Consent

Consent is…

  • Informed. Consent is an affirmative, unambiguous, conscious agreement by each person to engage in sexual activity. Everyone engaging in the sexual activity has full knowledge and understanding of what the sexual activity entails.

  • Voluntary. Consent involves positive cooperation and must be freely given. It cannot be given if there is force, threats, menace, duress, or where a person’s free will has been compromised.

  • Revocable. Sexual activity may begin as consensual. But, once someone says “no”, says they are uncomfortable, pulls away, or any other verbal or physical indication that they want the sexual activity to stop, consent has been revoked. Anything following the withdrawal of consent becomes sexual assault, regardless of the relationship between the people involved.

Consent is NOT POSSIBLE when someone is...

  • Incapacitated. This means that a person is unable to care for themselves, which could be due to drugs or alcohol. Just to be clear, having drunk sex is not a crime. However, when someone’s ability to take care of themselves has been severely impacted due to drugs or alcohol, they are unable to give consent. If someone is incapacitated due to drugs or alcohol, they may be in and out of consciousness, unable to stand or walk, vomiting, slurring their words, or unable to communicate properly.   

  • Underage. The legal age of consent in California is 18 years old. Even if someone under the age of the 18 agrees to engage in sexual activity, they are legally unable to give consent--it is still sexual assault.

  • Unconscious. If someone is passed out, asleep, or otherwise unconscious, consent cannot be given.