Information About Consent

Definition of Consent

Consent is about communication and respect.

Consent is agreement or permission expressed through affirmative, voluntary words or actions that are mutually understandable to all parties involved.

  • Consent is given for a specific sexual act at a specific time and can be withdrawn at any time.
  • Consent cannot be coerced or compelled by duress, threat, or force.
  • Consent cannot be given by someone who, for any reason, cannot understand the facts, nature, extent, or implications of the sexual situation occurring, including, but not limited to, those who are under the legal age of consent, asleep, unconscious, mentally or physically impaired through the effects of drugs or alcohol, or mentally impaired due to an intellectual or other disability.
  • Consent cannot be assumed based on silence, the absence of “no” or “stop,” the existence of a prior or current relationship, or prior sexual activity.

Alcohol and Consent

Consent cannot be given if a person is impaired by alcohol and/or drugs.

Alcohol and drugs can be used as a way to incapacitate a person so that they are less likely to say no or fight back. But that does not mean you are to blame if you are assaulted, even if you have been drinking or taking drugs.

Below are some obvious signs that a person is impaired by alcohol and/or drugs and can no longer make a clear decision about giving consent:

  • If a person is stumbling or falling down;
  • If a person cannot stand or walk on their own;
  • If a person’s speech is slurred or they are not communicating clearly;
  • If a person cannot focus their eyes or is confused about what is happening around them;
  • If a person has urinated, defecated, or vomited on themselves or around them;
  • If a person is sleeping or unconscious, he or she cannot give consent.

Remember, being drunk is not a free pass. If you are drunk and you perform a sexual act on another drunk person, you are accountable for your behavior. The person initiating the sexual act is responsible for getting consent.

Indiana Lifeline Law

If you or someone else is in trouble, call 911, even if you are intoxicated. Under the Indiana Lifeline Law, minors are protected from legal consequences during an alcohol-related and/or substance-related emergency. So make the call. A friend’s life may depend on it.