Interpersonal Violence

Interpersonal violence comes in many forms - it is violence between human beings. Northern Illinois University seeks to provide a safe place for you to live and study. The NIU campus is not more dangerous than other college campuses across the country. But college campuses are places where large numbers of young people are gathered, many of whom are away from home for the first time. It is important to take steps to keep yourself safe. We are here to provide protection and support when you need it.

Interpersonal violence includes:

  • Sexual harassment - Unwelcome sexual conduct, including unwarranted sex-related comments, sexually explicit comments or graphics, unwelcome touching, or derogatory jokes which cause the recipient discomfort or humiliation, and which continue after the recipient has made it clear that he or she wants them to stop (2005 ACHA Campus Violence White Paper).
  • Stalking - "The willful, repeated, and malicious following, harassing, or threatening of another person." This can occur in person, on the telephone, and on the internet. If someone else continues to contact you after you have told them once to stop and you feel uneasy or threatened by their presence, remember that you have the right to be left alone.
  • Sexual assault, which includes, but is not limited to, rape - is defined as the forced penetration of any orifice of your body by another person; this includes using objects. "Forced" means you did not give permission, were threatened in some way - physically or emotionally - or were unable to give permission. Despite television and movie dramas, most rapes are not committed by strangers jumping from bushes - the rapist is most often someone we know. Rape is not about sex - it is about power and control. For this reason, men can be victims of rape as well.
    • Date/Acquaintance Rape - is a sexual assault crime committed by someone who knows the victim. It includes forced, manipulated or coerced sexual contact. If someone has forced you to have sex, that is rape - even if you know the attacker [ICASA].
    • SEX REQUIRES CONSENT: Consent is permission; it is a clear, verbal or physical, "yes." It is "freely given agreement." It is not "no," or silence. Drinking and/or drugs can impair consent. In Illinois, the persons involved must be physically and mentally able to give consent, and of legal age. "If any individual says 'no' at anytime during the sexual act, the other person must stop or it becomes rape; even if prior consent is given." This is the law.
  • Domestic Violence - Often occurs at home, between people who have an ongoing relationship. It is more likely to be complicated and long-term; abuse may escalate and then subside, in what is called a "cycle of violence." Domestic violence includes emotional and verbal abuse as well as hitting, throwing things, and other physical violence. The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence website contains extensive information on this topic: As a student at NIU, you are provided resources and counseling at no cost; the law provides protection no matter where you live. Just ask.
  • Hate crimes - Crimes committed against persons because of their gender, social status, race, religious affiliation, sexual preference - all of these are forms of violence and are punishable by law. The Leadership Council on Civil Rights website contains definitions and links, as well as news stories on these issues:
  • NIU does not tolerate violence or intolerance. The Office of Community Standards & Student Conduct handles issues that arise between students; Students' Legal Services is available to advise our students in personal legal issues and those involving non-students.
  • If you have questions, ask for answers. Interpersonal violence often goes unreported. Statistics indicate that fewer than 5% of completed and attempted rapes are reported. Know that your privacy will be protected, and that you will have choices about when and how to proceed at every step. Campus police are trained, skilled, experienced State Police officers, and NIU Counseling Services provide confidential, professional services at no cost.
  • The NIU Policy Statement on Sexual Assault is located on the NIU Student Affairs & Enrollment Management website at under What We Do; Policies.
  • NIU's Policy Statement on Sexual Assault, Prohibited Sexual Conduct, Stalking, Dating Violence, and Domestic Violence is located at