Loyola University Maryland

Counseling Center

Consent and Definitions

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Consent

Consent is defined as an affirmative indication of a voluntary agreement to engage in the particular sexual act or conduct in question. Consent cannot be obtained through the use of force, threat, or intimidation. Consent cannot be given by someone who is not able to effectively communicate or to understand the nature of the conduct being engaged in as a result of having consumed drugs or alcohol or for any other reason. Silence on the part of an individual does not constitute his or her consent.

Things to think about:

Consent takes different forms in different relationships. Some attributes generally associated with consent follow. They may help you think about your own and your partner’s behavior in intimate situations or situations that might become intimate. What they have in common is that they are grounded in an attitude of respect.

  • Consent is informed and clear. Parties must be able to communicate effectively and agree on the type of sexual activities that will be shared. If a person has a sexually transmittable disease, that should be disclosed to a partner before engaging in sexual activity.
  • Consent is essential each time sexual activity occurs and/or escalates. During or prior to any sexual activity, each partner has the right to withdraw consent at any time. Consent to one type of sexual activity does not imply consent to other forms of sexual activities.
  • Consent is a free choice only if it has been granted without the use of force real or perceived, threats, intimidation, or coercion.
  • Consent cannot be construed from a partner’s silence.
  • Consent cannot be assumed based on a previous or current sexual relationship with the person who initiates the sexual activity.
  • Consent is not implicit in a person’s manner of dress or physical appearance.
  • Consent is not implicit in acceptance of an invitation for a meal or date.
  • Consent is not achievable if a partner is or appears to be under the influence of a controlled or intoxicating substance, whether or not that substance was consumed willingly

*some information obtained from American University's Office of Campus Life

The Loyola University Community Standards offer the following definitions:

  • Sexual harassment is defined as unwelcome sexual advances, requests, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when submission to or rejection of such conduct is a condition or basis for employment or educational decisions affecting the individual, or which is sufficiently severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive as to have the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive educational or work environment.
  • Sexual verbal abuse is using language that is sexual in nature and unwanted on the part of another person. Examples include but are not limited to phone calls or use of written and/or verbal communication that are intimidating, threatening, or obscene in nature.
  • Sexual assault includes any sexual act or sexual contact without consent, including intercourse; oral sex; unwanted touching of an intimate body part of another person, such as sexual organs, buttocks, or breasts; or an attempt of any of the above. Rape is a type of sexual assault. This description of prohibited sexual acts and conduct is not intended to be inclusive of all conduct that could fall within this category. It is the intent of this policy to provide notice that any unconsented sexual conduct, whether by a stranger or an acquaintance of the victim, is prohibited.
  • Domestic violence includes felony or misdemeanor crimes of violence committed by a current or former spouse of the victim by a person with whom the victim shares a child in common, by a person who is cohabitating with or has cohabitated with the victim as a spouse, by a person similarly situated to a spouse of the victim under the domestic or family violence laws of Maryland, or by any other person against an adult or youth victim who is protected from that person’s acts under the domestic violence laws of Maryland.
  • Dating violence means violence committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim and where the existence of such a relationship is determined based on the length of the relationship, the type of relationship, and the frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship.
  • Stalking means engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to fear for his or her safety or the safety of others, or suffer substantial emotional distress.

See Department of Public Safety for more information on the Loyola University Sexual Aggression Policy.

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