Sexual Consent is:
Freely given: You have no reservations. If you feel threatened, coerced, trapped, or unsafe, your consent is not freely given.
Reversible: You have the right to withdraw consent at any time for any reason.
Informed: If someone misleads you about sex or does not tell you the truth about the situation (like lying about having a condom), that is not consenting.
Specific: Just because you consented to one sexual act does not mean you consented to others.
Dressing sexy, not saying no, wearing a costume, being intoxicated, being in a relationship, or consenting to sex in the past does not count as consent.
What is the difference between Sexual Assault and Rape?
Sexual Assault is defined as any sexual contact that is non-consensual. This can include things like touching someone who isn't expecting it, undoing or removing someone's clothing without their permission, attempting or forcing sex or oral sex with someone without their permission, insertion of a foreign object without permission and any unwanted sexual, physical contact with another person.
Rape is a legal term that refers specifically to penetrative sex without consent. This includes vaginal sex, anal sex, fingering, and oral sex. So, all rape is sexual assault, but not all sexual assault is legally considered rape.
Whether it is called sexual assault or rape, the consequences are both real and devastating to many victims. Many victims experience Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms for weeks, months or even years after the assault. A victim may also be at higher risk for pregnancy or contracting a Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) if no protection was used.
How do I know if I was raped or sexually assaulted?
Many people have a difficult time determining if their experience was rape or sexual assault. The simple answer is that if something happened that made you feel uncomfortable or hurt you physically or emotionally without your consent, this may be an indicator of assault.
Consent is your willing participation in sexual activity. For example, saying "yes" when she asks if you want oral sex or saying "please" when he asks if you want him to do something to you. It can also mean intentionally touching each other's bodies in a sexual way.
Non-consent is anything less than consent. This can mean things like someone saying, "You're not my type," or, "Not right now," or, "I don't feel well." If they get up and leave the room, it is not consent. If they turn away or try to brush your hands off, it is not consent. Ignoring you is not consent. DOING NOTHING IS NOT CONSENT. SAYING YES TO AVOID INJURY OR TO PREVENT INJURY TO SOMEONE ELSE IS NOT CONSENT.
Anyone who is asleep cannot consent to sex.
Anyone who is too drunk to remember what is going on cannot consent to sex.
Anyone under the legal age of consent cannot consent to sex.
Anyone under the influence of drugs cannot consent to sex.
It is not possible for an underage person to consent to sex with someone more than 2 years older than them.
It is not possible for a minor to consent to sex with an adult.
I have been assaulted. What do I do?
If you have experienced a sexual assault recently, the first thing to do is find a safe place. Your safety is the most important thing. You can stay in your house, go to a friend or family member's house, find a police station, go to a hospital or just call someone for support.
If you feel comfortable, call the police. If you do not feel that is a good option, or you would prefer to be seen by a healthcare professional, you can go to a hospital and ask to see the SANE nurse (Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner). They will take you to a quiet room and talk to you confidentially. You can choose to make a police statement at that time or submit evidence anonymously which gives you time to decide whether you want to submit a police report or not. The SANE nurse can also check you over to make sure you are okay.
If you have experienced a sexual assault in the past and are looking for support, you can call the Pueblo Rape Crisis Services 24-hour hotline at 719-549-0549. Pueblo Rape Crisis Services has many resources and offers case management if you need it.