Definitions

Yale-NUS College recognises that sexual misconduct can occur between individuals of any gender identity and/or sexual orientation, and does not discriminate in the provision of services and support. Sexual misconduct includes but is not limited to behaviours often referred to as sexual assault, sexual harassment, stalking, sexual exploitation, sex and/or gender discrimination, and intimate partner violence.

Sexual misconduct not only creates a hostile environment that can limit a student’s ability to participate in or benefit from Yale-NUS College’s programs or activities, but it is also incompatible with the climate of respect, trust, and inquiry integral to the College community. Faculty, staff, students, and visitors are expected to contribute to an intellectual, social, and employment environment that is free of unwelcome sexual behaviours and unwanted sexual experiences. We encourage all members of the College community to report instances of sexual assault or sexual misconduct. All reports are taken seriously and will be investigated. For more information, please refer to the Sexual Misconduct Policy .

Key Definitions

Confidentiality

With regards to issues of sexual misconduct, maintaining confidentiality is taken very seriously. Though the College’s primary concern is ensuring the safety of students and employees and providing access to resources, we will strive to ensure that high standards of confidentiality are retained.

When reviewing allegations of sexual assault or misconduct, the College will take all reasonable steps to investigate and respond to a reporting party in a manner that is consistent with high standards of confidentiality. Confidentiality is not always possible or appropriate; the College has the responsibility to balance the requests for confidentiality with our institutional responsibility of ensuring a safe educational environment and workplace. However, we will always be communicative with the reporting and responding parties in the event that any information needs to be shared.

Sexual Assault

Sexual assault is the act of committing unwelcome physical contact of a sexual nature. Such an act is committed against a person’s will (through force, threat, manipulation, or coercion), without a person’s consent, and/or during a time in which the person is incapable of giving consent because of incapacitation, unconsciousness, or a drug-induced state. Reporting and responding parties can be of any sex/gender, sexual orientation and/or sexual identity.

Sexual contact

Sexual contact is any intentional touching of another person in a sexual manner, however light or momentary, whether that touching is direct or indirect. Any sexual contact with a person who is incapacitated, unconscious, or in a drug-induced state is non-consensual, and thus, an instance of sexual misconduct/assault. Sexual contact includes, but is not limited to:

  • Touching, in a sexual context or manner, another person’s breast, buttock, groin, or genitals;
  • Touching, in a sexual context or manner, another person using one’s own breast, buttock, groin, or genitals;
  • Physically causing another person to touch themselves or another with or on the breasts, buttocks, groin or genitals; or
  • Any intentional bodily contact made in a sexual manner, even though not involving contact with, of, or by the breasts, buttocks, groin, genitals, mouth or other orifice.

Sexual harassment

Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination that involves any unwelcome acts of a sexual nature. This includes but is not limited to unwelcome sexual advances, unwelcome requests for sexual favours, unwelcome sexual jokes or epithets, unwelcome sexually explicit statements, unwelcome physical contact, and any other physical or verbal conduct of a sexual nature directed at a person because of their sex and/or gender.

Stalking

Stalking is one form of sexual harassment and is defined as harassing behaviour that is unwelcome, persistent, and repeated directed toward an individual or group. Such behaviour includes but is not limited to following an individual, making frequent phone calls, sending frequent emails or messages, appearing at an individual’s residence, class, or work. Stalking can occur over a few days or for many years and can occur in person or through electronic and Internet communications, as well as by other means.

Sexual exploitation

Sexual exploitation occurs when a person takes non-consensual or abusive sexual advantage of another person for the benefit of anyone other than the person being exploited. This term includes behaviours that are not otherwise considered under sexual assault or sexual harassment, such as, but not limited to, non-consensual photographing or video/audio recording of sexual activity, non-consensual voyeurism,  or purposefully inducing incapacitation for the intention of sexual activity. *Please note, this list is not exhaustive.

Voyeurism

Voyeurism is the act of observing an individual in a state of undress or a state of sexual activity without that individual’s knowledge or consent.

Incapacitation

Incapacitation is a state in which an individual is mentally or physically impaired due to alcohol or drug consumption and cannot understand the nature or extent of the sexual situation. Therefore, an incapacitated individual cannot give consent.

Sex and/or gender discrimination

Sex and/or gender discrimination refers to the unequal or unfair treatment of an individual based on sex or gender. Yale-NUS does not tolerate any form of discrimination, including but not limited to, discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression. For more information on College policy in this regard refer to Code of Students Conduct.

