What is Consent?
According to the West's Encyclopedia of American Law consent is: Voluntary Acquiescence to the proposal of another; the act or result of reaching an accord; a concurrence of minds; actual willingness that an act or an infringement of an interest shall occur. Consent is an act of reason and deliberation. A person who possesses and exercises sufficient mental capacity to make an intelligent decision demonstrates consent by performing an act recommended by another. Consent assumes a physical power to act and a reflective, determined, and unencumbered exertion of these powers. It is an act unaffected by Fraud, duress, or sometimes even mistake when these factors are not the reason for the consent...In the context of rape, submission due to apprehension or terror is not real consent.
What does this mean for teens?
- If alcohol IN ANY AMOUNT or drugs of ANY KIND are involved CONSENT CANNOT BE GIVEN. Any sexual activity that occurs is assault or rape.
- If someone is ASLEEP, PASSED OUT, or otherwise UNCONSCIOUS, consent CANNOT BE GIVEN. Any sexual activity that occurs is assault or rape.
- UNLESS you get a clear, definitive and un-coerced verbal "yes" then assume that you DO NOT HAVE CONSENT and any sexual activity that occurs is assault or rape.
Sexual consent is like pregnancy, there is no grey area - you either have consent or
your are committing a crime and subjecting someone to sexual assault and/or rape.
Talk to your teens. It may be an uncomfortable or embarrassing conversation, but it is one that needs to happen. Clearly there is a disconnect between the conversations we, as a society, and the realities that our teens are facing daily.