Who we are, and what we do
Pathways for Change, Inc. was established in 1973 as the Rape Crisis Program of Worcester and incorporated in 1981. In 1993, having expanded beyond the City of Worcester to our current service area (47 cities and towns in the Greater Worcester, Leominster/Fitchburg and Gardner areas), we changed our name to The Rape Crisis Center of Central Massachusetts. The Agency recognized in 2010 that the needs of our community in addressing this issue had changed. Following a period of introspection and surveying our clients and community, the Agency was reborn in August, 2011 as Pathways for Change, Inc. with a renewed focus and dedication to our Mission.
With a long standing record of accomplishments and a commitment to reaching the diverse communities within Central Massachusetts, Pathways is proudly one of the leading rape crisis centers in Massachusetts and has served as an example of promising practices nationally. Since opening our doors in 1973, Pathways has been committed to the development of comprehensive services to the communities within our service area. These services include 24 hour crisis intervention, support groups, counseling and advocacy for Survivors of sexual assault and abuse as well as prevention education, professional training and community outreach.
We operate from a community-organizing model, realizing that real solutions to sexual violence must involve a wide range of community involvement. This is the underlying philosophy of our volunteer program as well as our work with neighborhoods, organizations, churches, schools, and collaborations with other agencies. Community organizing includes providing assistance in the aftermath of sexual assault while at the same time building our community’s competency to prevent it in a proactive and coordinated manner.
Mission & Spiral
Mission: Provide inclusive and fully accessible services to those whose lives have been impacted by sexual violence along with education geared toward ending sexual violence, across Central Massachusetts.
The Spiral…Symbolizing the healing journey for survivors.
The spiral represents the inward and outward journey that a Survivor takes in the aftermath of Sexual Violence. As Survivors travel inward, they are getting support, gaining strength and building resilience to then travel outward with new knowledge and awareness, empowered and ready to re-engage with the world as the impact of sexual violence diminishes. Likewise, our community also travels this spiral path in both directions as we move toward a violence free society.
About Sexual Violence
What is Sexual Violence?
Sexual Violence means that someone forces or manipulates someone else into unwanted sexual activity without their consent . Reasons someone might not consent include fear, age, illness, disability, and/or influence of alcohol or other drugs. Sexual Violence does not descriminate, it affects people of all genders, ages, races, religions, incomes, abilities, professions, ethnicities, and sexual orientations. Anyone can experience sexual violence including: children, teens, adults, and elders. Those who perpetrate sexual violence can be acquaintances, family members, trusted individuals or strangers.
Some Common Forms of Sexual Violence:
- Forced or coerced Rape or sexual assault
- Child sexual assault, abuse and incest
- Intimate partner sexual assault
- Unwanted sexual contact/touching
- Sexual harassment
- Sexual exploitation
- Coerced “Sexting” (transmitting/sending sexually inappropriate images)
- Obscene phone calls
- Showing one’s genitals or naked body to other(s) without consent
- Masturbating in public (Exhibitionism)
- Watching someone in a private act without their knowledge or permission (Voyeurism)
FACTS about Sexual Violence:
- Chances are you know someone who is a survivor of sexual violence
- The perpetrator is most often known to the survivor
- It is never the survivors fault
- RAPE is the least reported and convicted violent crime in the U.S.
- Sexual Violence IS preventable
- Healing is possible. Help is available.