Affirmative consent

Sexual consent is when both partners agree to engage in sexual activity. Consent should always be mutual, voluntary, enthusiastic and given without pressure, intimidation, or fear.

>> Report a problem to the Sexual Misconduct Response Coordinator

University of Iowa policy summary

Consent must be freely and affirmatively communicated between both partners in order to participate in sexual activity or behavior. It can be expressed either by words or clear, unambiguous actions. It is the responsibility of the person who wants to engage in sexual activity to insure consent of their partner.

Silence, lack of protest, or no resistance does not mean consent. Being in a current relationship or having had a past sexual relationship does not certify consent.

Consent must be present throughout the sexual activity -- at any time, consent can be withdrawn. If there is confusion as to whether anyone has consented or continues to consent to sexual activity, it is essential that the participants stop the activity until the confusion can be clearly resolved.


>> Read the full University of Iowa Sexual Misconduct, Dating/Domestic Violence, or Stalking Involving Students Policy 

Who is able to give consent?

In the state of Iowa, state law says that the following people are not able to give consent

  1. Persons who are asleep or unconscious
  2. Persons who are incapacitated due to the influence of drugs, alcohol, or medication
  3. Persons who are unable to communicate consent due to a mental or physical condition

Facts about affirmative consent 

  • Affirmative consent is always necessary before any initiating sexual activity.
  • Consent must be given at every step during sexual activity. 
  • Consent is never implied and cannot be assumed, even in the context of a relationship. Just because you are in a relationship or have had sex before does not mean that you have permission to have sex with your partner.
  • Most victims of sexual assault are attacked by someone they know.
  • Alcohol or drugs are involved in most rapes.
  • It is never okay to take advantage of someone who is drunk, high, sleeping, or passed out. Someone may be responsible for being drunk or high, but they are never responsible for being assaulted.

Affirmative consent is the only way to have a healthy, safe relationship.

For more information

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