It is the policy of Biola University to maintain the university environment as a Christian community that provides a place for spiritual growth, work and study free of all forms of sexual intimidation and exploitation. All students, staff and faculty should be aware that the university is prepared to take action to prevent such intimidation and exploitation and that individuals who engage in such behavior are subject to discipline. Sexual violence is a criminal act that violates the standards of our community and is unacceptable at the university. Sexual violence can be devastating to the person who experiences it directly and can be traumatic to the person’s family, friends and larger community as well.

Sexual Violence Prevention

It's On Us Biola

This pledge is a personal commitment to help keep women and men safe from sexual assault.

It is a promise not to be a bystander to the problem, but to be a part of the solution.


  • To recognize that non-consensual sex is sexual assault.
  • To identify situations in which sexual assault may occur.
  • To intervene in situations where consent has not or cannot be given.
  • To create an environment in which sexual assault is unacceptable and survivors are supported.

Learn more at


Was It Sexual Assault?

infographic defining sexual assault

This infographic courtesy of and is used by permission.


What the Words Mean...

The following terms are used as defined below by the university in our Sexual Misconduct Policy.

Consent: Consent means affirmative, conscious and voluntary agreement to engage in sexual activity. Under the law, a person under the age of 18 (a minor) is incapable of giving consent. It is the responsibility of each person involved in the sexual activity to ensure that he or she has the affirmative consent of the other or others to engage in sexual activity. Lack of protest or resistance does not mean consent, nor does silence mean consent. Affirmative consent must be ongoing throughout sexual activity and can be revoked at any time. The existence of a dating relationship between the persons involved or the fact of past sexual relations between them, should never, by itself, be assumed to be an indicator of consent. In cases of prior relationships, however, the manner and nature of prior communications between the parties and the context of the relationship may be factors in determining whether there was consent.

The following, while not an exhaustive list, are important factors to consider when determining if consent was obtained:

  • Whether the respondent took reasonable steps, in the circumstances known to the respondent at the time, to ascertain whether the complainant affirmatively consented.
  • An individual cannot provide consent to engage in sexual activity when the individual:  1) is a minor (age 17 or under); 2) has a mental disorder or developmental or physical disability that renders her or him incapable of giving knowing consent; 3) is asleep or unconscious; or 4) is incapacitated from alcohol or other drugs, and this condition was known, or reasonably should have been known or recognized by the respondent.
  • Whether an individual actively and willingly participated in conduct.
  • Consent to one form of sexual activity does not imply consent to other forms of sexual activity.
  • Consent can be withdrawn at any time. When consent is withdrawn, the sexual activity for which consent was initially provided must stop.
  • Consent cannot be procured, expressly or implicitly, by use of force, intimidation, threats or coercion or by overcoming the physical limitations of another person.  

Sexual Assault: Sexual assault is any non-consensual act of penetration, however slight, of a person’s vaginal or anal openings with any body part and/or object (including a finger) or non-consensual oral-genital contact.

Sexual Battery: Sexual battery is any intentional non-consensual sexual contact, however slight, with any object (including any body part). Sexual contact includes contact with intimate body parts (breasts, buttocks, genitals or areas directly adjacent to the genitals (e.g., inner thigh)), whether directly or over or under clothing; forcing a person to touch another’s intimate body parts; or any other bodily contact in a sexual manner.

Coercion: Coercion generally (sexual coercion is defined below) is conduct or intimidation that would compel an individual to do something against his or her will by the use of unreasonable psychological pressure, physical force or threats of severely damaging consequences that would reasonably place an individual in fear of immediate or future harm. Coercion is more than an effort to persuade or attract another person to engage in sexual activity. Coercive behavior differs from seductive behavior based on the degree and type of pressure someone uses to obtain consent from another. For example, simply asking someone repeatedly to have sex generally is not considered coercion but seduction. However, if threats were made alongside the repeated requests, it may be considered coercion.

Sexual Coercion: Sexual coercion is the act of using pressure (including physical, verbal or emotional pressure), alcohol, medications, drugs or force to have sexual contact against someone's will or with someone who has already refused. 

