Defining Your Experience

Defining their experience can be a difficult part of victimized students’ healing. Defining, or naming, what happened makes it real if it did not seem real to them before. It can also be empowering to know more about their experience, what to expect and what laws and university policies may apply to the crime committed against them.

Below students will find information on some common types of victimization. Some students may not know exactly what happened to them, so there is comprehensive information and definitions to help them identify the undesirable behaviors they may have experienced. Students who feel they have been victimized can contact us to help identify the appropriate services for them. Victimized students may need assistance if they have experienced any of the crimes below. Other crimes that may apply are armed robbery, physical assault or battery and harassment.

"I didn't want it to happen."
Students will often hear and see the term sexual misconduct, which is the broad term encompassing sexual exploitation, sexual harassment, non-consensual contact, non-consensual sexual intercourse, dating and domestic violence and stalking. While the university identifies these violations using certain terms, some may identify their experience as rape, sexual assault or sexual abuse. The focus here is on sexual assault to include non-consensual sexual contact and non-consensual sexual intercourse, which can be generally described as an unwanted experience of a sexual nature, ranging from unwanted touching to unwanted penetration.


What does the Student Code of Conduct say about sexual assault?
The Student Code of Conduct contains the Sexual Misconduct Policy, which offers complete definitions for non-consensual sexual contact and non-consensual sexual intercourse. This policy also contains information about reporting, the review process and potential sanctions as well as support services and resources.


What does Georgia law say about sexual assault?
While Georgia law defines and names these behaviors differently from the university, sexual assault is against the law according to Georgia Code. When referencing searching for sexual offenses, use the search term 16-6. Students will find information about laws and potential punishments and sentencing parameters.


Sexual exploitation can be different from sexual assault but may be just as traumatic. The university defines sexual exploitation as taking sexual advantage of another person without effective consent. Some examples may include:

  • Causing or attempting to cause incapacitation in order to gain sexual advantage over another person
  • Voyeurism (peeping tom)
  • Exposing oneself in an unwelcome manner
  • Recording or photographing another's intimate parts or a private sexual act
  • Reproducing a recorded consensual act and distributing without effective consent (online postings)

What does the Student Code of Conduct say about sexual exploitation?
Victimized students may not immediately identify an experience of sexual exploitation as a crime, even though they may have felt uncomfortable, betrayed or violated. Sexual exploitation is a violation of the Student Code of Conduct.

The Student Code of Conduct contains the Sexual Misconduct Policy, which offers a complete definition for sexual exploitation with additional examples. This policy also contains information about reporting, the review process and potential sanctions as well as support services and resources.


What does Georgia law say about sexual exploitation?
While Georgia law defines and names these behaviors differently from the university, some types of sexual exploitation are against the law according to Georgia Code. When referencing sexual exploitation, use the search term 16-6. Students will find information about laws and potential punishments and sentencing parameters.

"My partner gets violent when we argue."
It is not always easy to tell at the beginning of a relationship if it will become abusive. In fact, many abusive partners may seem absolutely perfect in the early stages of a relationship. Possessive and controlling behaviors do not always appear overnight, but rather emerge and intensify as the relationship grows.

Domestic violence does not look the same in every relationship, because every relationship is different. But one thing most abusive relationships have in common is that the abusive partner displays a pattern of behaviors to gain power and control over their partners. Some of those behaviors may include, but are not limited to:

  • Showing jealousy of friends and time spent away
  • Keeping or discouraging someone from seeing friends or family members
  • Embarrassing or shaming someone with put downs
  • Controlling every penny spent in the household
  • Taking someone’s money or refusing to give them money for expenses
  • Looking at someone or acting in ways that scare them
  • Controlling who someone sees, where they go or what they do
  • Preventing someone from making their own decisions
  • Telling someone that they are a bad parent or threatening to harm or take away their children
  • Preventing someone from working or attending school
  • Destroying their property or threatening to hurt or kill their pets
  • Intimidating someone with guns, knives or other weapons
  • Pressuring someone to engage in sexual activity when they do not want to or are not comfortable.

Information provided by National Domestic Violence Hotline

Students who are beginning to feel as if their partner or a loved one’s partner is becoming abusive should watch out for these red flags. Students who are experiencing one or more of them in their relationship can contact Student Victim Assistance to discuss the relationship.

Students who are still unsure about their relationship can take the Healthy Relationship Quiz. Answer yes or no to the questions and follow the scoring instructions. Students who have questions about their scores or specific elements of their relationship can contact Student Victim Assistance.


What does the Student Code of Conduct say about dating and domestic violence?
The Student Code of Conduct contains the Sexual Misconduct Policy, which offers a complete definition for dating and domestic violence. This policy also contains information about reporting, the review process and potential sanctions as well as support services and resources.


What does Georgia law say about domestic violence?
While Georgia law defines and names these behaviors differently from the university, some types of domestic violence are against the law according to Georgia Code. Georgia refers to domestic violence as family violence. When referencing family violence, use the search term 19-13. Students will find information about laws and potential punishments and sentencing parameters.

"I am uncomfortable with how much my ex contacts me and shows up unannounced."
According to the Stalking Resource Center, stalking constitutes a series of actions that make someone feel afraid or in danger. Stalking is serious, often violent, and can escalate over time. A stalker can be someone the student knows well or not at all. It may be a former or current intimate partner. Both men and women can be victimized by stalking. Below students will find behaviors that may constitute stalking:

  • Repeatedly calling, including hang ups
  • Following and showing up where someone is
  • Sending unwanted gifts, letters, texts or emails
  • Damaging someone's home, car or other property
  • Monitoring someone's phone calls or computer use
  • Tracking someone's whereabouts using technology, such as hidden cameras or GPS systems
  • Driving by or hanging out at someone's home, school or workplace
  • Threatening to harm someone, their family, friends or pets
  • Other actions that control, track or frighten someone

What does the Student Code of Conduct say about stalking?
Stalking is prohibited at Georgia State University. The Student Code of Conduct contains the Sexual Misconduct Policy, which offers a complete definition for stalking. This policy also contains information about reporting, the review process and potential sanctions as well as support services and resources.


