What is Consent
When someone gives consent, they’re giving permission for something to happen or agreeing to do something. It can be verbal or nonverbal, but must be clear, specific, and ongoing. The key to consent is open communication. Talk to your partner about your respective boundaries, and honor each other’s boundaries without question.
Information gathered from Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape (PCAR) / pcar.org
When and How to Ask for Consent
Ask for consent before engaging in any type of physical contact including touching, kissing, and any form of sexual activity. A mutual and explicit agreement must be made each time, even if your partner has consented in the past. Communicate when changing the type or degree of activity in a non-forceful way that implies no pressure. Use verbal and/or physical cues to affirm consent. Consent must be clear, specific, voluntary, ongoing, and coherent.
- “Is this okay?”
- “Are you comfortable?”
- “Can we ____?”
- “Do you want to cuddle?”
- “Can I kiss you?”
- “Is it okay if I touch you here?”
- “Can I unbutton your pants?”
- “Tell me to stop whenever you want.”
- “We don’t have to do something you’re not comfortable with.”
- “I only want this if you want this.”
- “You can say no.”
- “Do you want to keep going?”
- “Do you want to slow down?”
- “Can I take your shirt off now?”
- “I know we’ve done this before, but do you want to do it now?”
- “Are you sober?”
- “Are you sure you’re comfortable with this?”
- “We can stop at any time.”
What Non-consent Looks Like
If your partner appears unsure, uncomfortable, intoxicated, or explicitly rejects your advances, that is non-consent. Your partner may use verbal and/or non-verbal ways to not consent. These include:
- “I don’t know”/“Um…I guess”/“Maybe”/“No”
- Pulling away, tensing up, and/or flinching
- Becoming silent, failing to respond, and/or laughing nervously
- Saying “yes” under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol
If your partner seems unsure, check in with them. Ask question such as:
- “Do you want to stop/take a break?”
- “Are you okay?”
- “Do you want to try this another time?”
- “Do you want to watch TV or do something else?”
If you sense your partner is uncomfortable, they most likely are.
You, and only you, have rights to your body. You are free to consent only when YOU want, and you are free to withdraw that consent at any time. This is true for your partner and others around you.
How to Hear No – Respectfully
It’s okay for your partner to say no, even if they have said yes in the past. Many factors can influence a person’s decision to engage or not engage in sexual activity, and they have the power to make that decision independent of your desires. Sincerely respect your partner’s boundaries and be appreciative of their honesty, and express that to your partner. Reassure them that you honor their boundaries and are grateful for their ability to be honest with you.
Domestic Violence is the willful intimidation, physical assault, battery, sexual assault, and/or other abusive behavior as part of a systematic pattern of power and control perpetrated by one intimate partner against another.
These wheels have either been developed by or adapted from the power and control wheel and the equality wheel. For further information or copyright requests, please contact:
Domestic Abuse Intervention Project
202 East Superior Street, Duluth, MN, 55802
Power & Control Wheel – Spanish
LGBT Power & Control Wheel – Spanish
Dating violence is a pattern of abusive behaviors used to exert power and control over a dating partner.
A Pattern of Behavior
Calling dating violence a pattern doesn’t mean the first instance of abuse is not dating violence. It just recognizes that dating violence usually involves a series of abusive behaviors over a course of time.
Warning Signs of Abuse
Because relationships exist on a spectrum, it can be hard to tell when a behavior crosses the line from healthy to unhealthy or even abusive. Use these warning signs of abuse to see if your relationship is going in the wrong direction:
- Checking your cell phone or email without permission
- Constantly putting you down
- Extreme jealousy or insecurity
- Explosive temper
- Isolating you from family or friends
- Making false accusations
- Mood swings
- Physically hurting you in any way
- Telling you what to do
- Pressuring or forcing you to have sex
Teen Dating Violence Resources
Any type of forced or coerced sexual contact or behavior that happens without consent. Sexual assault includes rape and attempted rape, child molestation, groping, forced kissing and sexual harassment or threats. Sexual assault is a crime of power and control.
Consent is an agreement given equally by all partners to engage in a specific activity at the moment. Consent is a clear understanding of what’s being asked for and agreed upon. Consent is freely given with no coercion by either party. Consent is never assumed and consent can be taken back at any time.
How does consent work in real life?
When you’re engaging in sexual activity, consent is about communication. And it should happen every time. Giving consent for one activity, one time, does not mean giving consent for increased or recurring sexual contact. For example, agreeing to kiss someone doesn’t give that person permission to remove your clothes. Having sex with someone in the past doesn’t give that person permission to have sex with you again in the future.
You can change your mind at any time.
You can withdraw consent at any point if you feel uncomfortable. It’s important to clearly communicate to your partner that you are no longer comfortable with this activity and wish to stop. The best way to ensure both parties are comfortable with any sexual activity is to talk about it.
Positive consent can look like this:
- Communicating when you change the type or degree of sexual activity with phrases like “Is this OK?”
- Explicitly agreeing to certain activities, either by saying “yes” or another affirmative statement, like “I’m open to trying.”
- Using physical cues to let the other person know you’re comfortable taking things to the next level
It does NOT look like this:
- Refusing to acknowledge “no”
- Assuming that wearing certain clothes, flirting, or kissing is an invitation for anything more
- Someone being under the legal age of consent, as defined by the state
- Someone being incapacitated because of drugs or alcohol
- Pressuring someone into sexual activity by using fear or intimidation
- Assuming you have permission to engage in a sexual act because you’ve done it in the past
Here are some red flags that indicate your partner doesn’t respect consent:
- They pressure or guilt you into doing things you may not want to do.
