Students Who Give Neck Rubs, Hugs Could Face Sexual Battery Charges

East Carolina University's new consent policy is quite broad.



East Carolina University has revised its policy on sexual assault to include a transgression that doesn't seem serious enough to really be labelled sexual battery: neck rubbing.

ECU's old policy stipulated that sexual battery involved sexual contact with inappropriate parts of another person's body. The new policy, on the other hand, describes battery as "the intentional or attempted sexual touching of another person's clothed or unclothed body… by another with any part of the body or any object in a sexual manner without their consent," no matter how slight or brief the touching may be. Necks are specifically referenced. I interpret the policy to mean that hugs could qualify as well.

A spokesperson for ECU told The College Fix:

"If an act of touching is not consented to, and the act was of a sexual nature, then that could constitute a battery. The purpose of this is to ensure that each act is consented to by the parties and that consent is active and mutually understood."

Obviously, it's weird and creepy to touch someone's neck without their permission. But is it necessarily sexual battery? I would expect such a broad policy to create more confusion about what constitutes sexual assault on campus, rather than less.

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  1. Um, who defines whether the touching was of a sexual nature?

    Obviously there are some cases where it is pretty obvious that it is but then there is a HUGE realm, one that includes neck rubs and hugs where maybe it could have been sexual in nature and maybe it wasn’t.

    So who decides?

    1. Wasn’t this decided at the beginning of Pulp Fiction?

      1. Jules: Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa… stop right there. Eatin’ a bitch out, and givin’ a bitch a foot massage ain’t even the same fuckin’ thing.

        Vincent: It’s not. It’s the same ballpark.

        Jules: Ain’t no fuckin’ ballpark neither. Now look, maybe your method of massage differs from mine, but, you know, touchin’ his wife’s feet, and stickin’ your tongue in her Holiest of Holies, ain’t the same fuckin’ ballpark, it ain’t the same league, it ain’t even the same fuckin’ sport. Look, foot massages don’t mean shit.

        Vincent: Have you ever given a foot massage?

        Jules: [scoffs] Don’t be tellin’ me about foot massages. I’m the foot fuckin’ master.

        Vincent: Given a lot of ’em?

        Jules: Shit yeah. I got my technique down and everything, I don’t be ticklin’ or nothin’.

        Vincent: Would you give a guy a foot massage?

        [Jules gives Vincent a long look, realizing he’s been set up]

        Jules: Fuck you.

        Vincent: You give them a lot?

        Jules: Fuck you.

        Vincent: You know, I’m getting kinda tired. I could use a foot massage myself.

        Jules: Man, you best back off, I’m gittin’ a little pissed here.

    2. Maybe we can have letters sewn onto our clothing – B, D, S, M. An M punching an S in the face is just plain old assault and battery. The other way around it’s a sex crime. Stepping on somebody’s toes is right out if you’re wearing an FF.

      1. I, for one, am all for BDSM clothing.

        1. Aha. So this is you?


    3. “Um, who defines whether the touching was of a sexual nature?”

      Easy. It’s the unreasonable woman of the ‘department for equality student diversity life affairs’ standard. If she’s on vacation (or inconvenienced because the police currently investigates her attack on some pro-life student), they role a dice. Then attest sexual nature.

    4. There are tough questions, and then there is “who decides”? That’s so easy I can barely type it. Why, the person touched who DECIDES to report it. If she DECIDES to report it, then she has DECIDED it was of sexual nature. She’s the decider.

    5. who defines whether the touching was of a sexual nature?

      I do. If it doesn’t involve breasts, penises, vulvas, vaginas, anuses or buttocks, it’s not sexual touching. Unless you are some kind of weirdo that’s into feet or something. So definitely not neck rubs.

      Isn’t touching people without permission technically assault and/or battery anyway?

      1. I think that a successful charge of assault/battery requires some objective standard of damages. You may be able to charge harassment if the neck-rubbing was persistent and clearly unwanted. But when you charge with ‘sexual’ battery all that goes out the window.

    6. Since practically EVERYTHING is a fetish, we should just assume all touching is sexual in nature.

  2. Got me to thinking about Merkel’s horrified reaction to W’s neckrub.

    1. That did cause quite the stir among the feminists, I recall. I don’t remember the outrage from the same people when Biden did it, in a far creepier manner. Funny, that.

