Defining Consent

It is a violation of the University of Georgia Non-Discrimination Anti-Harassment Policy to engage in any form of sexual activity or conduct involving another person without the consent of the other person.

Consent is defined as: clear words or actions that are knowingly, freely and actively given, indicating permission to engage in mutually agreed upon sexual activity. The absence of no is not a “yes”. Consent cannot be given when physical force, threats or intimidation1, or sexual coercion, is used to obtain consent.

Consent has three important components:

  • Consent may be withdrawn at any time without regard to sexual activity preceding the withdrawal of consent.
  • Consent may not be inferred from silence or passivity alone. The absence of “NO” is not a “YES”
  • Consent is not able to be given when a person is prevented from or incapable of giving consent (i.e., due to use of drugs or alcohol, or physical or intellectual disability) and this fact is known to the person committing the act.



A current or previous intimate relationship is not sufficient to constitute consent. It cannot be implied or assumed, even within the context of a relationship. If consent is not obtained prior to each act of sexual activity (from kissing to intercourse), it is not consensual sex.

Definitions taken from the Non-Discrimination and Harassment Policy within the Equal Opportunity Office: eoo.uga.edu/eoo-report

For more information about Georgia state criminal sexual-related offenses, visit: eoo.uga.edu/definitions/definitions-sexual-harassment-terms

Sexual assault can happen to ANYONE, regardless of age, race, gender, sexual orientation, social class, ability, religion, or education level. There are actions we can take to reduce the risk of experiencing sexual assault, but the only person who can stop sexual assault completely is the perpetrator.