Conestoga Student Success

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What is consent?

Consent is the voluntary and explicit agreement to engage in a specific sexual activity or behaviour. It requires that a person is able to freely choose between two options: yes and no. 

In order for there to be consent there must be an understandable exchange of affirmative words which indicate willingness to participate in mutually agreed upon sexual activity. 

It is the responsibility of the person initiating a sexual activity to ensure there is a clear, affirmative response communicated at all stages of sexual engagement. A person can withdraw consent at any time during the course of a sexual encounter. 

When consent is not present

It is important to understand there are many circumstances when consent cannot exist. 

  • Silence or non-communication cannot be interpreted as consent, and a person in a state of diminished judgment cannot consent. 
  • A person is incapable of giving consent if they are asleep, unconscious or otherwise unable to communicate. 
  • A person who has been threatened or coerced (i.e. is not agreeing voluntarily) to engage in sexual activity is not giving consent. 
  • A person who is drugged is unable to consent. 
  • A person is usually unable to give consent when under the influence of alcohol or drugs. 
  • A person may be unable to give consent if they have a mental disability preventing them from fully understanding the sexual acts. 
  • Consent given in the past to a sexual or dating relationship does not mean that consent is deemed to exist for all future sexual activity. 
  • A person cannot give consent to a person in a position of trust, power or authority, such as a faculty member initiating a relationship with a student who they teach or an administrator in a relationship with anyone who reports to that position.
  • Consent cannot be given on behalf of another person.
  • Consent cannot be given by someone who has not reached the age of majority (i.e. a minor). It is the responsibility of the person initiating sexual activity to know if the person they are engaging with is a minor.

Have questions or looking for more information? 

Conestoga's Sexual and Gender-Based Violence Prevention & Response Office provides help based on your individual needs. There is no timeframe for when an incident occurred for someone to access support, and you do not need to disclose what happened in order to get help. Please email sgbv@conestogac.on.ca for appointments and information. 

Reporting

If you are interested in discussing your reporting options please reach out to our office.


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