What is 'consent'?
An understandable exchange of affirmative words or actions, which objectively indicate
a willingness to participate in mutually agreed upon activity. Consent must be informed
and freely and actively given. The lack of a negative response is not consent. An
individual who is incapacitated by alcohol and/or drugs (voluntarily or involuntarily
consumed) cannot give consent. Past consent for any activity does not imply ongoing
future consent. An individual who is unable to give consent as defined by law cannot
give consent (examples include, but are not limited to, individuals under the age
of consent, individuals who have disabilities which limit their ability to give consent,
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.
Consent does NOT look like this:
- Refusing to acknowledge 'No' and/or lack of consent.
- Assuming that wearing certain clothes, flirting or kissing is an invitation for other
activities without consent.
- Someone being under the legal age of consent, as defined by the state.
- Someone being incapacitated for any reason
- Pressuring someone into sexual activity by using fear, violence, or intimidation.
- Assuming you have permission to engage in a sexual act because of prior activity.
(Adapted from RAINN)
Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 is a federal civil rights law that prohibits
discrimination on the basis of sex in any education program or activity that receives
federal funding. Under Title IX, discrimination on the basis of sex can include and
form of sexual violence, sexual misconduct, and/or sexual assault. As a student, the
federal government guarantees, and WCU supports, certain rights for those that have
experienced sexual violence:
- You have the right to report the incident to WCU and/or law enforcement (which will
initiate an investigation) and have your complaint resolved promptly and equitably.
- You have the right to reasonable protections as necessary. WCU will work to provide
these resources promptly, even before the completion of an investigation.
- Upon making a report, you have the right to receive some immediate help (i.e. class
schedule alterations, switching residence hall rooms/buildings, etc.). WCU will work
to implement assistance and resource availability to reasonably minimize the burden
- Your school should clearly identify where you can go to talk to someone confidentially
and who can provide services like advocacy, counseling, or academic support. Some
people, such as counselors or victim advocates, can talk to you in confidence without
triggering a school’s investigation.
- You have the right to be notified of the timeframes for all major stages of the investigation.
- You have the right to present witnesses and evidence.
- If an investigation reveals that sexual violence created a hostile environment, your
school must take prompt and effective steps reasonably calculated to end the sexual
violence, eliminate the hostile environment, prevent its recurrence, and, as appropriate,
remedy its effects.
More information on student rights granted by Title IX.
WCU Title IX
- Victims Advocate
- University Police Department - non-emergency: 828.227.7301
- University Emergency: 828.227.8911
- Health Services: 828.227.7640
- Associate Vice Chancellor/Dean of Students: 828.227.7147
- Student Community Ethics: 828.227.7234
- Counseling and Psychological Services: 828.227.7469
Western NC Community Resources