Definitions and Explanations

Stalking—Stalking is a willful course of conduct involving repeated or continuing harassment of another individual that would cause a reasonable person to feel terrorized, frightened, intimidated, threatened, harassed, or molested, and that actually causes the accuser to feel terrorized, frightened, intimidated, threatened, harassed, or molested.  Harassment means conduct directed toward the accuser that includes, but is not limited to, repeated or continuing unconsented contact that would cause a reasonable person to suffer emotional distress, and that actually causes the accuser to suffer emotional distress.  Harassment does not include constitutionally protected activity or conduct that serves a legitimate purpose.  TCA 39-17-315

Sexual Assault—The nonconsensual sexual contact with the accuser by the accused, or the accused by the accuser when force or coercion is used to accomplish the act, the sexual contact is accomplished without consent of the accuser, and the accused knows or has reason to know at the time of the contact that the accuser did not or could not consent.  Sexual contact includes, but is not limited to, the intentional touching of the accuser’s, the accused’s, or any other person’s intimate parts, or the intentional touching of the clothing covering the immediate area of the accuser’s, the accused’s, or any other person’s intimate parts, if that intentional touching can be reasonably construed as being for the purpose of sexual arousal or gratification.

Domestic Violence—Violence against a person when the accuser and accused:

  1. are current or former spouses;
  2. live together or have lived together;
  3. are related by blood or adoption;
  4. are related or were formally related by marriage; or,
  5. are adult or minor children of a person in a relationship described above. 

Domestic violence includes, but is not necessarily limited to,

  1. inflicting, or attempting to inflict, physical injury on the accuser by other than accidental means;
  2. placing the accuser in fear of physical harm;
  3. physical restraint;
  4. malicious damage to the personal property of the accuser, including inflicting, or attempting to inflict, physical injury on any animal owned, possessed, leased, kept, or held by the accuser; or,
  5. placing the accuser in fear of physical harm to any animal owned, possessed, leased, kept, or held by the accuser.  TCA 36-3-601.

Dating Violence—Violence against a person when the accuser and accused are dating, or who have dated, or who have or had a sexual relationship.  “Dating” and “dated” do not include fraternization between two (2) individuals solely in a business or non-romantic social context.  Violence includes, but is not necessarily limited to,

  1. inflicting, or attempting to inflict, physical injury on the accuser by other than accidental means,
  2. placing the accuser in fear of physical harm,
  3. physical restraint,
  4. malicious damage to the personal property of the accuser, including inflicting, or attempting to inflict, physical injury on any animal owned, possessed, leased, kept, or held by the accuser; or,
  5. placing a victim in fear of physical harm to any animal owned, possessed, leased, kept, or held by the accuser.  TCA 36-3-601(5)(c).

Consent—An informed decision, freely given, made through mutually understandable words or actions that indicate a willingness to participate in mutually agreed upon sexual activity.  Consent cannot be given by an individual who is asleep; unconscious; or mentally or physically incapacitated, either through the effect of drugs or alcohol or for any other reason; or, is under duress, threat, coercion, or force.  Past consent does not imply future consent.  Silence or an absence of resistance does not imply consent.  Consent can be withdrawn at any time.