Consent is willingly giving permission, through words and actions, for sexual activity to happen. Consent is an active and dynamic agreement that is part of a healthy sexual relationship. It’s voluntary, sober, enthusiastic, mutual, respectful, and honest. It’s part of a process that needs to be asked for at each step and it’s OK to say no if you change your mind or become uncomfortable.
- Is never assumed or implied
- Can never be obtained through threats or coercion
- Can’t be legally given if you’re drunk or high
- Is no longer present if someone changes their mind
- Is not silence or the absence of no
- Makes sex, intimacy and relationships better and more satisfying
Just because…you’re dressed in a certain way, you went on a date, they bought you dinner, you like each other, you’ve done it before, you’re in a relationship, you initially said yes…doesn’t mean yes.
Red light – Stop:
- You’re too drunk to assess the situation or give consent
- Your partner is asleep or passed out
- You want and intend to have sex no matter what
- You hope your partner will say nothing and just go with the flow
- Your partner tells you that they have changed their mind
- Due to age or position of authority there is a power imbalance between you and your partner
- Your partner says no but you try to pressure them into it
Yellow Light – Talk about it:
- You’re not sure what the other person wants
- You’re getting mixed signals
- You haven’t or can’t talk about what you want to do because there are too many people; the music is too loud etc.
- You assume you will do the same thing as last time
- Your partner stops, is not responsive, or seems to pull away
- You’re not sure if you or your partner are sober enough to give consent
- Your partner seems uncomfortable or off
- You are pushing as far as you can go sexually until the person is uncomfortable enough to tell you to stop
- You assume that because your partner is enthusiastic about one sexual act that they will be comfortable with going further
Green Light – Rock it out:
- You and your partner are both on the same page about sex
- Both of you feel safe about talking about what you want
- Both of you understand that you can stop at any time if you’re uncomfortable and that will be OK
- You’re excited and ready to explore
Alcohol and consent
Alcohol is the most widely used date rape drug. More than 50% of sexual assaults involve alcohol, which impairs judgment, lowers inhibitions, reduces the ability to give consent, and decreases the ability to resist unwanted sexual advances and activities. It also increases aggression in some people, and in conjunction with a group mentality, can lead some to engage in behaviour that is harmful and disrespectful.