What is Sexual Assault and Rape?

Emerson College will not tolerate sexual assault, as defined in this Policy, in any form. Such acts of violence are prohibited by Emerson policy, as well as state and federal laws.

Individuals who the College determines more likely than not engaged in these types of behaviors are subject to penalties up to and including dismissal or separation from Emerson, regardless of whether they are also facing criminal or civil charges in a court of law. Sexual Assault refers to any sexual act directed against another person, forcibly and/or against the person’s will; or not forcibly or against the person’s will where the survivor is incapable of giving consent, as well as incest or statutory rape.

In the criminal justice system, there are two major categories of sexual assault against adults: rape and indecent assault and battery. Rape: Unwanted, non-consensual and/or forced sexual penetration of any body orifice by another body part and/or object. Consent cannot legally be given if a person is under the age of legal consent (varies by state: 16 in MA and 18 in CA), mentally disabled, or incapacitated (intoxicated, drugged, unconscious, or asleep). Indecent Assault and Battery: Non-consensual, sexually offensive touching that does not include penetration.

What is Sexual Assault?

  • Sexual assault impacts people of all ages, genders, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, nation, social and economic status, spiritual and political persuasion, and ability.
  • Sexual assault is typically committed by an acquaintance, such as a classmate, coworker, instructor, friend, relative, partner, or someone a person just met.
  • People who commit sexual assault try to foster a false sense of trust in order to isolate another person, make sure they are incapacitated by alcohol and other drugs, and use as little force as possible.
  • Women between the ages of 16 and 24 and transgender community members have experienced the highest rates of sexual assault.
  • Consent is active, enthusiastic, mutual participation in any sexual contact. Sexual contact without active, enthusiastic, mutual participation is sexual assault.
  • Alcohol and drugs, miscommunication, are never an excuse to harm or sexually assault another person.
  • Sexual assault is a violation of another person, Emerson community standards, and state/federal law.