What Is Sexual Assault

Sexual assault can be defined as any type of sexual activity that is not agreed to and is unwanted, including:

  • inappropriate touching
  • rape, which includes vaginal, anal, or oral penetration
  • attempted rape
  • engaging in any type of sexual activity (physical, verbal or visual) with a child, even if the child says “yes” at the time
  • sexual contact while someone is sleeping or incapacitated due to alcohol or other drugs

There are several crimes that one or more of these behaviors may fit under. Some non-physical sexual behavior may also be considered assault or harassment. Examples of this are voyeurism (when someone watches private sexual acts), exhibitionism (when someone exposes him/herself in public), and verbal sexual harassment.

Did you know?

  • The vast majority of sexual assaults are perpetrated by someone that the victim/survivor knows.
  •  Sexual assault can happen in different situations, in an isolated place, on a date, or in the home. Sexual assault can happen during the day or the night.
  •  1 out of every 3 women and 1 out of 7 men will be the victim of sexual assault during her/his lifetime. Sexual assault can happen to anyone no matter thier gender, age, race, sexual orientation, ability, religion, or economic status.

Reporting Assaults

The UMass Police Department strives to offer the best police and social services to survivors of sexual assaults. We can help. The UMass Police Department has access to sexual assault investigators, 24 hours per day, 7 days a week. If you'd like to speak to an investigator, please either call the UMass Police Department at 413-545-2121 or come to the station, 585 East Pleasant Street, Amherst, MA.


585 East Pleasant Street
Amherst, MA 01003-9600

413-545-2121 non-emergency
413-545-3111 emergency or 911
413-545-3113 fax


Call 413-577-TIPS (8477) or use our Anonymous Witness Form.