Consent is knowing, voluntary and clear permission by word or action, by all participants to a sexual activity. Since individuals may experience the same interaction in different ways, it is the responsibility of each party to make certain that the other has consented before engaging in the activity. For consent to be valid, there must be a clear expression in words or actions that the other individual consented to that specific sexual conduct.

  • A person who is incapacitated due to sleep, alcohol, or drugs cannot consent
  • Consent cannot be given when force or coercion was used to gain sexual access
  • Consent to some sexual contact (such as kissing or fondling) cannot be presumed to be consent for other sexual activity (such as intercourse)
  • Past consent to engage in sexual activity cannot be presumed to be consent to engage in sexual activity in the future
  • Silence or the absence of resistance alone is not consent
  • A person can withdraw consent at any time during sexual activity
  • No person who is underage can ever consent to sexual activity of any kind

The existence of consent is based on the totality of the circumstances, including the context in which the alleged incident occurred and any similar previous patterns that may be evidenced.