Sexual Violence Awareness & Prevention

At HCC, we are committed to fostering civility, respect and an environment free of violence. We believe that everyone can play a role in stopping sexual violence. The information provided here is intended to educate the members of our community and increase awareness of this important issue. 

About Sexual Violence

Sexual violence can come in many forms, including harassment and stalking, incest, domestic and dating violence, and sexual assault by a partner, acquaintance or stranger. These behaviors exist on a spectrum that ranges from inappropriate remarks to controlling behavior, harassment, coercion and violence. When we talk about stopping sexual violence, we don't just mean interrupting a sexually violent event, but halting these behaviors before they advance to sexual violence.

Sexual violence is prohibited under Title IX of the Educational Amendment Act of 1972, state law and the Policy on Affirmative Action. Under the Board of Higher Education/Massachusetts Community Colleges' Policy on Affirmative Action, Equal Opportunity & Diversity ("Policy on Affirmative Action") sexual violence is defined as any sexual activity where consent is not obtained or able to be freely given. This includes intimate partner violence, such as stalking, dating violence, or domestic violence.  

What is Domestic Violence?

Domestic violence is a pattern of abusive behavior in an intimate relationship that is used by one partner to gain or maintain power and control over another partner. Domestic violence can be:

  • Physical
  • Sexual
  • Emotional
  • Economic
  • Psychological

Actions that intimidate, manipulate, humiliate, isolate, frighten, terrorize, coerce, threaten, blame, hurt, injure, or wound are used to maintain control.*

Domestic Violence Facts

  • One in every four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime.
  • An estimated 1.3 million women are victims of physical assault by an intimate partner each year.
  • 85% of domestic violence victims are women.
  • Females who are 20-24 years of age are at the greatest risk of nonfatal intimate partner violence.
  • Most cases of domestic violence are never reported to the police.

What is Sexual Assault?

Sexual assault is any type of sexual contact or behavior that occurs without explicit consent. This includes:

  • Inappropriate touching
  • Attempted rape
  • Vaginal, anal, or oral penetration
  • Rape
  • Incest
  • Child molestation

Sexual assault can be verbal, visual, or anything that forces a person to join in unwanted sexual contact or attention. Examples of this are voyeurism (when someone watches private sexual acts), exhibitionism (when someone exposes him/herself in public) and sexual harassment. It can happen in the home of someone you know, on a date, or by a stranger in an isolated place.

Consensual sexual activity involves the presence of the word "yes" — without incapacitation of alcohol, drugs, pressure, force, threat or intimidation. Consent can be withdrawn at any time without fear of humiliation or retaliation. Silence does not indicate consent.  

Sexual Assault Facts

  • One in five women are victims of completed or attempted sexual assault while in college.
  • Most victims know their perpetrators: 2/3 of rapes were committed by someone known to the victim.
  • Parties are often the site of the crime: a 2007 study found that 58% of incapacitated rapes and 28% of forced rapes took place at a party.
  • Men and boys are also at risk: 1 in 71 men - or almost 1.6 million - have been raped during their lives.
  • Rape and sexual assault are never the victim's fault—no matter where or how it happens.

*United States Department of Justice


Holyoke Community College
303 Homestead Ave. Holyoke, MA 01040