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.