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Understanding consent is key to avoiding sexual assault allegations

On Behalf of | May 11, 2021 | Criminal Defense

The “Me Too” movement emerged in recent years here in the United States. It motivated many women who alleged sexual assault to step forward and tell their stories of hurt and shame. Since then, there’s been an increasing focus in the media on the concept of consent. 

Many public service announcements have highlighted how crucial procuring consent is before any parties engage in intimacy. These campaigns have also pointed out how consent is a fluid concept. You must understand issues of consent as you may end up facing criminal charges or find that you’re fighting an uphill battle to disprove that a sexual assault occurred if you don’t have a firm command of this concept. 

What does securing consent entail?

Consent is a process by which each party involved in a sexual interaction must procure the other’s permission or ascertain their willingness to become intimate. Consent isn’t all-encompassing, nor does it perpetually remain in effect. 

You and your partners should take time to discuss boundaries when procuring one another’s consent. You may find that your partner is okay with certain activities, but not others. You must respect those boundaries. You must also remember how consent is a fluid concept. While someone may initially consent to engage in certain activities, they have the right to rescind their consent at any time.

What should you do if a partner declines to give or rescinds their sexual consent?

It’s critical that you don’t engage in anything the least bit intimate with someone unless you first procure their consent to do so. You should also stop anything that you’ve begun or do so the minute your partner tells you to do so. Your decision to engage in intimacy without first procuring your partner’s consent or continuing to do things one withdraws could leave you facing sexual assault or rape charges. 

What to do if you’re facing sexual assault charges?

The burden falls on a defendant to prove that they’re innocent when facing sexual assault charges. Proving your innocence in such a case can be quite challenging but not impossible. An attorney will want to ask some additional questions about the moments leading up to, during and following the alleged assault before advising you of the different defense strategies that you may want to employ in your case.