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Consent

What You Need to Know

Per WSU policy, consent is defined as: 

“Consent - Affirmative and freely given permission to engage in sexual activity. A person can affirm consent, or lack of consent, through words or conduct. Consent can be withdrawn at any time, irrespective of the consent which may have been given previously. Silence or absence of resistance does not, necessarily, imply consent. A complainant has not consented when the complainant is under the age they can legally consent; unconscious; unaware that the act is occurring; physically unable to resist; overcome by force, violence, concealment, or surprise; or lacks the understanding to make rational decisions or engage in responsible actions due to alcohol or other drugs, or because the complainant is temporarily or permanently impaired by a disability. 

Being intoxicated or incapacitated does not diminish one’s responsibility to obtain consent and will not be an excuse for sexual harassment and misconduct.

The University adopts other circumstances identified in Utah law as standards for determining consent as in Utah Code Ann. §76-5-406. However, criminal prosecution of offenses is subject only to standards in applicable law. 

The University considers unconsented conduct as unwelcome conduct although consent, alone, does not necessarily indicate that conduct was welcomed.” 

When thinking about consent, remember FRIES: 

  • Freely Given Consent: means all people participating in the activity have not been pressured, “convinced,”, threatened, or forced into sexual activity.
  • Reversible Consent: means anyone participating in the activity can change their mind at any time – even if they said they would do an action beforehand, or have done it before.
  • Informed Consent: means that a person can only consent to something if they have all the facts. One example is that if someone says they are using protection but they aren’t, there isn’t consent.
  • Enthusiastic Consent: means all people participating in the activity are genuinely excited and happy about what’s going to happen next. Enthusiastic consent is consent without coercion, convincing, or pressure.
  • Specific Consent: means that consent to one action does not mean consent to a different action. For example, consenting to go somewhere private to make out does not mean consenting to sex. 

Consent is NOT: 

  • Silence, the absence of “no” or a “maybe.”
  • Coercion or pressure to say “yes.” 

Hearing “NO”

There are many reasons why someone might not want to be intimate. It’s really not about “us,” and it’s always the responsibility of the person initiating the sexual activity to ask about consent.

  • DO: 
    • Thank them for feeling comfortable enough to set boundaries with you. 
    • Ask them what they want.
  • DON’T
    • Make them feel bad for saying no or rise to anger.
    • Try to change their mind.

What if both people are drunk? 

  • It is never someone’s fault if they are sexually assaulted.
  • Alcohol impairs our ability to communicate effectively and can impede decision-making. Intoxication adds a level of risk even if you know the other person. 
  • It is the responsibility of the person initiating a sexual act to ensure there is consent. If someone is too drunk to check in with their partner, they should stop.