  3. I’m fucked if these rules gain broad acceptance. I have super long nails and will just walk up behind friends and family on their computers and start scratching their scalps. If they don’t want it for some reason they tell me (head scratches aren’t the greatest directly after bleaching your hair white), but they’d probably give me weird looks if I asked before doing so. Plus they wouldn’t get nearly as many if I had to think consciously about it, as opposed to just a way to fidget with my hands while talking.

    1. Why do you do this?

      1. I fidget constantly. Even more so when excited and talking. Scratching peoples heads gives me something to do with my hands that not destroying mine or others personal property. Plus it’s generally appreciated as it feels good, and I like being nice to my friends and family.

        1. Makes sense.

    2. Alright, now I’m for affirmative consent.

      1. You seriously don’t like it when someone scratches your head for you? These aren’t wimpy ones where the scratcher ends up pulling hair more than anything else. My nails are long and they feel really good.

        1. As a scratcher of other people’s backs, I endorse this message.

        2. I like your enthusiasm (and surprising confidence). Is it a scratch-massage, and do you just use it on heads?

          1. Used to give out foot massages too, but those take more downtime and thought process, so not really anymore.

            1. Do you use your fingertips at all?

              1. Nails are too long for that. I can use my finger pads and my nails but the fingertips are too far back for comfortable use. It makes wrestling matches rather vicious around me. Move the wrong way and instead of getting your arm grabbed it ends up getting clawed.

                1. Huh. So, have they invented scratch screens yet?

            2. Now you are going to attract all the foot fetish guys.

              By the way, how you doin?

              1. Hahaha, sorry boys. ‘fraid Sloopy is probably the only one in the same state as me.

    3. They won’t. People just don’t behave in accordance with such rules.

      You can scratch my head any time. Long fingernail scalp massage is great.

  4. They really seem determined to eliminate men entirely from college campuses.

    1. It does sort of seem that way. I’d still guess that most people will ignore the rules and not much will change. But some people will get screwed (metaphorically) and that’s terrible.

      When I was at college they gave us the whole “drunk sex is rape” spiel. Guess how many people changed their behavior because of it?

  5. Apparently, they have lost any sense of propriety and proportionality.

    1. Soon, MALE GAZE will constitute battery, and you can be expelled if a woman objects to you looking at her. Or just thinks you are looking at her. It’s like a kind of reverse-Sharia – any man can be destroyed based on nothing more that the mere accusation of any woman. If I were of college-age I wouldn’t go near a college campus these days.

      1. Actually one of my buddies got pushed into IT management at Sprint and from then on his job consisted primarily of settling petty disputes among his subordinates. I don’t know if this is true or not, but he told me that one criterion for sexual impropriety was the “elevator gaze,” where you look someone up, then down. You couldn’t be fired for that alone, but it could be taken into consideration as corroborating evidence in the event of a more serious charge.

        1. I give the elevator gaze all the time, but it starts at their eye level and rises to my eyebrows.

        2. Up here. Up yours.

        3. Holy shit. Doomed. we are.

        4. From what I have seen, women are almost incapable of not giving each other the “elevator gaze” once-over when they meet.

          1. “From what I have seen, women are almost incapable of not giving each other the “elevator gaze” once-over when they meet.”

            Nice observation. Couple that with sexual fluidity and turn it against … “them”.

          2. We are just making sure her shoes matches her accessories, perv!

  6. Who knew sexual liberation would bring us back to the victorian age of sexuality.

  7. Who knew sexual liberation would bring us back to the victorian age of sexuality.

    1. And that would be twice.

  8. Guys who do the massage and neck-rub thing are creepy.

    1. Even when they yawn first?

      1. Especially when they yawn first – and right after I’ve pointedly told them I’m not gay. Geez, Greg, why don’t you try hitting on Alberto down in accounting? Just because I let you take me out to dinner and buy me a few drinks doesn’t mean I like you in that way!

    2. That’s why I just stick to cutting a whole in the bottom of the popcorn bag.

      1. A whole what?

  9. East Carolina University has revised its policy on sexual assault to include a transgression that doesn’t seem serious enough to really be labelled sexual battery: neck rubbing.

