How to Know What Affirmative Consent Really Is
Affirmative Consent must be informed, voluntary, and active, meaning that, through the demonstration of clear words or actions, a person has indicated permission to engage in mutually agreed-upon sexual activity. Affirmative Consent can be withdrawn at any time, and cannot be obtained by force, expressed or implied, or when physical violence, threats, intimidation and/or coercion is used. Affirmative consent to one form of sexual activity does not, by itself, constitute Affirmative Consent to another form of sexual activity. Past consent to sexual activity with another person does not imply ongoing future consent with that person or consent to the same sexual activity with another person.
Silence, absence of protest, or absence of resistance does not imply Affirmative Consent. Relying solely on non-verbal communication before or during sexual activity can lead to misunderstanding and may result in violation of the Policy on Sexual Misconduct. In order to avoid confusion or ambiguity, participants are encouraged to talk with one another before engaging in sexual activity. If confusion or ambiguity arises during sexual activity, participants are encouraged to stop and clarify a mutual willingness to continue the activity.
Affirmative consent cannot be gained by the taking advantage of the incapacitation of another, where the person initiating sexual activity knew or reasonably should have known that the other was incapacitated. Incapacitation means that a person lacks the ability to make informed, rational judgments about whether to engage in sexual activity.
A person who is incapacitated is unable to give affirmative consent because of mental or physical incapacitation or impairment, which may include sleep, unconsciousness, or lack of awareness that sexual activity is taking place. A person may be incapacitated as a result of the consumption of alcohol or other drugs, or due to a temporary or permanent physical or mental health condition. When evaluating whether someone consented to sexual activity after consuming alcohol or drugs, the University will consider whether a reasonable person would have known about the impact of alcohol and other drugs on the other party’s ability to give consent.
This is not Affirmative Consent:
- When it comes to sex, silence is not consent.
- Flirting is not consent.
- Being in a relationship is not consent.
- Consent for one thing is not consent for everything.
- Dressing in sexy clothing is not consent.
- Having had sex before is not consent now.
- Being too drunk or too high to say no is not consent.
- Being passed out is not consent.
- Being afraid to say no is not consent.
- Making out is not consent.
- Going into a bedroom is not consent.
- “Maybe” is not consent.
- “No” is not consent.