What is consent?
Consent is about communication and is an agreement between participants to engage in an activity, including sexual activity. Consent is given freely, active, conscious, and cannot be forced or coerced. Consent can be withdrawn at any time for any reason. The decision of the individual must be respected at all times.
For more information on consent please visit https://www.rainn.org/articles/what-is-consent
University of Alaska policy regarding consent
UA Board of Regents policy 09.02.20 defines consent as follows:
Consent is clear, knowing and voluntary, and can be withdrawn at any time. Consent is active, not passive and cannot be given while an individual is incapacitated. Past consent does not imply future consent. Consent to engage in sexual activity with one person does not imply consent to engage in sexual activity with another. Consent cannot be given by individuals who are not of age to give legal consent. Silence, or an absence of resistance, 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.
Incapacitation is when individuals are in a state or condition in which they are unable to make sound decisions. This can be due to sleep, age, unconsciousness, alcohol, drug use or mental and/or other disability. For example, someone who is not of legal age or ability or someone who is unable to articulate what, how, when, where, and/or with whom they desire a sexual act to take place is incapacitated.
Force is the use of physical violence and/or imposing on someone physically to gain sexual access. Force also includes threats, intimidation (implied threats) and coercion that overcome resistance or produce unwilling consent. Force invalidates consent.
Coercion is unreasonable pressure for any sexual activity. Coercive behavior differs from seductive behavior based on the type of pressure someone uses to get consent from another. When someone makes clear to you that they do not want sex, that they want to stop, or that they do not want to go past a certain point of sexual interaction, continued pressure beyond that point can be coercive. Coercion invalidates consent.
Examples include, but are not limited to:
- non-consensual sexual contact, defined as any intentional sexual touching, however slight, with any object, by one person upon another person, that is without consent;
- non-consensual sexual intercourse, defined as any sexual intercourse however slight, with any object, by one person upon another person, that is without consent
- and/or by force; sexual exploitation, defined as occurring when a person takes non-consensual or abusive sexual advantage of another for his/her own advantage or benefit, or to benefit or advantage anyone other than the one being exploited (and that behavior does not otherwise constitute one of the other gender-based or sexual misconduct offenses), including but not limited to:
- invasion of sexual privacy, such as prostituting another person, nonconsensual video or audio-taping of sexual activity, going beyond the boundaries of consent (such as secretly letting others watch consensual sex), engaging in voyeurism;