beth israel deaconess medical center a harvard medical school teaching hospital

Find a Doctor

Request an Appointment

left banner
right banner
Smaller Larger

Sexual Assault

Sexual assault is a crime of violence and control. Sexual assault is any type of sexual contact without consent between two or more people, regardless of their gender or marital status. In Massachusetts, there are 2 categories of sexual assault: rape and indecent assault and battery.

Rape occurs when the sexual assault involves vaginal, anal or oral penetration by a penis, other body part, or object. Rape also occurs if the victim is unable to give consent because he or she is unconscious for any reason.

Indecent assault and battery occurs when the offender has intentional physical contact of a sexual nature with the victim against the victim's consent.


If you are sexually assaulted...

Common Reactions

Sexual assault is a violent crime that has a traumatic impact on the victim. Although each person reacts differently in a crisis, it is normal to experience a wide range of emotions.  These feelings do not disappear immediately. It takes time and support to recover from this trauma.

  • You may be frightened and feel helpless and vulnerable. Rape can be a life threatening experience. Get as much support as you need!   


  • Self-doubt and self-blame are common. Remember - Rape, by definition, entails a lack of consent.  It is never the fault of the victim.


  • You may experience a loss of trust in others and in the safety of the world around you. You have survived a traumatic experience and it will take time to rebuild that trust.


  • You may experience, nightmares, flashbacks, depression and mood swings. These are normal reactions to the trauma.

Contact Information

Center for Violence Prevention and Recovery
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
330 Brookline Avenue
Boston, MA 02215