Intimate partner violence

Intimate partner violence is defined as violence in which a current or former intimate partner uses or threatens physical or sexual violence. This violence can also include physical or emotional abuse.


 

Other Key Terms

Consent

Consent is an informed and voluntary decision by an individual to engage in a sexual activity that must be offered knowingly and freely by that individual. Consent is given knowingly and voluntarily, and in the context of sexual conduct, the term ‘consent’ refers to an individual giving permission or agreeing to engage in sexual activity through mutually understandable words and/or actions that clearly indicate a willingness to engage freely in sexual activity. Consent is part of a mutual and on-going process, regardless of the relationship status or sexual history of the individuals involved..

  • “No” means no, “maybe” means no and the absence of an answer also means no.
  • Body language can be ambiguous; the best way to gain consent is to simply and clearly ask if your partner wishes to engage in the sexual activity.
  • Consent to one sexual act does not imply consent to another sexual act.
  • Consent to one sexual act does not imply consent to future sexual acts.

Obtaining consent

  • It is the responsibility of the initiator of the sexual activity to obtain consent. All parties in sexual activities are encouraged to communicate openly about what they do and do not want to each other.
  • If the sexual interaction is mutually initiated, both parties are equally responsible for getting and giving consent.
  • Consent is required for each separate sexual activity (i.e. kissing, touching, penetration). Any party has the right to give consent for specific activities and not others.
  • Consent must be a free choice. A person cannot give consent if their ability to understand and give informed consent is impaired in any way.
  • The ability to give consent freely may also be jeopardized if the initiator is in a position of power over the student, such as a professor, employer, or functioning in a supervisory capacity. Strict laws prohibit employees of the College from having any sexual or romantic relationship with students.

When consent is not given

  • Consent cannot be considered given if:
    • it results from the use or threat of physical force, intimidation, or coercion, or any other factor that would eliminate an individual’s ability to exercise their own free will to choose whether or not to have sexual contact
    • the person is intoxicated or unable to understand the nature and consequence of what they are consenting to
    • the person is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, is mentally impaired, is underage, or has experienced the explicit or implied use of force, coercion, threats, and/or intimidation.
  • A current or previous dating or sexual relationship does not constitute consent.
  • Consent can always be withdrawn at any time (before or during a sexual activity), so that any further sexual activity after the withdrawal of consent constitutes sexual misconduct/assault. For example, if your partner’s initial ‘yes’ changes to a ‘no’ halfway through the activity, consent is considered withdrawn.

Alcohol and drugs

  • The use of alcohol or other drugs (prescription or not) does not minimize a student’s responsibility for perpetrating sexual assault or sexual misconduct. Being under the influence of alcohol or any other drug does not excuse one from improper behaviour. The use of alcohol or drugs does not mitigate or nullify a charge of sexual assault or sexual misconduct.

Singapore Law & Consequent Jail-Terms

In Singapore, sexual assault carries a different definition from rape. This difference in definition impacts the consequent punishment delivered.

According to the Penal Code S354, sexual assault is defined as ‘whoever assaults or uses criminal force to any person, intending to outrage or knowing it to be likely that he will thereby outrage the modesty of that person’, will be guilty of ‘assault or use of criminal force to a person with intent to outrage modesty’. This law does not specify gender, thus a person of any gender could be sexually assaulted.

Under S375 of the Penal Code of Singapore, rape is defined as ‘any man who penetrates the vagina of a woman with his penis without her consent, or with or without her consent, when she is under 14 years of age’. Furthermore, Section 157(d) of the Evidence Act allows a woman’s past “immoral” history to be used against her, officially codifying “blaming the victim”. This law is more gender specific; technically, men cannot be raped. Thus a man who is penetrated by another man would NOT be considered raped under Singapore law. However, a man who is penetrated by another man without consent is a victim of unlawful sexual penetration, which carries the same penalties as rape.

The jail term for both carries a maximum of 20 years. However, the offence of rape carries a minimum of eight years while sexual assault by penetration carries no minimum. Caning is mandatory for the offence of rape with at least 12 strokes being compulsory. This is not so for sexual assault by penetration through the offender may be liable for a fine or caning.

Have Questions?
Andrew McGeehan
Acting Associate Director

Contact with questions about residential living and sexual misconduct and survivor support.

6601-5163