What is effective consent?
- Clear Communication Words or actions must be used to establish consent. Only a comprehensible, unambiguous, positive and enthusiastic communication of consent for each sexual act qualifies as consent. The absence of no does not equal yes. Only YES means YES.
- Freely and Willingly Effective consent must be established without any coercion, including emotional, psychological or relational pressure or infuence.
- Unimpaired Decision Making Effective consent must be established without imparment by either person. Impairment can include the effects of alcohol or other drugs. In addition, if someone is asleep, passed out, has consumed alcohol or drugs, or is in any other way impaired, she or he cannot give legal consent.
- Step-by-Step You must establish effective consent for every sex act and each time you hook up. Consenting to one sex act does not mean consenting to any other sex act. Prior sexual activity or an ongoing relationship cannot substitute for effective consent.
- Subject to Change At any point during a sexual encounter both partners should be free to change their mind. If one partner changes his or her mind, then the other partner must respect the decision to limit or end sexual contact.
Asking for consent is awkward! Do I really have to ask every time? YES! Effective consent protects you and your partner. You might think you know what your partner is or is not willing to do. You might even be right. Nonetheless, you still have to secure consent EVERY TIME. Your partner has the right to consent to or refuse a sexual act at any time – including when you are enjoying other consensual sexual activity. If you are not used to asking for or giving consent it may feel awkward at first. Do it anyway! You will get better at it.
If you want to discuss issues around consent, feel free to contact Becca Bishopric, Coordinator for Health Promotion – Violence Prevention and Response at 336-278-5009 or through email at firstname.lastname@example.org.