- They make you feel like you “owe” them — because you’re dating, or they gave you a gift, etc.
- They react negatively (with sadness, anger or resentment) if you say “no” to something, or don’t immediately consent.
- They ignore your wishes, and don’t pay attention to nonverbal cues that could show you’re not consenting (ex: pulling/pushing away).
Get Consent Every Time!!
Sexual violence is any type of unwanted sexual contact, ranging from sexist attitudes and actions to rape and murder. Sexual violence can include words and actions of a sexual nature against a person’s will.
A person may use
- coercion to commit sexual violence.
There is a social context that surrounds sexual violence. Social norms that
- condone violence
- using power over others
- traditional constructs of masculinity
- the subjugation of women
- silence about violence and abuse contribute to the occurrence of sexual violence.
- Over 71% of women and over 55% of men first experienced intimate partner violence (sexual or physical violence, and/or stalking) under the age of 25.
- One in four women first experienced intimate partner violence prior to the age of 18.
- Over 80% of women and over 70% of male rape victims experienced their first completed or attempted rape under the age of 25.
- Sexual violence is usually committed by someone the survivor knows. Over 28% of girls who experienced sexual violence under the age of 18 were raped by a current or former intimate partner.
- Youth who experience sexual violence as children or teens are more likely to experience sexual violence in adulthood. Thirty-five percent of women who were raped as minors were also raped as adults, compared to 10% of women raped as an adult who were not raped as minors.
Teen Sexual Assault Information & Resources
Trauma Informed Care:
Trauma-Informed Care (TIC) is an organizational structure and treatment framework that involves understanding, recognizing, and responding to the effects of all types of trauma. TIC also emphasizes physical, psychological and emotional safety for both consumers and providers, and helps survivors rebuild a sense of control and empowerment.
No one is immune to the impact of trauma. Trauma affects the individual, families, and communities by disrupting healthy development, adversely affecting relationships, and contributing to mental health issues including substance abuse, domestic violence, and child abuse. Everyone pays the price when a community produces multi-generations of people with untreated trauma by an increase in crime, loss of wages, and threat to the stability of the family.
Safety & Privacy in a Digital World:
For many of us, technology plays an integral role in our day-to-day lives. We connect with friends and family on social media, access news and current events from online media sources, and use smart phones’ GPS capabilities to figure out how to travel to new places. While rapid advancements in technology provide us with powerful tools to connect, learn, and exchange ideas, they also arm abusers with new ways to inflict harm.
This newly updated special collection explores ways to promote safe internet use, build healthy online communities, and promote social justice online, while addressing some of the ways that abusers misuse technology to commit gender-based violence. The collection features resources that highlight the importance of privacy and promote safe online interactions, paying particular attention to working with children and youth to foster safe online spaces. It also includes resources for survivors who have experienced or are currently experiencing digital abuse, and provides helpful information for service providers.
Read more: link to this for info above: https://vawnet.org/sc/safety-privacy-digital-world
Sharing Hope Newsletter:
Project R.E.S.T. publishes a print and digital publication during April which is Sexual Assault Awareness Month; and again in October for Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Our print and digital newsletter, named Sharing Hope, features articles and resources centered around domestic violence and sexual assault. For more information about Sharing Hope or Project R.E.S.T., please contact Jennifer O’Shields, Editor, @ 864-583-9803 or e-mail at email@example.com.
South Carolina law requires that certain professionals report suspected cases of child abuse or neglect, because they have unique opportunities to observe and interact with children. The following professionals are mandated reporters of child abuse or neglect:
- Healthcare professionals: physicians, nurses, dentists, optometrists, medical examiners or coroners or their employees, emergency medical services, mental health or allied health professionals
- Educational professionals: teachers, counselors, principals, school attendance officers
- Social or public assistance professionals: substance abuse treatment staff, childcare workers, foster parents
- Legal professionals: police or law enforcement officers, juvenile justice workers, volunteer non-attorney guardian ad litem serving on behalf of the South Carolina Guardian ad Litem program or on behalf of Richland County CASA, judges
- Undertakers, funeral home directors, or their employees
- Film processors
- Computer technicians
- Clergy, including Christian Science Practitioners or religious healers (subject to laws governing privileged communication)
However, the law encourages all persons to report. For more information about mandated reporting go to https://dss.sc.gov/prevention/mandated-reporters/
Mandated reporters must report abuse or neglect when, in their professional capacity, they receive information giving them reason to believe that a child’s physical or mental health has been, or may be, adversely affected by abuse or neglect. A decision to report must be based upon a reasonable belief that a child has been, or may be, abused or neglected. Thus, mandatory reporters need not have conclusive proof that a child has been abused or neglected prior to reporting abuse or neglect to the proper authorities.
A person who is required to report and fails to do so is guilty of a misdemeanor. Upon conviction, he or she may be fined up to $500 or imprisoned up to six months, or both.
Whether a mandatory reporter makes the report to DSS or to law enforcement depends upon the identity of the alleged perpetrator of the abuse or neglect. When the alleged perpetrator of the abuse or neglect is the child’s parent, guardian, or a person responsible for the child’s welfare, mandated reporters must report to the county DSS office or to Law Enforcement in the county where the child resides or is found.
When the alleged perpetrator of the abuse or neglect is not the child’s parent, guardian, or other person responsible for the child’s welfare, the law requires that a report be made to law enforcement. All law enforcement officers are authorized to place a child in Emergency Protective Custody if the child might be in imminent and substantial danger. However, only the law enforcement agency with jurisdiction where the incident occurred has the authority to conduct an investigation. Mandated reporters who suspect that a child has died as a result of abuse or neglect are required to report to the appropriate medical examiner or coroner.