Yes Means Yes: Sexual Assault and the Question of Consent

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This April, in honor of the 20th anniversary of Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month, Grewal Law PLLC is taking a deep dive into the question of consent. By understanding and prioritizing consent and the personal boundaries of others, sexual assault can be prevented.

What Is Consent?

Consent must be obtained for every sexual or intimate act, but many people remain hazy on what constitutes consent and how to ask a partner for it. Consent must be freely and competently given – each and every time, and for each and every act.A person cannot legally give consent if they are incapacitated, for example due to drugs or alcohol. . “Consent” is an affirmative agreement to an activity, sexual or otherwise. To obtain consent, any sexual partner should be asked clearly and directly if they agree to a sexual act before it takes place.

What Consent Looks Like

A few examples of what consent looks like include:

  • Asking for permission before you kiss your partner
  • Asking for permission before changing the type/degree of sexual activity
  • Making sure to periodically check in with your partner
  • Respecting your partner’s boundaries when they say no
  • Having a conversation about boundaries before intimacy

It is important to note that just because your partner consented to an act before does not mean you have their standing permission to do that act every time thereafter. Consent must be given each time, meaning you need to ask for consent each time. Additionally, everyone has the right to take away consent after they have given it or change their boundaries — these modifications must be respected.

Ignoring Consent Is Sexual Assault

Respecting your partner’s boundaries is at the heart of consent. When personal boundaries are not respected, and consent is not obtained before a sexual act, the textbook definition of sexual assault has taken place.

Per law, sexual assault can comprise several nonconsensual sexual acts, including:

  • Unwanted sexual contact, touching, groping, kissing, hugging, etc.
  • Forcible sexual acts and/or penetration (i.e. completed rape)
  • Attempted rape

If you have been the victim of sexual abuse and assault, our Michigan attorneys at Grewal Law PLLC want to support you and help you hold the perpetrator accountable. Every member of our qualified legal team genuinely cares about the rights of sexual assault survivors, which is why we have dedicated our careers to advocating for survivors in civil court cases. You do not have to go at this alone.

When you are ready, contact Grewal Law PLLC online to schedule a free, confidential consultation with a compassionate lawyer.

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