Healthy Relationships & Consent
As part of our services to Catoosa, Walker, and Dade counties, we also provide education to schools and community groups about Healthy Relationships & Consent. On average, this is a topic we introduce to children and teenagers, but the content is applicable all ages. If you are looking for someone to bring education to your community group, church, school, library, or other organization, please see our Education & Outreach Section , and contact us to schedule a time that works for you.
Consent means to ask a person permission to do something and then accepting their answer. Consent means that the person gives permission for something or agrees for something to happen. Consent is a healthy, normal, necessary part of everyday interaction. Consent should be:
Clear – Active. It is mutually understood expression – never implied. An absent no is NEVER a yes. Silence is not consent. “I’m not sure,” “I don’t know,” “maybe,” and similar phrases are not consent.
Coherent- People incapacitated by drugs or alcohol cannot consent. Someone who cannot make rational, reasonable decisions on who, what, when, where, why, or how due to being incapacitated in the situation cannot consent. This also applies to those who are asleep, underage, or those who are medical or mentally vulnerable.
Willing – Consent is never given under pressure. It is not obtained through psychological or emotional manipulation, through physical violence or threat, and cannot be obtained in a situation where there exists some imbalance of power (i.e. someone under your authority cannot consent).
Ongoing – Consent must be granted every time. Consent must be obtained at each step of intimacy. If someone consents to one sexual activity, she or he may or may not be willing to participate in other acts.
Think F. R. I. E. S.
Consent is important because everyone deserves respect. Consent shows respect for yourself and respect for the other person. Consent is a necessary, normal part of everyday interactions. It is a foundation for healthy relationship whether romance is involved or not – we do not know the previous experiences of others (70% have experienced trauma of some kind), so consent helps us establish necessary boundaries out of respect. It treats each party with dignity. Finally, consent protects you and the other person(s) involved.
If you do not have consent, there are legal consequences that could occur. Consent CANNOT be obtained from a minor. GA law states that any sexual contact with a minor is considered statutory rape which is a felony. If the perpetrator is under 21, years of age, that means 1-20 years in prison. If over 21 years of age, that means 10-20 years in prison and mandatory sex offender registration for life. Marital rape laws also state that nonconsensual intercourse even with a spouse will be considered and treated as rape.
How to practice consent? ASK. If you have not asked, then you do not have consent. If you do not hear a yes, then the answer is NO. If a person is unconscious, asleep, under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or prescription drug, the answer is NO. Do not consider body language to be consent—it is unreliable due to differences in communication styles. You always need a verbal YES.