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Interpersonal Violence Prevention

At Clemson University, 9.2% of students have experienced a verbal threat within the last 12 months (NCHA, 2022).

At Clemson University, 6% of students have experienced sexual touching without their consent within the last 12 months (NCHA, 2022).

Those numbers may not seem that high when in percentages, but if about 26,400 students attend Clemson University: 9.2% is 2,870 students experiencing a verbal threat; 6% is 4,400 students experiencing unwanted sexual touching without their consent – which is considered sexual assault under Clemson University’s Anti-Harassment and Non-Discriminatory Policy. Additionally, when you think about how many people are affected by interpersonal violence, it is many more than just the survivor; it is family members, friends and support systems, too.

It is not just a college problem – In 2021, South Carolina ranked 6th in the nation for violence against women and has ranked in the top 10 states every year since 2000 for deaths due to domestic violence in the United States (The Post and Courier, Violence Policy Center).

  • On average nationally, at least 50 percent of college students’ sexual assaults are associated with alcohol use.

  • Research has shown that the first 6 to 8 weeks of a college fall semester are when more sexual assaults take place than any other time of the year. This period of time has been referred to as “the Red Zone.”

  • Women and girls are the vast majority of victims: nearly 1 in 5, or 22 million, has been raped in their lifetime.

  • Men and boys are also at risk: 1 in 38 have been raped in their lifetime (CDC).

  • Most victims (approximately 80 percent) know their assailants.

  • The vast majority (nearly 98 percent) of perpetrators are male, even when the victim is a male.

Bauer-Wolf, J. (2019). Experts say new methods needed to combat the Red Zone on campuses. Retrieved from URL

Rape and Sexual Assault: A Renewed Call to Action. (2014). Retrieved from URL

720 first-year female-identifying Clemson University students participated in a study funded by the National Institutes of Health and conducted by faculty in Public Health Sciences and Redfern Health Center. The study used behavioral-specific questions from the Sexual Experiences Survey to assess for sexual victimization. It assesses for completed rape, attempted rape, sexual coercion (intercourse subsequent to verbal pressure or misuse of authority) and unwanted sexual contact.

Approximately 20% of first-year women at Clemson University experience some type of sexual victimization.

Thompson, M.P. & Kingree, J.B. (2010). Sexual victimization, negative cognitions, and adjustment in college women. American Journal Health Behavior, 34, 55-59.

  • 6% experienced unwanted sexual contact (NCHA 2022)
  • 1.3% experienced sexual coercion (NCHA 2022)
  • 2.2% experienced attempted rape (NCHA 2022)
  • 1.7% experienced completed rape (NCHA 2022)
  • 3.1% of Clemson students reported within the last 12 months, a partner pressured them into unwanted sexual contact by threatening, coercing, or using alcohol or other drugs (Clemson NCHA 2022).
  • Victims were more likely to report increased levels of depressive and post-traumatic stress symptoms compared to non-victims, so it is very important they seek help.

Peugh, J., & Glauber, A. (2011, June 9). 2011 College Dating Violence and Abuse Poll. Retrieved from URL 

Pardue, D., & Smith, G. (2014, September 8). South Carolina ranked second in nation in rate of women killed by men. Retrieved from URL

Think of a couple that you know, that you feel demonstrates a healthy and happy relationship. This relationship can be family, friends, co-workers, etc. What are the qualities of this relationship?

Signs of an Abusive Relationship

  • Checking cell phones, emails or social networks without permission

  • Extreme jealousy or insecurity

  • Constant belittling or put-downs

  • Explosive temper

  • Isolation from family and friends

  • Making false accusations

  • Erratic mood swings

  • Physically inflicting pain or hurt in any way

  • Possessiveness

  • Telling someone what to do

  • Repeatedly pressuring someone to have sex

Clemson University’s Anti-Harassment and Non-Discrimination Policy includes

  • sexual assault and/or battery,

  • sexual coercion,

  • sexual misconduct,

  • domestic violence and

  • stalking.

The word “stalking” probably brings a certain image to your mind. However, stalking can happen in many different ways and may be more common than you think.

Stalking includes

  • sending/receiving multiple unwanted text messages;

  • sending/receiving sexually explicit content;

  • posting unwanted or sexually explicit messages on someone's online profile;

  • sharing a sexually suggestive or private message with someone other than the person it was originally meant for;

  • repeatedly showing up places where you are unwanted;

  • a pattern of behaviors that makes a person reasonably fearful.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), sexual violence (SV) refers to sexual activity where consent is not obtained or not given freely. SV is any sexual act that is perpetrated against someone's will. SV encompasses a range of offenses, including rape, unwanted touching, and threatened sexual violence, exhibitionism and verbal sexual harassment.1

Women aged 18-24 are particularly vulnerable. Young women aged 18-24 consistently experience the highest level of victimization compared to women in other age brackets. This may stem from the increased alcohol use, decreased institutional structure, peer influences and dating patterns.

Increased alcohol use – We have already discussed how alcohol use is very commonly associated with instances of sexual violence.

Men aged 21-29 are the most likely perpetrators.

Decreased institutional structure – This means that young people are leaving home and coming to college for the first time. They are in situations that they aren’t very familiar with, with people who they aren’t familiar with, and using drugs and alcohol in ways in which they aren’t familiar. In college, students have fewer people to whom they are accountable, whereas their parents had a close eye on them before. That’s why it’s important for us to look out for one another.

Peer influences and dating patterns – These two really go together. Dating and sexual relationships are sometimes done more casually during college. A person thought to be a friend can sometimes end up being a negative influence or even be the perpetrator of violence.


1Sexual Violence: Definitions. (2015, February 10). Retrieved from URL  

Langton, L., & Sinozich, S. (2014, December 11). Rape and Sexual Assault Among College-Age Females, 1995-2013. Retrieved from URL 

Rape and Sexual Assault: A Renewed Call to Action. (2014). Retrieved from URL 

Consent is when a person agreed to do something or permission was given.

Although consent is clear when in the right state of mind, it begins to blur when alcohol and drugs are involved, especially in the context of consenting to sexual contact.

Consent requires:

  • Speech or conduct indicating a freely given, un-coerced agreement to engage in sexual contact

  • May not be inferred from silence or passivity alone, and a current or previous relationship is not sufficient to constitute consent

  • Cannot be legally given if one or both parties are intoxicated to the point where they do not know what they are doing

  • May be withdrawn at any time by either person

  • Body language alone is not considered consent

Blue Seat Studios. (2015, May 13). Tea Consent. Retrieved from URL 

One of your friends comes to talk to you and is very upset. They end up telling you about an incident that happened last night. Your friend was hanging out with a casual acquaintance they had met a time or two before. They were having a great time, and the acquaintance kept bringing your friend drinks. Before your friend realized it, your friend was highly intoxicated. Your friend started feeling sick, and the acquaintance offered to take your friend home. Your friend agreed and remembers getting into the acquaintance’s car. Your friend doesn’t remember much after that but woke up this morning and believes the acquaintance had sex with them.

One of your teammates comes to talk to you and is very upset. They end up telling you about an incident that happened last night. Your teammate was hanging out with a casual acquaintance they had met a time or two before. They were having a great time, and the acquaintance kept bringing your teammate drinks. Before your teammate realized it, your teammate was really drunk. Your teammate started feeling sick, and the acquaintance offered to take your teammate home. Your teammate agreed and remembers getting into the acquaintance’s car. Your teammate doesn’t remember much after that but woke up this morning and believes the acquaintance had sex with them.

  • Survivors shall be notified of their options to notify law enforcement.

  • Accuser and accused must have the same opportunity to have others present.

  • Both parties shall be informed of the outcome of any disciplinary proceeding.

  • Survivors shall be notified of counseling services.

  • Survivors shall be notified of options for changing academic and living situations.

The Federal Campus Sexual Assault Victims' Bill of Rights. (n.d.). Retrieved from URL


Clemson University Police Department (CUPD) 



CU CARES is an intervention program for students affected by relationship and/or sexual violence provided through Student Health Services’ Counseling and Psychological Services. This program aims to coordinate the emotional, medical and legal needs of victims of interpersonal violence.

Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS)*

CAPS is located in Redfern Health Center. An after-hours counselor is available and can be reached by calling CAPS at 864-656-2451 (select option 2).   

*In cases of sexual violence or other types of sexual misconduct, medical and psychological records at Redfern Health Center or off-campus rape crisis centers are kept strictly confidential unless the victim gives permission to disclose or under a few exceptions as required by law. These exceptions include threat of harm to self or others, suspected child abuse, suspected abuse of elderly or disabled, or court ordered release of records.

CARE Network

While students on Clemson’s campus deal with many challenging situations every day, the CARE Network is designed to track those incidents that are deemed “critical” and/or which may indicate unusual or harmful student behavior or trends. A Clemson student, faculty, staff or parent can submit a CARE report. You will be asked to provide detailed information regarding the concern you are reporting. Once the form is received, a University professional in the CARE Network will review the information and take appropriate action, which may or may not include contacting the student, you and any witnesses you have identified. You are not required to provide your name when you make a report; however, if you are comfortable providing your name, this information can help CARE Network staff follow up with you about the concern.

Title IX Office

Alesia Smith
Clemson University Title IX Coordinator
Executive Director of Equity Compliance
223 Bracket Hall

my.Clemson App

SANE/Forensic Nurses (Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner)

SANE nurses specialize in evidence collection for domestic abuse, child abuse and sexual assault. Any hospital open 24 hours/7 days a week in the surrounding area can perform a rape kit even if the assault did not take place in South Carolina. Local hospitals with on-call SANE Nurses include Oconee Memorial Hospital (14 minutes away), Baptist Easley Hospital (24 minutes away), AnMed Health Medical Center in Anderson (29 minutes away) and Greenville Memorial Hospital (38 minutes away). All travel times are estimated from Clemson's main campus.

Local rape crisis centers that are free and confidential are Pickens County Advocacy Center and Foothills Alliance. Safe Harbor is our local domestic violence crisis organization. These centers can help you navigate campus, medical and legal options. Both Foothills Alliance and Safe Harbor offer 24/7 crisis hotlines.

Other national hotlines include:

The following printable resources contain detailed information for victims of interpersonal violence:

What to Do if You Think You or Someone You Know Might Be in an Abusive Relationship 

What to Do if You Think You or Someone You Know is a Survivor of Sexual Assault 

Always advise someone who has been assaulted to get counseling and medical care if they have been sexually victimized; CAPS is a great resource. When you are talking with a person who has been assaulted, give that person options and power. It is very important to remember to not control the situation or try to make that person do something they do not want to do. 

Additional Resources on Interpersonal Violence

Interpersonal Violence

Bystander Intervention
Interpersonal Violence

Alcohol and Other Drugs
Mental Health