Glossary of Terms

+ Bystander Intervention

including: pro-social, upstander, intervene

Someone who is present during an incident. The individual may or may not know what to do, may think others will act, and/or may be afraid to do anything. Sometimes, bystanders try to ignore situations. Other times, bystanders side with the antagonist in a situation. Pro-social bystanders, on the other hand, are the witnesses who take an action to help the situation and promote safety. This type of bystander is sometimes called an "upstander" so as not to get confused with other types of people witnessing.

The type of action a pro-social bystander can take varies. Sometimes an intervention requires a bystander to say something to a harasser, to the perceived victim, or to a third party. While a bystander can directly call out behavior, an intervention can also work by simply changing the conversation. Occasionally, a bystander may physically obstruct the two individuals in conflict. Pro-social bystanders should only act in a way that also ensures their own safety.

+ Gender

including: cisgender, transgender, toxic masculinity

A social construct that places stereotypes, values, and expectations on being male, female, or trans*. These roles are based more on cultural and social differences than biological ones. Gender identity is based on how a person understands themselves, as being a woman, a man, or not part of the gender binary (like two-spirit or genderqueer). People may act out their gender in a way that mirrors their identity or they may not. For instance, a woman may wear suits or a man may be a homemaker.

In Western culture, there is the assumption that a person with a uterus is a woman and that a person with testes is a man. If that is the case, that individual is considered cisgender. Transgender is a broad term that describes anyone for whom that assumption is not true. Trans* identities can include gender nonconforming, genderqueer, androgynous, intersex people as well as folks who identify within the gender binary. Read more: TSER, Gender Spectrum, and GLAAD.

Sometimes, gender roles can be constrictive. This is the case when a person does not feel like they can be true to themselves or their emotions. They can also limit a person's access to their goals, for instance if a woman wanted to have a career in a masculine field of work. "Toxic masculinity" is a term used to describe some of the harmful aspects associated with manhood in Western society, including hiding emotions and acting out violence. By making gender less restricting, we can build a society that retains the best of femininity, masculinity, and androgyny while reducing the harm it can induce.

+ Healthy Relationships

Where partners both feel and provide support and respect. Our friends over at Power Up Speak Out! summarize a healthy relationship as one where (1) you get to be yourself, (2) you have fun, (3) you can say "no", and (4) you treat others well. In general, a healthy relationship is one where realistic boundaries exist and communication is open and reciprocated.

including: explicit consent, affirmative consent.

Agreement to participate. Must be made free and willingly, without pressure from a partner or other peers. A person's agreement to an activity can change at any time, even if a person had previously agreed to participate. All participants must also have a clear understanding of which activities each person is agreeing to. The term "affirmative consent" is used to remind partners that consent should be verbal and enthusiastic.

Consent from all partners is required for any type of sexual intimacy to occur. Consent is achieved when a partner asks permission and respects their partner's response. It is the responsibility of the person initiating sexual intimacy to ask for consent. Most people initiate some portions of sexual intimacy - especially when partners move from one position or act to another. Consent is required when transitioning to each new activity.

Montana Criminal Code Annotated defines consent as "words or overt actions indicating a freely given agreement to have sexual intercourse or sexual contact." There are limitations to who can give consent. This includes, but is not limited to, minors, incapacitated people, and unconscious people. A disability may also impact a person's ability to consent. To find more about various U.S. laws, you can visit RAINN's State Law Database.

+ Sexual Violence

Occurs when someone acts without the consent of another. This broad term covers a spectrum of violations, ranging from rape to unwanted sexual touch. It can also include unwanted sexual experiences where no contact happens, such as sexualized comments or sharing photos of a sexual nature.


To unwillingly compel a partner to engage in sexual activity, through the use of pressure, persistence, guilt, alcohol, drugs, threats, or force. Additionally, when someone does not have the ability to refuse, to disengage, or to say "no," then the behavior is coercive. Coercive behavior is not permissible in a healthy relationship. Examples of this type of behavior can include refusing to 'get the hint' when someone else is uninterested or manipulating a partner with statements like "you'll do it if you love me."


including: sexual misconduct, quid pro quo, hostile work environment

Umbrella term for a multitude of unwelcome or violating sexual behaviors. Includes, but is not limited to, sexual advances and verbal conduct of a sexual nature. Sexual harassment is a civil offense under Montana state law. Retaliation and stalking are sometimes grouped under sexual harassment, but they also often have their own policies and laws.

In schools and workplaces, sexual harassment may take on the form of "quid pro quo" or a "hostile work environment." "Quid pro quo" is when a person demands a sexual favor in exchange for a positive outcome for the other person (for example, getting a good grade in class, or not being fired). A "hostile work environment" is a setting where a person's conduct is so significant that it harms the productivity of another person.

Some institutions - like colleges and universities - may also have a sexual misconduct policy, which can serve as a non-legal catch-all for unwelcome sexual conduct.


Umbrella term to designate a wide variety of violating behaviors of a sexual nature. Defined in the Montana Criminal Code Annotated as "a person who knowingly subjects another person to any sexual contact without consent."

Sexual assault includes when a person touches genitalia, breasts, or other body parts of another person in a sexual nature, without consent. Though non-consensual penetration (rape) is one form of sexual assault, these terms are not entirely interchangeable. Sexual assault refers to a broader range of violations.

People of all genders, sexual orientations, race and ethnic background, ability, and age can experience sexual assault.


including: sexual intercourse without consent (SIWOC).

When an act of sexual intimacy that involves penetration is enacted without consent. Penetration is defined as inserting a body part or object into an oral, genital, or anal orifice. Rape can occur when a person penetrates another against their will or when a person makes another person unwillfully penetrate.

In the Montana Criminal Code Annotated, rape is known as sexual intercourse without consent (SIWOC). This crime has been defined as "a person who knowingly has sexual intercourse with another person without consent or with another person who is incapable of consent." Aggravated SIWOC is when a person uses force to commit rape.


including: abuse, teen dating violence, domestic violence, partner or family member assault (PFMA)

A relationship embedded in an imbalance of power and control. Among other things, abuse can take the form of emotional manipulation, financial control, placing limits on a partners whereabouts, and causing physical harm. Teen dating violence, domestic violence, and intimate partner violence are all terms that describe the same abuse of power within a relationship.

Under Montana Code Annotated, Partner or Family Member Assault (PFMA) can be charged when an individual "purposely or knowingly causes bodily injury to a partner or family member; negligently causes bodily injury to a partner or family member with a weapon; or purposely or knowingly causes reasonable apprehension of bodily injury in a partner or family member." This is just one of many assault and related offenses connected with intimate partner violence. Other charges include stalking, strangulation, and intimidation.

People of all genders, sexual orientations, race and ethnic background, ability, and age can experience intimate partner violence.