What Is Rape?
Williams College uses the same definition of rape that Massachusetts law does: nonconsensual sexual intercourse (penis in vagina) or the insertion of other parts of body or objects in vagina or rectum, fellatio or cunnilingus. For rape, there must be penetration, however slight, by force and against will. Nonconsensual and intentional physical contact of a sexual nature which does not include penetration is classified as indecent assault and battery. Physical contact of a sexual nature may include the touching of breasts, buttocks, the pubic area or genitalia.
A survivor's case will hold up better in court if, during the rape or assault, she or he demonstrated physical or verbal resistance. The survivor is not, however, required to prove resistance if she or he was threatened with bodily injury. Also according to state law, a woman cannot be held accountable for consenting to intercourse if she is drunk. The penalty for rape in the state of Massachusetts may be up to twenty years in prison.
The most common type of rape on college campuses, including Williams, involves acquaintances, people who know one another. The use of alcohol and other drugs is a contributing factor in campus rapes; use increases student vulnerability to assault.
Although the most common type of rape that takes place at college campuses is between peers, we still must be aware that attacks by strangers may also occur.
Information About Rape, Sexual Assault, and Sexual Harassment