Sexual Consent. 5 Important Facts About Sexual Consent.

There have been so many discussions over the years concerning sexual consent. We experienced the #MeToo movement in 2017, which being an unprecedented event, brought up issues regarding sexual consent.

We experienced issues regarding marital rape, sex on a false promise of marriage and other sexual assault, and all of these are concerned with the concept of consent. So the question is what is sexual consent? And how much bearing does it have concerning rape, marital rape, and other sexual assault?

What is sexual consent?

Sexual consent is a clear agreement to participate in a sexual activity. Consent, to be counted as given, must be given by a consenting adult (a person who is considered old enough, by law, to decide whether they should agree to have sex),

Consent must be given unequivocally and voluntarily. So consent is freely given, reversible, informed, enthusiastic, and specific.

Any kind of sexual activity done without consent is to be considered as an offense because before being sexual with someone, you need to know if they want to be sexual with you too or not.

To be mentioned, sexual consent is an ongoing process. So every step of the way-to continue a consented activity, to move from one kind of activity to another (e.g. kissing to touching), or to have a brand new encounter–requires renewed consent.

Only yes is YES:

Only yes means yes. Maybe is no consent. No means no.

Yes and no plays a very important role when it comes to sexual consent. Only a clear “YES” means consent is given. A clear “NO” is no. Besides, silence is no consent.

What you wear, what you do, where you go, what your past behavior was has nothing to do with sexual consent, or these things never imply consent.

Moreover, most importantly, one cannot give consent if s/he high or drunk, if s/he is deceived, forced, bribed, threatened, or offered. In addition, as an ongoing process, mentioned before, consent can be withdrawn at any point of a sexual activity if s/he feels uncomfortable (even if the other has already started getting intimate.)

How to determine a valid consent?

There are certain characteristics of sexual consent. A consent must satisfy 5 conditions to be counted as a valid consent by law.

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The 5 characteristics of sexual consent are:

  1. Freely Given
  2. Reversible
  3. Informed
  4. Enthusiastic
  5. Specific

Let’s discuss these conditions briefly, yet comprehensively

1. Consent must be explicit:

No one should ever assume anything about sexual consent. Consent must be explicated. Either a very specific “YES” or a very specific “NO”. What you wear, what you do, where you go, what your past behavior was has nothing to do with sexual consent, or these things never imply consent.

Remember, any kind of non-consensual sexual activity, be it kissing or touching, is harmful and against the law.

2. Consent is reversible at any point:

Consent can be withdrawn at any time. It doesn’t matter how intimidated you are already. You have to stop the sexual activity whenever your partner says NO reverses his/her consent.

3. Both the partners must be fully informed:

You cannot give consent if you are not fully informed. Both the partners have to be fully informed about all the moves they are going make thoughout the sexual activity. For example, if you partner wants to use a condom, later doesn’t, then there is no valid consent from your part.

4. Consent needs to be specific:

Sexual activity includes touching, kissing, and eventually sex. Therefore, consent needs to be specific for each of the activities separately. Suppose, you have given consent for kissing or petting, then your partner cannot continue up to sex unless you give consent for sex seperately.

5. Consent should be given freely:

Consent must be free from any kind of influences. You cannot give consent if you are drunk, forced, coerced, or if there is any kind of undue influences. So when you are in full conscious, you understand the gravity of your consent, only then you can give consent.

For a more detailed discussion, read about Sexual Consent.

Read about another interesting area of law: Defamation.

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