Picture the scene: the drinks were flowing, the music pumping. You hop in a taxi with the girl who'd been giving you eyes all night.
You don't remember much the next morning and awake in an empty bed. All is well. Then it happens- your phone rings. Suddenly, the nightmare begins. You have been accused of sexual assault.
It could happen to anyone. Even if you feel that your partner granted consent, the blurred lines of intimacy could still leave you in a sticky situation.
Help is at hand: read on for our concise guide on all you need to know about sexual consent.
What Is Consent?
Sexual consent is a mutual agreement between sexual partners before engaging in sexual activity. Without the expression of consent, unwarranted sexual intercourse may be considered sexual assault or even attempted rape.
Simply put, verbal consent means: 'Yes, I agree to have sex with you,' although any phrase to this effect will constitute grounds for consensual sexual contact.
However, even with consent granted, either party has the right to withdraw said consent. Just because somebody consents to one sexual act, it doesn't give you free rein to engage in any other specific act. Consent must be gained at every stage of the interaction.
You should not engage in sexual contact- from petting to full intercourse- with an unwilling or non-consenting party. Sexual assault is a serious matter and can result in lengthy prison time.
Intoxication and Consent
Somebody intoxicated by drugs and/or alcohol cannot give consent. This is because they are not in control of their faculties.
If somebody makes a decision when they are drunk or on drugs, that is not their decision. Even the apparently enthusiastic consent of a clearly inebriated partner should not be considered a green light for sexual activity.
Evaluate every situation on a case-to-case basis. One or two drinks may not constitute intoxication. Consider the physical and mental state of your potential partner. Being tipsy is not the same as inebriation.
What to Do if You Are Accused
If you learn and follow the guidance surrounding consensual sex, alleged sexual misconduct should not be a problem for you.
However, should you find yourself accused, you need to seek legal advice immediately. If you have communicated with your accuser digitally, be sure to retain these conversations as proof of your innocence. Such exchanges may be indispensable should the matter progress to a court of law.
Above all, remain calm. Do not panic and follow all professional legal guidance provided. Refrain from further communication with your accuser.
Don't Get Caught Out When It Comes to Consent
Now that you know the 101 on consent, you should stand confident that you will not fall foul of the law. Meeting and seducing new people is the embodiment of a zestful life- simply ensure mutual consent underscores every interaction.
If for any reason you do find yourself accused, stay calm and contact David Wilcox, Criminal Defence in Barrie, Ontario, for a free 30-minute consultation. David represents clients throughout Central Ontario and is available for contact 24 hours a day.