Sexual Harassment: Sexual harassment is unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature that is sufficiently severe, pervasive/persistent and objectively offensive that it substantially and unreasonably interferes with a student’s ability to participate in, or benefit from, the University’s educational programs and activities or their living environment. Sexual harassment includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, offensive comments or other conduct based on sex, sexually motivated physical contact or other verbal, nonverbal or physical conduct or communication of a sexual nature. This definition will be interpreted and applied in a manner consistent with the accepted standards of mature behavior, academic freedom and the mission of the university.

Examples of sexual harassment may, depending on the circumstances, include, but are not limited to:

  • A student repeatedly contacts another student to go out on a date after the student has made it clear that he or she is not interested (this is an example of hostile environment harassment).
  • A professor makes several comments to a student suggesting that if they have a sexual relationship, the professor will give the student a better grade (this is an example of quid pro quo harassment).
  • A student is called a “dyke” or “fag” by a classmate, who also makes sexually explicit remarks.
  • A male staff assistant in a science lab repeatedly makes disparaging comments about women not being suited for science such as “science is a man’s field.”
  • A student worker tells his supervisor that he is not comfortable with her massaging his shoulders, but she continues to do so and also makes comments about how she finds him attractive.

Domestic Violence: Felony or misdemeanor crimes of violence committed by a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the victim, by a person with whom the victim shares a child in common, by a person who is cohabitating with or has cohabitated with the victim as a spouse or partner, by a person similarly situated to a spouse of the victim under the domestic or family violence laws of California or by any other person against an adult or youth victim who is protected from that person's acts under the domestic or family violence laws of California. Violence includes, but is not limited to, sexual or physical abuse or the threat of such abuse.  Domestic violence can be a single event or a pattern of behavior.

Dating Violence: Violence committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim. The existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on the Complainant’s characterization of that relationship, and with consideration of the length of the relationship, the type of relationship and the frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship. Violence includes, but is not limited to, sexual or physical abuse or the threat of such abuse. Dating violence can be a single event or a pattern of behavior. Dating violence does not include acts covered under the definition of domestic violence.

Stalking: The term “stalking” means engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to: 1) fear for the person’s safety or the safety of others; or 2) suffer substantial emotional distress. For the purpose of this definition: 1) “course of conduct” means two or more acts, including, but not limited to, acts in which the stalker directly, indirectly or through third parties, by any action, method, device or means, follows, monitors, observes, surveils, threatens or communicates to or about a person, or interferes with a person’s property; 2) “reasonable person” means a reasonable person under similar circumstances and with similar identities to the victim; 3) “substantial emotional distress” means significant mental suffering or anguish that may, but does not necessarily, require medical or other professional treatment or counseling.

Examples of stalking behavior are:

  • Repeated, unwanted and intrusive communications by phone, mail, text message, email and/or other electronic communications, including social media;
  • Repeatedly leaving or sending the victim unwanted items, presents or flowers;
  • Following or lying in wait for the victim at places such as the victim’s home, school, work or recreational facilities;
  • Making direct or indirect threats to harm the victim or the victim’s children, relatives, friends or pets;
  • Damaging or threatening to damage the victim’s property; or
  • Repeated posting of information or spreading rumors about the victim on the internet, in a public place, or by word of mouth that would cause a person to feel threatened or intimidated.

Sexual Exploitation: Sexual exploitation occurs when a person takes non-consensual or abusive sexual advantage of another for anyone’s advantage or benefit other than the person being exploited and that behavior does not otherwise constitute one of the other sexual misconduct offenses. Examples of sexual exploitation include, but are not limited to:

  • Invasion of sexual privacy;
  • Prostituting another person;
  • Non-consensual taking of photographs/images, video recording and/or audio recording of a sexual activity;
  • Non-consensual distribution of photographs/images, video recording, audio recording or live-streaming of a sexual activity;
  • Intentional removal or attempted removal of clothing that exposes an individual’s bra, underwear or an intimate body part or is otherwise sexual in nature without consent;
  • Allowing third parties to observe sexual activities or view another’s intimate body parts, in a place where that person would have a reasonable expectation of privacy, without consent;
  • Engaging in non-consensual voyeurism;
  • Knowingly transmitting a sexually transmitted disease or sexually transmitted infection to another person;
  • Exposing one’s intimate body parts in non-consensual circumstances;
  • Inducing another to expose his/her intimate body parts in non-consensual circumstances; or
  • Possessing, distributing, viewing, or forcing others to view pornography.

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