termination of a relationship, but not always. Know the signs of stalking so you can help a friend or know when you need help. 

Stalking Behaviors May Include

  • Consistent confessions that they are in love with, or attracted to, you even after you have told them you are not interested
  • Repeated calls, texts, emails, or posts about you on social media frequently or at odd times
  • Showing up at your place of work or school uninvited or waits for you outside your home
  • Sending unwanted gifts, trying to buy things for you, or offers you money
  • Attempting to gain information about you through acquaintances, friends, roommates, family, or co-workers
  • Requesting your location and continuously checking where you are
  • Nonconsensual tracking and personal trackers
  • Making false accounts on various social media platforms to contact you despite your stated disinterest
  • Following or spying
  • Showing up somewhere without a legitimate reason to be there
  • Posting information or spreading rumors online or by word of mouth
  • Monitoring phone calls, emails, social media,etc.
  • Contacting friends, family, work, etc. for information
  • Revenge porn with images or videos
  • Giving letters, personal gifts, and other grand gestures that are unwanted

What to Do If You are Being Stalked

  • If you are in immediate danger, call 911.
  • Trust your instincts.
  • Take threats seriously.
  • Get connected to resources including SAAVI and/or police.
  • Change your routine.
  • Arrange a place to stay in case of emergency.
  • Identify a friend or family member who can go places with you.
  • Keep an evidence log including date, time, and location of encounters or messages.
  • Consider filing a Stalking Injunction.
  • Tell family, friends, roommates, and co-workers about the stalking and seek their support.

Sexual Exploitation

Sexual Exploitation is taking non-consensual sexual advantage of another for one’s own advantage or benefit, or to the benefit or advantage anyone other than the Claimant. Examples include, but are not limited to: 

  • Observing, recording, or photographing nudity or sexual activity of one or more persons without their Consent in a location where there is a reasonable expectation of privacy;
  • Allowing another to observe, record, or photograph nudity or sexual activity of one or more persons without their Consent where there is a reasonable expectation of privacy; or
  • Distributing recordings, photographs, or other images of the nudity or sexual activity of one or more persons without their Consent. 

If you think you or someone you know may be experiencing any form of violence, a SAAVI advocate can help you navigate your options and provide you support!