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What is Consent?

Consent is clear, voluntary, and unambiguous agreement, expressed in mutually understandable words or actions, which a reasonable person would interpret as an agreement to participate in a particular sexual activity.

Consent is not:

  • Making assumptions about a person's willingness to participate in an activity based on how they're dressed, how many drinks they have had, etc.;
  • The absence of a "no;"
  • Pressuring someone through fear or intimidation;
  • Silence;
  • Assuming it's okay because the person has done a particular sexual activity before; or
  • Assuming that if you have consent for one sexual activity then you have consent for all sexual activities.

REMEMBER: If you're in doubt, assume that you don't have consent. Stop and don't go any further until you have clear, verbal consent.

Consent must be voluntarily given and is not valid:

  1. if obtained by physical force, threat of physical force, or coercion,
  2. when a person is incapacitated;
  3. when mentally and/or physically vulnerable, or otherwise unaware that sexual activity is occurring;
  4. when an intellectual or other disability prevents a person from having the capacity to give consent; or
  5. if a person is under the age of 16 in New Hampshire or Vermont.

More Questions About Consent