Glossary of Terms and Definitions

Glossary Term: Consent


The active, ongoing, informed and voluntary agreement to engage in physical contact or sexual activity.

  • There is no consent when someone says or does something to show they are not consenting to an activity, including but not limited to, pushing away, silence, giving in, not removing one's own clothing.
  • Consent cannot be coerced through harassment, manipulation, threats, or abuse of power.
  • A person is unable to give consent when they are impaired and under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. Impaired judgment that leads a person to think or believe there was consent is not an excuse for sexual violence/misconduct.
  • A person is incapable of giving consent if they are asleep, unconscious, drugged, or otherwise unable to communicate.
  • The fact that consent to a sexual relationship was given in the past does not mean that consent is deemed to exist for all future sexual activity.
  • Consent cannot be assumed within the context of relationships, including dating or marriage.
  • A person can withdraw consent at any time during the course of a sexual encounter therefore consent must be on-going.
  • A person in a state of diminished judgment cannot consent.
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