Sexual Violence & Gender-Based Harm

For detailed information regarding sexual assault please visit the USC Sexual Assault Resource Center web pages. The SARC website covers first steps to take if you are assaulted, definitions of consent, your reporting options, your rights and other helpful information.


According to USC policy, sexual assault is defined as any actual or attempted non-consensual physical sexual act including, but not limited to, intercourse, penetration using a body part or object, fondling, groping or sexual contact. Sexual assault includes but is not limited to non-consensual sexual intercourse. Sexual assault occurs where:

    • There is no affirmative, conscious, and voluntary consent, or consent is not freely given;
    • Physical force, threats, coercion or intimidation is used to overpower or control another, or the person assaulted fears that he or she, or another person, will be injured or otherwise harmed if he or she does not submit; or
    • There is no ability to give or withhold consent due to incapacitation, whether due to the influence of alcohol or other drugs, age or mental incapacity, or unconsciousness.

General Terminology:

    • Sexual and gender-based harm includes violence that disproportionately affects a person or group based on gender, and may be linked to gendered expectations and/or power dynamics.
    • Power-based violence occurs when a person uses the assertion of power, control, intimidation, and/or coercion to harm another person.

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