Enough is enough! Affirmative Consent – it’s the Law
By Mary Morton, affirmative action officer, SUNY Empire State College
October 29, 2015
On July 7, 2015, Governor Cuomo signed New York’s “Enough is Enough” bill into law, mandating colleges and universities to adopt policies and procedures to address campus sexual violence.
Empire State College is committed to maintaining a safe environment that is supportive of its primary educational mission and free from all exploitation and intimidation. The college will not tolerate sexual discrimination, sexual harassment, sexual assault (including rape), or any other form of nonconsensual sexual activity. Below is the definition of affirmative consent.
Affirmative Consent is a knowing, voluntary and mutual decision among all participants to engage in sexual activity. Consent can be given by words or actions, as long as those words or actions create clear permission regarding willingness to engage in sexual activity. Silence or lack of resistance, in and of itself, does not demonstrate consent. The definition of consent does not vary based upon a participant’s sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.
- Consent to any sexual act or prior consensual sexual activity between or with any party does not necessarily constitute consent to any other sexual act.
- Consent is required regardless of whether the person initiating the act is under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol.
- Consent may be initially given, but withdrawn at any time.
- Consent cannot be given when a person is incapacitated, which occurs when an individual lacks the ability to knowingly choose to participate in sexual activity. Incapacitation may be caused by the lack of consciousness or being asleep, being involuntarily restrained, or if an individual otherwise cannot consent. Depending on the degree of intoxication, someone who is under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or other intoxicants may be incapacitated and therefore unable to consent.
- Consent cannot be given when it is the result of any coercion, intimidation, force, or threat of harm.
- When consent is withdrawn or can no longer be given, sexual activity must stop.