Did you know that as many as 10% of sexual assault crime reports are false? Although this is a serious occurrence, it’s essential to understand what you should do if you’ve been accused. It’s also crucial to understand informed consent, as well as the different types of consent.
So, what is informed consent? Let’s take a closer look.
What Is Informed Consent?
Informed consent is the agreement to engage in an activity, such as sexual activity, that occurs when all parties involved have been properly informed of the risks and benefits of participating. In order for a person to give informed consent, they must be capable of understanding what they are consenting to and make an educated decision without any pressure or coercion.
This means that they must be in the right state of mind and given all relevant information to make a conscious decision that is voluntary.
Types of Consent
There are three main types of consent: verbal, nonverbal, and written. Verbal consent involves an agreement between two parties that is spoken aloud and can be revoked at any time.
Nonverbal consent is the agreement between two parties that is acted out, such as a nod of the head or holding hands. Written consent in a scenario like this generally exists in the form of texts or instant messages.
For example, written consent might include messages that establish a time and meeting place.
Can Consent to Be Revoked?
Yes, consent can be revoked at any time. This means that if either party changes their mind or feels uncomfortable during an activity, they have the right to stop and withdraw consent.
It’s important to note that if a person is unable to give informed consent due to incapacitation, such as being asleep or under the influence of drugs/alcohol, then consent cannot be given.
When Are the Lines of Consent Blurred?
There are times when the lines of consent can be blurred, such as if one party is in a position of power over another.
This often occurs in workplace dynamics. It can also occur in the military or a similar organization. As previously mentioned, alcohol can also play a role in whether or not somebody can give consent. The same can be said about drug use.
In these cases, it’s important to make sure that both parties understand all of the risks and benefits associated with engaging in an activity before giving informed consent.
What if Someone Revokes Consent After an Interaction?
If someone revokes consent after an encounter, it’s important to respect their wishes. Even if a person agreed to an activity at one moment in time, they have the right to change their mind and revoke their consent at any point.
It’s also important to remember that no means no — even if both parties were previously in agreement. However, it’s not uncommon for someone to regret or feel ashamed of their decision to engage in sexual activity with someone. Sometimes, they attempt to take action against the other individual even though consent was present at the time.
This is why it is so important for you to understand the laws surrounding this occurrence.
When Might a Situation Like This Happen?
We can take a look at a brief scenario to gain more insight:
David and his friends decide to go downtown to celebrate his birthday. They spend a few hours going to different bars and binge drinking.
Toward the end of the night, David meets a girl named Emily. The two hit it off and continue drinking together. David’s friends go home for the evening.
Emily invites David back to her place, and the pair takes an Uber there. After drinking wine, they have sex before David eventually Ubers home.
The next morning, Emily awakens to furious text messages from her boyfriend about why she stopped talking to him last night. Overcome with guilt, she eventually comes to the conclusion that she was too drunk to give consent to David and that she was assaulted.
She then calls the police and files a report.
How Could David Have Protected Himself In a Situation Like This?
One of the most important steps David could take is to provide evidence that consent was present at the time of the encounter.
If David had used his own phone to Uber to Emily’s home, this could establish that she invited him to come home with her. If the two were affectionate in public, David’s friends could also testify that they witnessed this behavior.
It’s also important to understand statutory rape. This involves sexual intercourse with a minor. It’s not impossible for this to have occurred in the above scenario, either.
If Emily had used a fake ID to enter a bar and the police investigated the sexual encounter, David could have been charged with statutory rape even though he had no idea Emily was under the age of 18.
The good news is that there are lawyers who specialize in this type of accusation. You can check out this resource to learn more about how to get in touch with a statutory rape lawyer.
Understanding Consent Is Essential
Informed consent is essential for all types of activities, but especially those involving intimacy or sexual acts. It’s important to understand the different types of consent and that it can be revoked at any time.
Keep the above answer to “what is informed consent” in mind so you can avoid issues in the future. Need other useful info that can help you out later on? Be sure to take a look at our blog!