Consent is agreeing to an action based on your knowledge of what that action involves, the consequences of that action, and having the option of saying no. In a sexual situation, consent works the same way – before engaging in a specific sexual activity, an agreement must be made between the partners.
The problem some students have with this concept is that some forms of consent are more effective than others. Thus, EFFECTIVE CONSENT IS…
- Unambiguous: Effective consent is when partners demonstrate a clear and mutual understanding of exactly what they are consenting to and permit that activity to happen
- Freely given: Consent cannot be coerced or gained by trickery, intimidation, threats or acts of violence. Any form of sexual activity attempted or committed by a student at any component within the University of Houston System (“UHS”) with another without their consent is sexual assault, a possible violation of, and perhaps the law
- Active: A person can give consent and then change his or her mind. Therefore, the best practice would be that you ask your partner for consent at every stage of the sexual experience; if you want to move to the next level of sexual intimacy, ask your partner if that’s what he or she wants to do. If you do not ask for consent, you are at risk of doing something the other person does not want you to do. You might disrespect and/or hurt someone. Worse yet, you might put yourself at risk of breaking the policy or the law by committing a sexual assault
- Unassuming: Consent cannot be implied or assumed, meaning, someone’s silence does not equal consent or a “YES!” Moreover, someone “freezing” – or failing to fight to keep the person from performing an unwanted sexual act is also not consent. To make sure you and your partner are safe, make sure you don’t assume anything and get the “YES!” before you make your move.
Dr. Richard Anthony Baker
4367 Wheeler St
Houston, TX 77204
For more information regarding sexual misconduct awareness, prevention, and other resources, please visit Salutations or uhsystem.edu/students/salutations.