    For an example of a neck rubbing that would qualify as sexual battery, see uncle Joe’s version of neck rubbing on someone else’s wife. Photos are available on the Internet.

  10. Obviously, it’s weird and creepy to touch someone’s neck without their permission.

    Not obvious to me in every single case. It can be, but I’ve had people, women even, touch my neck without my overt, express, advance permission (mostly to straighten my tie and collar). No weirdness or creepiness involved.

    1. One of the reasons to wear a tie. … Those advocating its demise may have an agenda.

    2. Did they explicitly self-identify as female or are you blindly gendering them?

      Seems like you’re the microaggressor here.

      1. What’s good for the gender is a ruse.

  11. The act of touching me is always of a sexual nature.

  12. I would trade half of my future orgasms for a few well timed back scratches.

    1. Not to dial up the homoeroticism, but get a scratching post.

  13. Ban all the hugs!

    1. Finally, someone who gets it. Prison rules for all: no touching.

      1. And that’s why you never touch a neck.

        1. Further help to keep things in perspective: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nXnimtQMMQw

      2. Prison rules for all: no touching.

        Also, pretty much the rule for any workplace.

        1. well I hope they leave a clause excluding latin cultures or they all are going to end up in jail.

          just because anglo-culture doesn’t touch doesn’t mean other cultures don’t.

  14. ah, yes. The days of the “just friends” neck massage leading to the “just friends” drunk kissing leading to the “just friends” sleeping in the same bed because “I’m too drunk to drive home” leading to the sleepy roaming hands leading to just the tip.

    I remember those neck rubs.

    1. I mean, you,know, because I heard about them from other people.

    2. Yeah, “Can I lie in your bed, mine is too drunk?”

  15. Mutual grooming has gone to the wind with civilization. It’s getting really hard to find a gal who will pick bugs out my hair.

    1. Go, bonobo.

  16. Is nobody going to mention that it can be touching with “things”? As in, oops, I dropped my hot dog, sorry I raped you. Or, here is your coat, it sure is soft, oops, sorry I raped you. Someone comes in from a storm and you hand her a towel because she’s all wet? Yep, rape again.

    1. Why would you hand her a towel? Wouldn’t your first reaction be to get her out of those wet clothes?

      1. You get the clothes wet. What’s wrong with you?

  17. As a shy and clumsy teenager, the “old back rub move” lead to many sexual adventures.

  18. But is it necessarily sexual battery?

    I knew a girl who would *freak out* if anyone touched her neck. For her, it seemed to be necessarily just *battery*.

  19. Maybe this will put a stop to all the crusty old ladies who feel the need to put their hands on you just to talk. Damn do I hate that.

  20. The new policy, on the other hand, describes battery as “the intentional or attempted sexual touching of another person’s clothed or unclothed body? by another with any part of the body or any object in a sexual manner without their consent,”

    So I’m guessing foot messages are right out…

  21. So, I checked Jezebel’s coverage of the Cologne thing.

    Apparently, this is just what #yesallmen do, nothing to see here, no immigration related issue.

    To be fair to them, there are starting to be a few cracks and more acknowledgement that there is a different culture in North African/Arab communities in Europe vs other Euro communities.

    Honestly, this shit just makes me glad to be an American, where we have historically been pretty successful at assimilating new immigrants. I think it’s in part because we let our ethnic communes keep some of their identity, but absorb in the rest of their culture- see how we let Italian-Americans be considered white, and we even eat their horrific dago slop! But on a more serious note, I do see celebrations of ethnic pride- Columbus Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Cinco De Mayo, Puerto Rico Day Parade, etc.- as a positive feature of America and a notable difference between us and many European nations. Because while these are celebrations of ethnic pride, they are often framed as, “What our group has contributed to America” and is “How have we made the whole better” which I think is why we assimilate so well. We put out a few non-negotiables (no rape, for instance) but other than that are pretty chill on style of dress, food, holidays, etc. Meanwhile, France worries about the outward expressions of difference (wearing a hijab) but apparently is okay with you being a misogynistic, homophobic, fanatical prick as long as you LOOK secular.

  22. But is it necessarily sexual battery?

    Worse, it’s a hate crime.

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