University of Southern Indiana

What is Consent?


Consent is required before engaging in any sexual activity. Both individuals must give their consent.

Consent is a clear, knowing and voluntary agreement to participate in a given activity. Consent is active, not passive; silence, in and of itself, cannot be interpreted as consent. Consent can be given by words or actions, as long as those words or actions create mutually understandable, clear permission regarding willingness to engage in (and the conditions of) sexual activity.

  • Consent to any one form of sexual activity does not automatically imply consent to engage in any other forms of sexual activity.
  • Previous relationships or prior consent to engage in sexual activity with any individual does not automatically imply consent to engage in future sexual acts with the same or other individuals
  • Consent can be revoked at any time
  • In order to give effective consent, one must be of legal age

Consent IS NOT saying things like:

  • "I don't want to."
  • "Stop."
  • "I'm not sure."
  • "Maybe we shouldn't."
  • "Not right now."
  • "No."
  • Being unresponsive or unconscious
  • Using physical force or verbal coercion

This means that you have to ask each person, each time if the behavior is OK. Just because you did something in the past doesn't mean that it's OK now.

Someone who is under the influence of alcohol or drugs may not be able to give consent. An assault can occur even if both parties have been drinking. If you are unsure about the situation, the best option is to avoid sexual contact.

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