Consent is making a willing, informed and enthusiastic choice that you have the freedom and capacity to make. Having freedom to consent means that you are free to choose and there isn’t the threat of anything bad happening if you say no. Having the capacity to consent means that you are physically and/or mentally able to make a choice and understand the consequences of that choice.
- If it isn’t your choice, you haven’t given consent.
- Consent cannot be given if you were under threat or intimidated.
- Consent is not ongoing: consent needs to be negotiated every time you have sex and also during sex as you start to do different things.
- Consent may be withdrawn at any time (including during sex) and can never be implied, assumed or coerced.
- A person’s capacity to consent is impaired if they are under the influence of drink or drugs, or if they have a physical or mental condition which limits their ability to consent or communicate consent.
- A person cannot consent if they are aged under 16.
- Consent cannot be given if the person is asleep or unconscious.
Sexual violence: myths and realities
The University is committed to dispelling myths and raising awareness of the impact of sexual violence. People who have experienced sexual violence can struggle with feelings of shame, guilt and self-blame that can make it difficult to talk to anyone about their experiences. Survivors also often fear that others will blame them or that they won't be believed. Sexual violence myths can reinforce these feelings and fears, and can prevent people from accessing support or reporting an incident.
It is important for us all to be aware of the myths and misconceptions around sexual violence, so that we can prevent it from happening and improve support for survivors. Learn more about the myths and realities surrounding sexual violence by visiting Rape Crisis and Survivors UK websites.
‘Fight or Freeze #I just froze’
Created as part of Rape Crisis Scotland’s campaign, #Ijustfroze challenges common misconceptions that there is a right or wrong way for people to react during or after a rape. Centered around 2 powerful animation videos, the campaign highlights that people don’t always fight back or report rape straight away and helps people to understand why this might be.