Consent is about communication and respect.
Consent is an agreement or permission expressed through affirmative, voluntary words or actions that are mutually understandable to all parties involved.
- Consent is given for a specific sexual act at a specific time and can be withdrawn at any time.
- Consent cannot be coerced or compelled by duress, threat, or force.
- Consent cannot be assumed based on silence, the absence of “no” or “stop,” the existence of a prior or current relationship, or prior sexual activity.
- Consent cannot be given by someone who, for any reason, cannot understand the facts, nature, extent, or implications of the sexual situation occurring. This includes, but is not limited to those who are:
- under the legal age of consent
- asleep or unconscious
- mentally or physically incapacitated through the effects of drugs or alcohol
- mentally impaired due to an intellectual or other disability
Alcohol and Consent
Consent cannot be given if a person is incapacitated by alcohol and/or drugs.
Alcohol and drugs can be used as a way to incapacitate a person so that they are less likely to say no or fight back. But that does not mean you are to blame if you are assaulted, even if you have been drinking or taking drugs.
Below are some obvious signs that a person is impaired by alcohol and/or drugs and may no longer make a clear decision about giving consent:
- If a person is stumbling or falling down;
- If a person cannot stand or walk on their own;
- If a person’s speech is slurred or they are not communicating clearly;
- If a person cannot focus their eyes or is confused about what is happening around them;
- If a person has vomited, urinated, or defecated on themselves or around them;
- If a person is sleeping or unconscious, he or she cannot give consent.
Remember, it can be difficult to assess if someone is capable of giving consent if you or they have been drinking. When in doubt, it is best to not engage in sexual activity.