What is Consent?

What is consent?

1.     Consent is an agreement between people BEFORE they engage in any kind of sexual activity. Both people have to say “YES!” clearly and confidently.


2.     Sexual activity without consent is sexual assault or rape.


3.     Consent must be willing. The decision to have any type of sexual behavior must be free of force, intimidation or coercion. Both partners must be free to make their own decision and have the option of whether or not to be intimate. Force can be either physical or emotional. Examples of physical force include kidnapping, using weapons, holding someone down or taking advantage of someone when they are incapacitated due to drug or alcohol use. Examples of emotional force include threats, peer pressure, blackmail, guilt or coercion.


4.     Consent can only happen when each person participating in the act is of legal age to consent to sexual activity.

Consent IS

Consent IS NOT

·  An agreement made when both people want to have sex

·  When both people can freely express their needs and wants without fear of their partner’s reaction

·  Mutual

·  Voluntary

·  Sober

·  Discussed before any sexual activity

·  Enthusiastic

·  Fun

•   The absence of “no”

•   Implied or assumed, even in a relationship

•   Silence or not responding

•   When someone says “yes” because they feel pressured or afraid of how their partner would respond to a “no”

•   “I’m not sure”

•   “I don’t know”

•   “I’m scared"

•   Consent for one thing does not mean consent for everything (i.e. engaging in oral sex does not mean your partner is consenting to vaginal or anal sex).

•   Consent given once does not mean always

•   Being passed out or sleeping does not equal consent




How do you know if you have consent?        


Some ways you can ask for consent:

•    I'd really like to hug / kiss / ...... you. Would you like to?

•    Do you like it when I do this?

•    Is it OK if I take off your shirt/top/bra/pants ?

•    What would you like me to do for you?


Sexual assault is sexual contact by one person against another without consent. The law defines consent as positive cooperation in act or attitude pursuant to an exercise of free will. Consent may not be inferred from silence or passivity. A current or previous relationship does not constitute consent.


·   Be aware that when a person discloses information about an assault to you, s/he is demonstrating trust in you and the desire for help.


·   Be aware that survivors can feel shame and anger towards themselves. Listen without conveying judgment. Most importantly, BELIEVE the survivor. False reports or fabrication of an assault are extremely rare (only 3%-6% of al reported rapes). Even if you are hesitant, it is always better to believe a survivor who may (or may not) be telling the truth than to not believe a survivor who is sharing their story for the first time.


·   When possible, speak to the person in private.



·   Minimize the situation.

·   Convey negative judgment, even when high-risk behavior such as intoxication is involved.

·   Try to persuade the person to make a police report if the survivor believes it will help his or her healing process). These reports can remain anonymous and do not mean the same thing as pressing charges.

·   Tell other staff members of your school/work environment about the incident except for those who need to know.


How do University of California Students Make Consent Sexy?


"I make consent sexy by having a conversation with my partner about our sex life. This includes talking about: what I do and do not feel comfortable doing, any health concerns we might have, using protection, and the importance of being honest with one another. Communication is the key!"??

"Talking about it before it happens."??

"Always respect what people want -- and start doing this by first making sure everyone's wants are out in the open!"??

"By waiting for him to get that special look in his eye and ask me first."??

"Communicating with your sexual partner, which shows them that you respect them and that you're being honest and open."??

"Mutual respect, honor, appreciation, intimacy, foreplay, understanding, communication, dialogue"

Sources on UCSB’s Campus

1. Refer the student to the Women’s Center, Rape Prevention Education Program coordinator (893-3778).

2. Refer the student to Counseling Services (893-4411).

3. If appropriate, refer the student to the Office of Equal Opportunity and Sexual Harassment/Title IX Compliance, 3217 Phelps Hall, (893-2701).

4. On the weekends or after 5:00 p.m., refer the student to the Rape Crisis Center (564-3696).

5. Inform the student that UCSB’s Sexual Assault Policy and Procedures can be accessed on the web at http://judicialaffairs.sa.ucsb.edu/CMSMedia/Documents/sapp.pdf. Printed copies are available at the Women’s Center or the Office of Equal Opportunity and Sexual Harassment/Title IX Compliance, 3217 Phelps Hall.

6. Inform the student that UCSB’s Sexual Harassment Policy can be accessed on the web at http://www.oeosh.ucsb.edu/SexualHarssment/SexualHarassment.html. Printed copies are available at the Women’s Center or the Office of Equal Opportunity and Sexual Harassment/Title IX Compliance, 3217 Phelps Hall.

7. Inform the student that information about UCSB’s Rape Prevention Education Program can be accessed on the web at http://www.sa.ucsb.edu/women/SexualandDomesticViolence/index.aspx.

8. Refer the student to the Campus Police (893-3446) if the student wants to make a police report and the incident occurred on campus or UCSB owned property, If the incident occurred in Isla Vista, refer the student to the Isla Vista Foot Patrol (681-4179).




Last Updated 20 November 2013.


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