What is Consent?
- A voluntary, sober, imaginative, enthusiastic, creative, wanted, informed, mutual, honest, and verbal agreement.
- An active agreement: Consent cannot be coerced.
- A process, which must be asked for every step of the way; if you want to move to the next level of sexual intimacy, just ask.
- Never implied and cannot be assumed, even in the context of a relationship. Just because you are in a relationship does not mean that you have permission to have sex with your partner.
What if the person you’re with is unable to give consent?
Drugs and alcohol can affect people’s ability to make decisions, including whether or not they want to be sexual with someone else. This means that if someone is really out of it, they cannot give consent. Being with them in a sexual way when they don’t know what is going on is the same as rape.
If you see a person who is unable and is being intimate with someone, you should pull them aside and try your best to make sure that person is safe and knows what he or she is doing. If it’s the opposite situation, and your friend is trying to engage in a sexual encounter with someone who is out if it, you should try to pull them aside and stop them from continuing their behavior.
Recognizing Non-Verbal Communication
There are many ways of communicating. The look on a person's face or their body language are also a way of communicating. Often non verbal communication has more meaning than the words that come out of their mouth.
Some examples of non verbal communication that signal a person is uncomforatable with the situation are:
- Not responding to your touch
- Pushing you away
- Holding their arms tightly around their bodies
- Turning away from you or hiding their face
- Stiffening muscles
Asking questions and being aware of body language helps you to determine if the person is consenting and feeling comfortable, or not consenting and feeling uncomfortable. If you get a negative or non-committal answer to any of the questions above, or if the person's body language resembles any of the above examples, you should stop what you are doing and talk to them about it.
You always have the right to say “no”. You always have the right to change your mind at any time regardless of your past experience with the person or others. Below are some things you can say or do if you want so stop:
- Say “No”
- Say “I want to stop”
- Say “I need to go to the bathroom/toilet”
- In a situation where the other person isn’t listening to you and you feel unsafe, say you are feeling sick and might vomit.
If someone has attempted or completed a sexual act without your consent...Know it is not your fault and there are numerous On and Off Campus Resources.