Sexual Violence Prevention
Consent is defined in the Sexual Misconduct Policy and Procedures as follows:
"Consent is informed, freely and actively given, and mutually understandable words or actions that indicate a willingness to participate in a mutually agreed-upon sexual activity. Consent is mutually understandable when a reasonable person would consider the words or actions of the parties to have manifested a mutually understandable agreement between them to engage in certain conduct with each other. Consent cannot be gained by ignoring or acting in spite of the objections of another. Consent can be withdrawn at any time. Coercion, force, or threat of either invalidates consent.
Consent cannot be inferred from:
- Silence, passivity, or lack of resistance alone;
- A current or previous dating or sexual relationship alone (or the existence of such a relationship with anyone else);
- The buying of dinner or the spending of money on a date; or
- Consent previously given (i.e. consenting to one sexual act does not imply consent to another sexual act.)
Consent is not effective if it is obtained through the use of physical force, violence, duress, intimidation, coercion, or the threat, expressed or implied, of bodily injury. Whether a party used intimidation or coercion to obtain consent will be determined by reference to the perception of a reasonable person found in the same or similar circumstances.
Consent may never be given by:
- A person in Arkansas under the age of 14.
- A mentally disabled person, if their disability was reasonably knowable to a sexual partner who is not mentally disabled.
- Persons who are incapacitated (whether as a result of drugs, alcohol, or otherwise), unconscious, asleep, or otherwise physically helpless or mentally or physically unable to make informed, rational judgments. The use of alcohol or drugs does not excuse conduct that constitutes Sexual Misconduct under this Policy."
Consent has NOT been obtained if the person, male or female:
- Is incapacitated
- Is forced or pressured
- Is under the age of 14
- Changes his or her mind and wants to stop engaging in sexual activity
- Feels threatened or coerced
- Has said “no” or “I‘m not sure” or “I don’t know”
- Uses non-verbal cues such as a head nod, failure to resist, silence, or any hint of uncertainty
- Previous consensual sexual activity with you or another does not grant future consent.
Good communication is the key to healthy relationships. Best practice is for both parties to receive verbal affirmative consent, "yes", each and every time and for each and every activity.