Facts and Information about Sexual Assault

Facts about Sexual Assault

For facts and information regarding Sexual Assault, please see:



More Information about Our Counseling Services

WPI's professional counseling staff are available to intervene in a crisis situation and can provide safe, confidential support for you during this difficult period. They can inform you of common reactions to crisis and discuss coping methods that may assist you immediately following the assault and at a later time. Talking about your concerns with one of these counselors may help you sort through your feelings and help you decide what to do.

You can reach a counselor by calling WPI's Student Development and Counseling Center at +1-508-831-5540 during office hours. Nights and weekends, a counselor can be reached by calling the WPI Police dispatcher at +1-508-831-5555 or +1-508-831-5433.

Past Abuse

If you were a victim of a sexual assault or abuse weeks, months, or years ago, assistance is still available for you by calling the Student Development and Counseling Center at +1-508-831-5540. Talking with someone will provide you emotional support and may help you cope with this past abuse, whether it was rape, childhood sexual abuse, incest, or sexual harassment.

Legally, What is Sexual Assault?

In Massachusetts law, there are two major categories of sexual assault against adults: rape and indecent assault and battery.

The crime of rape occurs when the offender "has sexual intercourse or unnatural sexual intercourse with a person and compels such person to submit by force and against his will, or compels such person to submit by threat of bodily injury." Rape and attempted rape are punishable by up to twenty years imprisonment.

Under Massachusetts law, both men and women may be the victims of rape, and both may be the perpetrators of a rape. Rape may occur when the victim is unable to give consent because he or she is unconscious. Rape may occur between people who know each other, and between people who have previously had consensual sexual relations.

The crime of indecent assault and battery occurs when the offender, without the victim's consent, intentionally has physical contact of a sexual nature with the victim. This contact may include an offender touching a woman's breasts or buttocks, or the pubic area of a man or woman. Indecent assault and battery may be punished by up to five years imprisonment.

Criminal Investigation of a Sexual Assault

The primary investigatory agency of crimes of this nature is the Worcester Police Department's Detective Division. Officers from both our departments are aware that questioning may be difficult for the victim of a sexual assault. Remember, this is not something you have to go through alone. You may request to have a friend or other support person with you during the police interviews.

The choice is yours, and be aware that just because you notify the police does not necessarily mean you have to prosecute the assailant(s). If you choose not to press criminal charges, you have other options available for reporting the assault.

Whether or not you choose ultimately to pursue criminal charges, you can contact the WPI Police Department for advise about sexual assaults by calling +1-508-831-5555.  Their staff are available 24 hours a day and are professionally trained and experienced in dealing with sexual assaults and rape.  They are sensitive to the feelings you may be experiencing and will be supportive and helpful to you.

College Disciplinary Action

If you have been sexually assaulted by another student or group of students and are considering using the Campus Judicial System, you are encouraged to discuss the matter with one of the Judicial System's case officers, located in the Dean of Students Office in the Campus Center. This will allow you a chance to discuss options, and review procedures should you decide to file a formal complaint to be handled by the Campus Judicial System. This discussion does not obligate you to pursue official action.

WPI strives to create an environment that is free of acts of violence. Violations of WPI's Sexual Misconduct policy will result in disciplinary action, which may include separation from the university. The various sanctions outlined in the Student Judicial Policies and Procedures handbook are applicable to students found responsible of violating WPI's Policy on Sexual Misconduct.

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