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Definition of Consent

Consent is defined as an active, knowing, and voluntary exchange of affirmative words and/or actions that indicate and effectively communicate a willingness to participate in a particular sexual activity. It is the responsibility of the initiator to obtain clear and affirmative responses at each stage of sexual involvement.

  • In order to give consent, a person must be of the legal age of consent. Under most circumstances, the age of consent in Connecticut is 16.
  • Consent must be freely and actively given.
  • Silence, the lack of resistance, or the lack of a negative response is not consent.
  • A person who is incapacitated by alcohol and/or drugs, whether voluntarily or involuntarily consumed, cannot give consent.
  • A person who is asleep cannot give consent.
  • Consent to one form of sexual activity does not indicate consent to another form of sexual activity.
  • Neither past consent nor a past relationship indicates current or future consent.
  • Consent to engage in sexual activity with one person does not imply consent to engage in sexual activity with another.
  • Consent can be withdrawn at any time; and
  • Coercion, force, or threat of either invalidates consent.

Consent must be freely and meaningfully given. Consent cannot be freely and meaningfully given if the person whose consent is needed is incapacitated, or if the consent is obtained by means of force or coercion. For purposes of this Sexual Violence Policy:

Incapacitation is a state where someone cannot make rational, reasonable decisions due to a lack of capacity to give knowing consent, (i.e., to understand the “who, what, when, where, why, and how” of sexual interaction).

  • Sexual activity with someone who is—or based on circumstances should reasonably have known to be—mentally or physically incapacitated (i.e., by alcohol or other drug use, unconsciousness, or blackout) constitutes a violation of this Sexual Violence Policy.
  • A person whose incapacity results from mental disability, sleep, involuntary physical restraint, or from the consumption (voluntary or otherwise) of incapacitating drugs cannot give consent.
  • Alcohol-related incapacity results from a level of alcohol ingestion that is more severe than impairment, being under the influence, drunkenness or intoxication.

Force is the use of physical violence and/or imposing on someone physically to gain sexual access.

Coercion is unreasonable pressure for sexual activity, including without limitation the use of threats, intimidation, or emotional manipulation to persuade someone to do something they may not want to do, such as being sexual or performing certain sexual acts. Being coerced into having sex or performing sexual acts is not consenting sex and is considered sexual misconduct.