What is “consent” in the context of sexual assault or rape?

Consent is when someone agrees, gives permission, or says “yes” to sexual contact. To be given, each person must feel free to say “yes,” “no,” or “stop” at any point. Consent can be taken back – you can say yes at first, and then change your mind. You can say yes one day, and then say no another day. Having sexual contact with someone in the past does not give that person permission to have sexual contact with you in the future if you do not consent. A person’s silence is not consent. Alcohol use or consumption of drugs can make someone incapable of giving consent. The Rape, Abuse & Incent National Network (RAINN) is the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization. They provide a helpful article about what consent looks like in real life.

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