What is Consent?
WHAT IS CONSENT?
Sexual intimacy requires that all participants consent to the activity. Consent between two or more people is defined as an affirmative agreement–through clear actions or words–to engage in sexual activity. The person giving the consent must act freely, voluntarily, and with an understanding of his or her actions when giving the consent. Lack of protest or resistance does not constitute consent, nor does silence mean consent has been given. Relying solely on non-verbal communication can lead to misunderstanding. Persons who want to engage in sexual activity are responsible for obtaining consent–it should never be assumed. A prior relationship or prior sexual activity is not sufficient to demonstrate consent.
Consent must be present throughout the sexual activity–at any time, a participant can communicate that he or she no longer consents to continue the activity. If there is confusion as to whether anyone has consented or continues to consent to sexual activity, it is essential that the participants stop the activity until the confusion can be clearly resolved.
- is about communication.
- is an informed, voluntary, wanted, sober, mutual & verbal agreement to engage in sexual activity.
- must be asked every step of the way. Consent for one activity does not mean consent for another.
- is never implied or assumed.
- is not coerced.
- can be withdrawn at any time for any reason.
- is NOT dressing sexy, flirting, accepting a ride, a drink, etc.
- is NOT saying “yes” while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- is NOT saying “yes” because of pressure or fear.
Five pillars of Consent
One way in which we can ensure our own behavior is respectful of others is by following the five pillars of consent. Consent must be: revocable, conscious, enthusiastic, verbal, and ongoing.
Consent is an expression of respect for the right to self-determination and autonomy. It means that we think that individuals are the best people to make decisions about themselves, and for themselves, and that they shouldn’t be subjected to treatment that they don’t want.