The Center for Empowerment and Education : Defining the Issues



What is Consent?

Consent means agreeing or giving permission to engage in a specific behavior/activity. Consent must be: an active process, a choice, and based in equal power. Consent should be curious, interested, or enthusiastic.


What is Affirmative Consent?

This new law defines affirmative consent as “an active, clear and voluntary agreement by a person to engage in sexual activity with another person” and requires Connecticut’s institutions of higher education to use this standard to determine whether or not a sexual activity was consensual in the context of their disciplinary procedures. Affirmative consent is a perspective that “yes means yes” rather than “the absence of no means yes.” Affirmative consent may never be assumed because there is no physical resistance or other negative response.
  • Consent is a mutual & conscious decision
  • Consent can be revoked at any time during sexual activity by any person engaged in the activity
  • Consent is required with each escalation and engagement of sexual activity (ie: just because someone consented to kissing or touching does not mean they have consented to sex)
Individuals are incapable of giving consent when:
  • They are unconscious or asleep
  • They are incapacitated due to the influence of alcohol or other drugs


What Does Consent Look, Sound & Feel Like?

Consent may be given through words, actions, and gestures. Verbal and NON-VERBAL modes of communication, including fine nuances such as tone of voice, facial expression, and body language are important to pay attention to. When in doubt, communicate – never assume what someone wants or doesn’t want in the moment. And remember, consent is not like a contract – it involves ongoing communication and collaboration.

Examples of Statements that say “NO”:

  • “I’m confused”
  • “I’m not sure”
  • “I guess if you want to…”
  • “Let’s slow down”
  • “I don’t want to get pregnant”
  • “Maybe”

Examples of Actions that say “NO”

  • Looking down
  • Moving away
  • Cringing
  • Pushing away
  • Looking upset
  • Avoiding being alone
  • Not moving/responding/reciprocating

If you’re unsure about an experience you had, we’re here to help you process it.


Consent: It's Simple as Tea