Health Services

Sexual Assault and Rape

What every Williams student should know about safety and survival

Regardless of age, gender, sex, sexual orientation, class, race, ethnicity, religion, ability, lifestyle or experience, you have the right to live without fear or violence. You have the right to dress in any manner, to go to any place, and to be with any people without encountering fear or violence. You have the right to give or deny your consent to any sexual activity, regardless of what you have chosen or not chosen in the past, and you have the right to withdraw that consent after it has already been given without encountering fear or violence.

What is Sexual Assault and Rape?

Rape and Sexual Assault are, first and foremost, criminal acts defined by lack of consent.

Consent means clear, active expression by each party that shows that they wish to engage in the sexual activity.  For you to get consent means that consent is:

  • Freely given
  • Clearly communicated
  • Verbally stated
  • For this act
  • Right now
  • With you

Consent CAN NOT be given by someone who is significantly impaired by drugs or alcohol, by someone who is unconscious or asleep, or by someone who is threatened or under duress.

Sexual Assault includes but is not limited to, actual or attempted nonconsensual or forcible sexual touching, including fondling, kissing, groping, attempted sexual intercourse, digital penetration or penetration of an object by someone known or an unknown person.

Rape is sexual intercourse against a person’s will, without consent. This includes implicit threat and/or use of force and penetration. Penetration can be oral, vaginal or anal by either a body part or object. Rape also includes circumstances where an individual is not capable of giving consent due to unconsciousness or intoxication, mental impairment or being under the age of 16.

What if it happens to me?

Get to a safe place as soon as you can.

Call Campus Safety and Security at 413-597-4444 or the Elizabeth Freeman Center Hotline 866-401-2425.
If possible, do not drink, bathe, shower, douche, brush your teeth, or change your clothes. You will probably want to do all of these things but doing so may destroy evidence that will be needed should you want to pursue a case against the assailant. If you feel you must change your clothes, put the clothes (and any other items you may have had with you at the time of the assault) in a paper bag.

Get medical attention as soon as possible. It is important to know that you are physically okay. And, in the event you choose to report the assault and/or take further action against the assailant, a PERK (physical evidence recovery kit) exam is useful.

Seek counseling and other sources of support. Talking to a trained counselor can help you cope with the aftereffects of a sexual assault. Family and friends can provide much needed reassurance and support, but they are limited in how they can help. There are a number of on – and off-campus resources available that can be found on the last page of this brochure. What is important is that you are comfortable with and trust the individuals you choose to confide in.

What are my reporting options?

If you are the survivor of an act of sexual violence, you have control over the choices you can make. Reporting a sexual assault is considered crucial to the process of healing and gaining control.

Reporting can also prevent future assaults from occurring. Any survivor of sexual assault has the option of reporting the incident to Campus Safety (413-597-4444), the Rape and Sexual Assault Network (413-597-4100), the Health Center’s Sexual Assault Survivor Services (413-597-3000) or reporting directly to the Williamstown Police Department (413-458-5733).

You should report a sexual assault to the College whether or not you will pursue the incident through the College’s disciplinary system. Reporting a sexual assault to the Williamstown Police Department does not commit you to pursue further legal action.

You have the right to never, ever be blamed for an act of sexual violence perpetrated against you.

If you are a survivor of any form of sexual violence, you have the right to be believed, validated and supported. You have the right to choose which path you will take toward recovery and justice.

What about confidentiality?

In compliance with Massachusetts General Laws, all sexual assaults must be reported to the local police. The College’s report contains only general information, including the generic area where the assault occurred. This report does not include the name of the survivor or any other identifying information. Reports are made in the name of Jane/John Doe unless the student gives permission for the release of her/his name.

Institutions must make timely warnings to the campus community about crimes that pose an ongoing threat to students and employees. This is typically done via an all-campus mailing that provides general details. Every effort is made to have the survivor review the text of the mailing before it is distributed on campus. At no time is your name released. The College’s interest is in protecting your confidentiality.

FOR DETAILED INFORMATION CONSULT THE STUDENT HANDBOOK OR THE WILLIAMS COLLEGE HEALTH CENTER WEBSITE

RESOURCES:

Williams College Health Center       413-597-2206
Dean of the College                            413-597-4171
Chaplain’s Office                                413-597-2483
Psychological Counseling                 413-597-2353

24 HOUR SERVICES:

Sexual Assault Survivor Services    413-597-3000
Rape & Sexual Assault Network     413-597-4100
Elizabeth Freeman Center              866-401-2425
Berkshire Medical Center North   413-664-5256
Campus Security and Safety          413-597-4444

In a rape free society, no one would have to worry about being sexually assaulted; however, we do live in a world where rape and sexual assault occur far too frequently. There is no “right” way to prevent being sexually assaulted.
The only person who is at fault for sexual violence is the perpetrator.