As many college students prepare to begin the fall semester, much of the national conversations will be about the upcoming college football season. However, arguably the most important conversation that is not being had is what qualifies as consent in regard to sexual encounters.
By now, most college students, whether they are seniors or freshmen, understand in general terms that that “no” means no and that “yes” means yes. However, what actually registers as consent when a person does not affirmatively say “yes” to having sex? According to a Washington Post-Kaiser poll, college students are deeply divided as to what qualifies as consent.
For instance, 40 percent of students polled believed that acts such as undressing, nodding in agreement or reaching for a condom are key indicators of consent. However, more than 40 percent of students indicated that these did not establish consent. When adding in the element of alcohol, which is common in sexual encounters, it may be difficult for a person to really know if consent has been given.
Ultimately, one person may see a green light while the other is trying to signal yellow or red.
Indeed, confusion about what qualifies as consent can pose a huge problem for people accused of sex crimes as well as agencies that prosecute such crimes. Also, for those accused of sex crimes, defending oneself could be like proving their innocence instead of the prosecution proving their guilt.
As such, if you are accused of a sex crime or are under investigation for such a crime, an experienced criminal defense attorney can guide you.