What is consent?
Consent is an agreement that is willfully given without any external pressure or factors. Communication is key, boundaries should be established before, during, and after sexual activity. In order for someone to consent to sexual activity participants must continuously communicate before, during, and after sexual activity- this is the only way to establish clear boundaries between participants and allows for a relaxing experience.
Consent does not always have to be verbal, but discussing boundaries, expectations, and consent between participants at each sexual encounter is the best way to avoid confusion and respect boundaries.
Consent must be given
Sexual coercion is when someone pressures, uses drugs or alcohol, or forces sexual contact with a person against his or her will.
- When a person persistently attempts to have sexual contact with someone after refusal.
- When a person makes another feel like he or she owes them sexual contact. (Ex. “ But I bought dinner…” “We have been together for so long…” “I have been waiting all day for this…” “You’ve already gotten me turned on.”)
- When a person gives excessive, insincere compliments to get another to agree to sexual contact. (Ex.“You’re so sexy I can’t control myself around you.” “I’ve thought about it and I think you would look so good naked”)
- When someone badgers, yells, or holds a person down to have sexual contact
- When someone gives, or persistently encourages the use of, drugs or alcohol to loosen someone up. (Ex: “Let’s liquor you up.”)
- When someone pressures or threatens another to agree to sexual contact because they are in a relationship (Ex: “If you love me, you would do this.” “If you don’t have sex with me I will just go find someone who will.”)
- When someone reacts with sadness or anger when another says no. (Ex: “If you don’t have sex with me you don’t love me.” “You’re a slut so what’s your problem with me?”)
- When someone continues to pressure another when he or she says no. (Ex: “I am just going to tell everyone we had sex anyway so we may as well.”)
- When someone claims they “need it” or normalizes expectations. (Ex. “Guys just need it.” “You’re going to give me blue balls.”)
Sexual assault refers to sexual contact or behavior that happens without explicit consent of the victim.
- Attempted rape
- Fondling or unwanted sexual touching
- Forcing a victim to perform sexual acts on the perpetrator
- Forcible sodomy: anal or oral sex against a person’s will
- Forcible object penetration: penetrating someone’s vagina or anus, or causing that person to penetrate her or himself, against that person’s will
- Rape: penetration of the victim’s body
How to Support a Victim of Sexual Assault
When a friend or family member is sexually assaulted you may struggle to come up with ways to support them. The resources below provide guidance on how to navigate these situations and provide support without triggering and while respecting the victim’s privacy.