Memorial's Sexual Harassment and Sexual Assault policy defines consent as an active, direct, voluntary, unimpaired, on-going and conscious choice and agreement, expressed by word or conduct, between and among persons to engage in sexual activity. A person can only consent for themselves. Consent cannot be given or received while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, while incapacitated, unconscious or otherwise incapable of consenting. Consent cannot be induced by abusing a position of power, trust or authority. Consent can be withdrawn at any time. In addition, silence is not consent.
Under the Criminal Code of Canada (Section 273.1) consent is the voluntary agreement to engage in the sexual activity in question. There must be an understandable exchange of affirmative words that indicates a willingness to pariticipate in mutually agreed upon sexual activity.
Consent is mandatory, ongoing and can be revoked at any time. Consent must be mutual and clearly communicated. Our Always Ask campaign promotes a culture of consent by reminding you to Always Ask: ask yourself, ask others, ask us.
ASK YOURSELF. Do I have the consent of everyone in the room to tell this joke?
ASK OTHERS. Do I have your consent to post on your timeline?
ASK US. When in doubt, call the office and we can offer guidance in understanding consent.
Consent is never assumed; for example, if someone consents to leaving a party with you, you cannot assume that this means they have consented to you kissing or touching them. As well, if someone consents to kissing you at one time, you cannot assume that it is always okay. Consent must be monitored and reconfirmed.
Consent cannot be given by someone who is incapacitated by alcohol or drugs or who is unconscious, passed out or asleep.
Consent must be voluntary. It cannot be obtained through threats, coercion, pressure or by the abuse of a position of power or authority.
We ask for consent in our daily lives with common expressions such as, "Can I use your pen?" and, "Is this seat taken?". When it comes to physical contact, including sex, we must always be clear and respectful.
Always Ask! Ask yourself. Ask others. Ask us.