What is consent?

Consent is an active, affirmative, conscious, direct, unimpaired, and voluntary agreement to engage and continue to engage in sexual activity.

Consent cannot be given while impaired

All of the elements of consent must be present, even if alcohol or drugs have been consumed. It is not acceptable for a person who is said to have engaged in sexual violence to use their own consumption of alcohol or drugs as an excuse for their mistaken belief that there was consent.

Consent is ongoing

Consenting to one kind of sexual activity does not mean that consent is given for another kind of sexual activity.
A person may withdraw consent at any time during the sexual activity and consent only applies to a specific instance of sexual activity.

Consent cannot be given ahead of time

The existence of a relationship or past sexual activity does not alone constitute consent. Subsequent consensual sexual activity, communication, or other conduct of a sexual nature does not suffice as evidence of consent to prior sexual activity.

Coercion

The act of using subtle pressure, drugs, alcohol, or force to have sexual contact with someone against their will. Sexual coercion is ongoing attempts to have sexual contact of some kind with another person who has already expressed that they do not want to have sexual contact.

Examples of Coercion

Strategically using impairmentThreats to withdraw affection:
Alcohol is the most widely used date rape drug. Because drinking is socially acceptable, perpetrators can camouflage their actions by employing excessive drinking to disarm a potential victim. It’s typically not the case that someone is going to slip something into your drink, but rather that they are going to buy you multiple drinks.“If you really loved me, you would have sex with me”
 
“You don’t find me attractive anymore otherwise you’d have sex with me”
 
“If we don’t have sex I don’t think we can be together”

Hounding

Hounding is when someone repeatedly asks, and through the process of wearing a victim down, they eventually receive a constrained “yes”.

Threats

Be they physical threats, or threats to harm someone else, somebody who makes you fearful to say “no” is engaging in coercive practices. If you are afraid of the repercussions of “no”, then consent is not freely-given.