Building a Culture of Consent

Clarifying the concept of consent and its importance in building healthy relationships.

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What is Consent?

Affirmative, conscious, and voluntary agreement to engage in sexual activity.

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Clear with Ongoing Communication

Consent is a continuous agreement between partners about what they do and don’t want. It’s a safe, open dialogue about activities you both enjoy and feel comfortable with.

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Every Encounter Requires Consent

Every encounter requires fresh consent, regardless of past experiences or relationship status. You can always change your mind, and your partner is always free to say no.
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In a healthy relationship, you always have the right to set and adjust your boundaries based on what you’re comfortable with in the moment

Consent is not assumed as a given just because of a past or existing relationship.

What Consent is Not:

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Your Relationship Status Isn’t Consent

Whether it’s the first time or the hundredth, a casual or committed relationship, nobody is ever obligated to give consent, even if you’ve done so before. You are the only one with ownership of your body.

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A Free Pass

Saying yes to one act doesn’t imply your consent to others and every act of physical intimacy requires its own consent. If you feel uncomfortable in the moment, you always have the right to stop, even if you previously agreed.

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Implied Consent

Flirting with someone, talking to them, or the absence of ‘no’ are not consent. Consent only happens when all parties voluntarily, explicitly, and enthusiastically agree.

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If anyone feels uncomfortable or non-consensual, it’s crucial to stop

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Fear or Pressure are Red Flags

It’s not consent if you’re afraid or unable to say no, or manipulated, pressured, or threatened to say yes. It’s not consent if you or your partner are unable to give consent, including if you’re asleep, unconscious, or under the influence of substances like alcohol, some prescription medications, and other drugs.

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Non-Consent Means Stop

If anyone involved isn’t consenting, then what’s happening is or could be rape, sexual assault, or abuse.
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You Can Change Your Mind

Even if you said yes 30 seconds ago, you can change your mind. Even if you consented to something last time, you can change your mind this time.

Consent Starts Early

We should start talking about consent with our children when they are young. Consent is important for kids to learn about from an early age. It can lead to better relationships with family, friends, peers and, eventually, romantic partners. Here are some of our favorite resources:

Consent FRIES acronym. It stands for Freely Given, Reversible, Informed, Enthusiastic, and Specific
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