What is Affirmative Consent?

For the full policy definition of consent, see the Policy on Sexual and Gender-Based Harassment and Other Forms of Interpersonal Violence

Affirmative Consent is:

Affirmative consent is not the absence of a no, but the presence of a yes.

Affirmative Consent cannot be obtained by Force. There are four types of force:

Silence or passivity does not equal consent. Relying only on non-verbal communication can lead to misunderstandings. When in doubt, ask! It’s important to know what your partner is comfortable with and where their boundaries are.

Understanding Incapacitation

Affirmative Consent cannot be gained by taking advantage of the incapacitation of another, where the person initiating sexual activity knew or reasonably should have known that the other was incapacitated. Incapacitation means that a person lacks the ability to make informed, rational judgments about whether or not to engage in sexual activity.

Incapacitation is a state beyond drunkenness or intoxication. A person is not incapacitated merely because they have been drinking or using drugs.

There are some common signs that should alert you that someone might be incapacitated. Typical signs include slurred or incomprehensible speech, unsteady gait, combativeness, emotional volatility, vomiting, or incontinence.

A person who is incapacitated may not be able to understand some or all of the following questions: “Do you know where you are?” “Do you know how you got here?” “Do you know what is happening?” “Do you know whom you are with?”

If one has doubt about either party’s level of intoxication, the safe thing to do is to forego all sexual activity. Being impaired by alcohol or other drugs is no defense to any violation of this policy.

Guidelines for Affirmative Consent: