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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 activity.


Consent must be voluntarily given and is not valid:

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

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.

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

More Questions About Consent?