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Sexual Assault Resources

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Definitions

Sexual assault, rape and other forms of sexual discrimination and harassment are crimes of violence and control. Below are short summaries of how these crimes are defined under Massachusetts law and/or used in this policy.

Consent

In Massachusetts, it is illegal to have sex under any circumstances with someone who is incapable of giving consent due to incapacity or impairment; incapacity or impairment may be caused by intoxication or drugs, or because a victim is underage, mentally impaired, unconscious, or asleep. For purposes of this policy, consent is an explicitly communicated, reversible, mutual agreement to which all parties are capable of making a decision.

Sexual Assault

Sexual assault is broadly defined in this policy as any sexual activity that is forced, coerced or otherwise without consent. Sexual assault that does not meet the legal definition of rape may be prosecuted under Massachusetts laws prohibiting indecent assault and battery.

Rape

Rape is one form of sexual assault. Massachusetts courts have held that the crime of rape has the following elements:

  1. penetration of any bodily orifice by any object;
  2. force or threat of force; and
  3. an unwilling victim.

The state statutory definition of rape >

Domestic Violence, Dating Violence and Stalking

Sexual discrimination and harassment can also take the form of domestic violence, dating violence and/or stalking. These are crimes under Massachusetts law and are strictly prohibited at Smith College. By law, the college is required to track reports of these crimes involving Smith College students. Please be advised that Massachusetts law defines these crimes as follows below.

Domestic and Dating Violence

The primary domestic violence law in Massachusetts is Massachusetts General Laws Ch. 209A, titled the Domestic Relations Abuse Prevention Law. This law includes situations of abuse involving unmarried persons in dating or other relationships, as set forth below. "Abuse" is defined by M.G.L. Ch. 209A, ยง 1 as: "the occurrence of one or more of the following acts between family or household members:

"Family or household members" are defined as "persons who:

  1. the length of time of the relationship;
  2. the type of relationship;
  3. the frequency of interaction between the parties; and
  4. if the relationship has been terminated by either person, the length of time elapsed since the termination of the relationship."

Stalking

Stalking is defined and criminalized by Massachusetts General Laws Ch. 265, § 43 (a):

"Whoever willfully and maliciously engages in a knowing pattern of conduct or series of acts over a period of time directed at a specific person which seriously alarms or annoys that person and would cause a reasonable person to suffer substantial emotional distress and makes a threat with the intent to place the person in imminent fear of death or bodily injury, shall be guilty of the crime of stalking and shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for not more than 5 years or by a fine of not more than $1,000, or imprisonment in the house of correction for not more than 2 1/2 years or by both such fine and imprisonment. The conduct, acts or threats described in this subsection shall include, but not be limited to, conduct, acts or threats conducted by mail or by use of a telephonic or telecommunication device or electronic communication device including, but not limited to, any device that transfers signs, signals, writing, images, sounds, data, or intelligence of any nature transmitted in whole or in part by a wire, radio, electromagnetic, photo-electronic or photo-optical system, including, but not limited to, electronic mail, internet communications, instant messages or facsimile communications."

These summaries are for informational purposes only. For more information about the legal elements of these crimes, please review the applicable statutes and seek legal counsel.

Other Terms of Discrimination

The college prohibits sexual or any other kind of harassment or intimidation, whether committed by or against a student, faculty member, supervisor, coworker, vendor or visitor. Harassment has no place in our community, whether based on a person's race, sex, color, creed, religion, national/ethnic origin, age, handicap, sexual orientation or disabled veteran/Vietnam-era veteran status. See also the Policy on Sexual Harassment and the Policy on Hazing.