What does Georgia law say about stalking?
It is important to note that stalking is illegal in all 50 states including the District of Columbia. The Georgia Code prohibits stalking. When referencing the stalking law, use the search term 16-5-90. Students will find information about stalking laws, potential punishments and sentencing parameters.

"My co-worker is constantly making sexist and inappropriate advances towards me in the workplace."
Sexual harassment is unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature which affects an individual's work or school performance or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive work or school environment.

Circumstances surrounding sexual harassment include:

  • Student and harasser may be of same or different gender
  • Women may perpetrate sexual harassment
  • Harasser may be a supervisor, an agent of the employer, a supervisor in another area, a co-worker or a non-employee
  • The survivor does not have to be the person that is directly harassed. It may be anyone affected by the offensive conduct.
  • The harasser's conduct must be unwelcome

Students who have experienced or witnessed any of the above behaviors may undergo some of these common emotional and physical reactions:

  • Poor concentration at work or school
  • Stress on personal relationships
  • Fear or anxiety
  • Debilitating depression
  • Sleep or weight problems
  • Alcohol or drug use
  • Increased absenteeism
  • Decreased productivity

Information provided by the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN)


What does the Student Code of Conduct say about sexual harassment?
Sexual harassment is prohibited at Georgia State University. The Student Code of Conduct contains the Sexual Misconduct Policy, which offers a complete definition for sexual harassment. This policy also contains information about reporting, the review process and potential sanctions, as well as support services and resources.


What does Georgia law say about sexual harassment?
While Georgia law defines and names these behaviors differently from the university, some types of sexually harassing behaviors are against the law according to the Georgia Code. When referencing sexual offenses, use the search term 16-6. More specifically the Georgia Code references Sexual Assault by Persons with Supervisory or Disciplinary Authority as 16-6-5.1. Students will find information about laws and potential punishments and sentencing parameters.

Students may also reference information regarding Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 which highlight federal regulations for sexual harassment in the workplace and educational settings.

"I have been harassed by the accused ever since I reported it."
Georgia State University is committed to cultivating a supportive environment for students who wish to report sexual misconduct. The university explicitly prohibits sexual misconduct as well as retaliation against a student who reports sexual misconduct or participates in the investigation of a sexual misconduct case. Retaliation can include intimidation, harassment and threats and may come from the accused or friends of the accused. It is important to report instances of retaliation to the university as soon as possible, so they may take appropriate measures to protect students.

What does the Student Code of Conduct say about retaliation?
The Student Code of Conduct contains the Sexual Misconduct Policy, which offers a complete definition for retaliation. This policy contains information about how to report instances of retaliation. Please note that the university may take interim action against the accuser to further protect him or her, which may include a no contact order; possible housing, academic or work alterations; and assistance with filing a protective order. Information regarding interim actions can be found within the Sexual Misconduct Policy of the Student Code of Conduct.


"I am required to do things that make me extremely uncomfortable in order to be a part of this group."
According to Stop Hazing, hazing is any activity expected of someone joining or participating in a group that humiliates, degrades, abuses or endangers them regardless of a person's willingness to participate. Hazing can occur within sororities and fraternities, athletic teams and other organizations. It is important to report any instance of hazing whether directly experienced or witnessed.

Being a victim of hazing is not easy and can leave an individual with mixed emotions. Someone who is being hazed may feel lonely, confused, humiliated, fearful, resentful, anxious or depressed. Students who are victims of hazing can:


What does the Student Code of Conduct say about hazing?
Hazing is prohibited at Georgia State University. The Student Code of Conduct contains the Hazing Policy, which offers a complete definition for hazing. This policy also contains information about prevention, reporting and the investigation process.


What does Georgia law say about hazing?
While Georgia law defines and names these behaviors differently from the university, hazing is against the law according to the Georgia Code. When referencing specific laws such as hazing, use the search term 16-5-61.

"I am being treated unfairly because of who I am."
Discrimination may occur in the workplace or in an educational setting. Discrimination can be defined as treating an individual or group of individuals unfavorably on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, creed, age, sexual orientation, gender, disability, national origin or veteran status.

Discrimination can present in many different ways, such as unfair hiring practices, pay differentials, unfair discipline, harassment, failure to provide reasonable accommodations to students with disabilities and many more. Students who need help sorting out their experience and their options may contact us to schedule an appointment.


What does the Student Code of Conduct say about discrimination?
Reference the Administrative Policies section of the Student Code of Conduct for Georgia State University's non-discrimination statement. There is also information about existing reporting options, the review process and possible sanctions for student organizations accused of discrimination.


What does federal law say about discrimination?
There are federal regulations in place that prohibit discrimination, such as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which highlights federal regulations for discrimination.

"My personal information was stolen, which has left me in a financial bind."
During 2011, an estimated 26.5 million adults (nearly 10.8 percent of the adult population) were victimized by fraud (Federal Trade Commission, 2011). Identity theft is a type of financial fraud that involves the illegal access and use of an individual's personal or financial information. Identity theft can result in financial loss and seriously damage a victim's credit history, requiring substantial effort to repair.

What does Georgia law say about identity theft?
Identity theft is illegal in the state of Georgia. The Georgia Code directly addresses identity theft. When referencing the identity theft law, search using the 10-1-34 or using the search term identity theft. Students will find information about identity theft laws, potential punishments and sentencing parameters.