An important concept for all of us, regardless of age, is one of consent.
Consent is the most misunderstood concept in comprehending the issues around interpersonal violence. Learning how to talk about consent, gain consent, and refuse consent can help clarify each person’s responsibility to minimize the risk of unwanted sexual contact.

Consent is:

  • 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, you should 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

Consent is NOT:

  • If someone says no repeatedly and finally says yes
  • If someone is incapacitated by substances
  • If someone has only agreed to an earlier act
  • If someone says nothing
  • If someone is never asked for consent
  • If someone has been made to feel that they must say yes
  • If someone uses their position of power or authority to coerce or manipulate someone into saying yes

How do you know that someone has given consent?

The only way to know for sure if someone has given consent is if they tell you. It’s not always easy to let people know that you are not happy about something. Sometimes the person you’re with might look like they are happy doing something, but inside they are not. They might not know what to say or how to tell you that they are uncomfortable. One of the best ways to determine if someone is uncomfortable with any situation, especially with a sexual one, is to simply ask.