Sexual consent is a crucial and fundamental aspect of any sexual activity. It refers to the voluntary, clear, and mutual agreement between all parties involved in a sexual encounter to engage in sexual activity. Consent should always be enthusiastic, informed, and ongoing. Here are some key points to understand about sexual consent:
Voluntary: Consent must be given freely without coercion, pressure, or manipulation. No one should ever be forced or guilt-tripped into sexual activity.
Clear: Consent should be communicated clearly and unambiguously. It should not be assumed or implied. Verbal communication is often the most effective way to ensure clarity.
Mutual: All parties involved in a sexual encounter must provide their consent. If someone is incapable of giving consent (due to intoxication, age, or other reasons), any sexual activity is not consensual.
Enthusiastic: Consent should be active and positive. It should not be a reluctant or passive agreement. All parties should feel excited and willing to participate.
Informed: Everyone involved should have a full understanding of what they are consenting to. This includes knowing the type of sexual activity, any potential risks, and the ability to withdraw consent at any point during the encounter.
Ongoing: Consent is not a one-time agreement. It is continuous throughout a sexual encounter. Anyone can withdraw their consent at any time, and all parties involved should respect this decision immediately.
Capacity: All parties involved should have the ability to give consent. This means they should be of legal age and in a mental state where they can make informed decisions.
It’s important to note that consent can be revoked at any time, even if it was initially given. If someone expresses discomfort, hesitation, or withdraws their consent during sexual activity, it is essential to immediately stop and respect their decision. Failure to obtain clear and ongoing consent can lead to sexual misconduct, assault, or rape, which are serious offences.
Consent is a cornerstone of healthy, respectful, and consensual sexual relationships, and it is the responsibility of all parties to ensure that consent is obtained and respected throughout any sexual encounter. Communication, respect, and empathy are essential to fostering a culture of consent and promoting safe and enjoyable sexual experiences for everyone involved.
Ministers of Art, Culture and Status of Women Tanya Fir and Minister of Advanced Education Rajan Sawhnet issued the following statement in recognition of Consent Week.
“Sept. 18 marks the beginning of Consent Awareness Week in Alberta.
“Consent as it relates to sexual activity is voluntary, ongoing and continuously discussed. Consent is not just an essential conversation between partners, it is a basic human right.
“Promoting a culture of consent is essential for preventing sexual assault and ensuring the safety of all Albertans. All of us must work together toward a future free from sexual violence. That is why Alberta’s government supports organizations like VOICE, a program that engages men and boys in consent awareness and promotes healthy relationships. Together, we can promote a consent culture and prevent sexual violence.”