Consent is an active, knowing and voluntary exchange of affirmative words and/or actions, which indicate a willingness to participate in a particular sexual activity. Consent must be freely and actively given. It is the responsibility of the initiator to obtain clear and affirmative responses at each stage of sexual involvement. The lack of a negative response is not consent. A person who is incapacitated by alcohol and/or drugs, whether voluntarily or involuntarily consumed, may not give consent. Neither consent to one form of sexual activity nor past relationships imply consent to future sexual activity.
Incapacitation is a state where a person lacks the capacity to understand or appreciate the fact, nature or extent of a sexual encounter.
- Sexual activity with a person who is demonstrably mentally or physically incapacitated (i.e., by alcohol or other drug use, unconsciousness or blackout) constitutes a violation of this policy.
- A person whose incapacity results from mental disability, sleep, involuntary physical restraint, or from the consumption (voluntary or otherwise) of incapacitating drugs cannot give consent.
- To give consent, a person must be of the legal age of consent. Under most circumstances, the age of consent in the state of Connecticut is sixteen. See Connecticut General Statutes § 46b-120, § 46b-127, § 46b-133d, § 53a-70, § 53a-71, and § 54-76b.
- Alcohol-related incapacity results from a level of alcohol ingestion that is more severe than impairment, being under the influence, drunkenness or intoxication.
Evidence of incapacity may be detected by physical cues, e.g., slurred speech, bloodshot eyes, the odor of alcohol on a person’s breath or clothing, inability to maintain balance, vomiting, unusual or irrational behavior and unconsciousness. Context is important in helping to determine incapacitation. Any of these particular cues alone do not necessarily indicate incapacity.
Force is the use of physical violence and/or imposing on someone physically to gain sexual access. Force also includes threats, intimidation and coercion that overcomes resistance or produces consent.
Coercion is unreasonable pressure for sexual activity. Coercion is the use of emotional manipulation to persuade someone to do something they may not want to do, such as being sexual or performing certain sexual acts. Being coerced into having sex or performing sexual acts is not consenting sex and is considered sexual misconduct.