Sexual Assault and Consent

What is Sexual Assault?

Sexual Assault is a term used to describe a range of sex crimes committed against a person. It is any unwanted or forced sex act or behaviour that has happened without a person’s consent.

Sexual assault may include:

  • Rape (sexual intercourse without consent)
  • Indecent assault (unwanted sexual touching)
  • Acts of indecency (exposure)

Sexual Assault is a violent crime and it is not always committed by strangers. Often the offender is known to the victim, and it can occur within relationships or marriage. It can be a terrifying experience that may have long term effects on the victim regardless of their age, gender, status, culture, ability or sexuality.

What is consent?

A person consents to sexual activity if they do it actively, freely, voluntarily and consciously without being pressured into it.

What is not consent?

Not resisting

  • A person does not consent to sexual activity just because they do not protest or physically resist the activity.
  • A person does not consent to sexual activity if they allow it because of physical force, or threats, or the fear of force.

Being impaired

  • A person does not consent to sexual activity if it happens while they are asleep or unconscious.
  • A person does not consent to sexual activity if it happens while they are so drunk or drugged that they cannot consent or refuse.
  • A person does not consent to sexual activity if it happens while they are affected by an intellectual, mental, or physical condition to such an extent that they cannot consent or refuse.

Misunderstanding

  • A person does not consent to sexual activity with another person if they allow it because they are mistaken about who the other person is.
  • A person does not consent to an act of sexual activity if they allow it because they did not understand what was happening. For example: A person who consents to a Smear test or prostate examination by a professional, does not consent to them doing something to them sexually that is not part of the test.

 

The following video is an alternative way of explaining consent.