What is consent?
In any healthy relationship, consent is an important piece of the puzzle.
Consent is giving permission for something to happen or be done. In the context of a healthy relationship, this is giving a dating partner permission to touch, kiss, or have sex with you. Consent should be always be given before a person starts any kind of physical activity with their dating partner.
In other words, if you want to physically interact with another person, you need to ask!
What should I do if I need help?
If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted – talk to a trusted adult. Together, you can make decisions such as how to protect you from further assault and what your next steps are.
If the attack has occurred recently, find a safe place from the person who hurt you. Understand that the attack was in no way your fault; you did nothing to provoke this. Preserve the physical evidence of the attack: do not bathe or shower, do not change clothing and do not try to clean up the area where the assault happened. Seek medical attention as soon as possible and report the attack to the police.
It is important to understand that it can take time to heal from this kind of attack, both physically and emotionally. Talk to your local sexual assault center for further resources about the healing process.
When is someone able to consent?
Every physical action a couple does together requires the consent of both people. Just because someone consents to one act does not mean they consent to any others.
If someone is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, he or she cannot consent. If a person is sleeping, unconscious or mentally impaired, they cannot consent.
How does giving consent work?
- Talk to your partner before you do something with them. Be clear about what you’re both comfortable with. Be clear on what you’re both not comfortable with too.
- Never pressure your partner into doing something they seem uncomfortable with.
- If your partner seems quiet or unresponsive, stop what you are doing and ask again, “Are you comfortable with this?” and remind them that you can stop at any time.
- If at any point your partner says “no” or “stop” or “I don’t know,” stop immediately. The only answer that gives you consent is “yes.”
Why is consent important?
Consent is important in any healthy relationship. It is a key factor in both the physical and emotional parts of dating. Consent helps people feel respected and comfortable with each other.
Ignoring consent breaks trust and hurts people. Someone who chooses not to respect their partner’s consent can be breaking the law.