Letter: What is the definition of consent? | SteamboatToday.com

Letter: What is the definition of consent?

The posters read, “Teach your kids consent.”

The American Law Institute created the Model Penal Code, which has been adopted widely throughout the U.S. On June 8, all members updated the section called “Model Penal Code: Sexual Assault and Related Offenses.” They voted and approved the following definition of consent:

Section 213.0 Definitions

….. (2) (e) “Consent”**

(i) “Consent” for purposes of Article 213 means a person’s willingness to engage in a specific act of sexual penetration, oral sex or sexual contact.

(ii) Consent may be express or it may be inferred from behavior — both action and inaction — in the context of all the circumstances.

(iii) Neither verbal nor physical resistance is required to establish that consent is lacking, but their absence may be considered, in the context of all the circumstances, in determining the issue of consent.

(iv) Notwithstanding subsection (2)(e)(ii) of this Section, consent is ineffective when given by a person incompetent to consent or under circumstances precluding the free exercise of consent, as provided in Sections 213.1, 213.2, 213.3, 213.4, 213.5, 213.7, 213.8, and 213.9.

(v) Consent may be revoked or withdrawn any time before or during the act of sexual penetration, oral sex or sexual contact. A clear verbal refusal — such as “No,” “Stop” or “Don’t” — establishes the lack of consent or the revocation or withdrawal of previous consent. Lack of consent or revocation or withdrawal of consent may be overridden by subsequent consent given prior to the act of sexual penetration, oral sex or sexual contact.

Many schools attempt to define consent as “affirmative consent” or “yes means yes.” The affirmative consent standard is an impossible standard with no definable boundaries; a nonsense trap designed to find any respondent guilty under a claim of sexual violence.

It is unrealistic to analyze the existence of “affirmative consent” for every single touch on every single body part during an intimate interaction. “May I now touch your left thigh 3 inches above your knee?” Nobody has intimate relations that meet that standard.

Both parties in an intimate interaction are required to obtain consent. It goes both ways and should never be construed to be a “boys” problem.

Susan Stewart

Steamboat Springs

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