The meaning of Consent: Consent is an agreement or permission to engage in an activity. Valid consent is a mutual agreement between two parties. Consent is associated with respect and communication (verbal or non-verbal). Consent means the parties involved must respect their own personal boundaries and those of others. Consent is voluntary and must be freely given. Consent is invalid if obtained through coercion, deceit, undue influence/ exercise of authority, a mistake of fact or under duress: pressures, pesters, harassment, bullying, intimidation, threats, bullying, guilt trips etc. Consent must be enthusiastically expressed verbally and through non-verbal means by the grantor. The granter of consent must have an opportunity to say NO. Consent must be ongoing/contemporaneous and must be given for specific activities at all times. Consent can be withdrawn at any time and once withdrawn, associated activities must also discontinue. Consent must feel safe and comfortable. Silence cannot be taken as implied consent. What is Sexual consent?
Sexual activities include kissing, sexual touching, fondling, intercourse (anal, oral and vagina). Sexualconsent means both parties agree to do a sexual activity and have an understanding of the specific act they have agreed to. Consent must be obtained or given for every single act at all times. The right to consent to sex is about a person’s right to decide on his own body in relation to sex. An absence of physical resistance is not consent. When it comes to sexual assault, consent cannot be implied. In Canada: legal age to consent to sexual activity is 16 years unless they are closer in age. Children under age 12 or younger cannot consent to sex. Consent, particularly for 16-year-olds, is invalid when the other person is in position of authority (i.e. employer, parent or guardian, teacher, coach) or when the sexual activity is exploitative. In Ghana, age of consent is 16 years old. Individuals who are 15 years or less cannot consent to sex. The supreme court of Canada, for instance, has ruled that consent to sexual activity cannot be implied, but rather, consent must be contemporaneously expressed. Consent from an incapacitated person (due intoxication, illness, developmental or intellectual disability) is invalid. Consent to sex cannot be given on behalf of an individual by his parent or guardian. Given the gender dominated society in which we live, sexual autonomy and the issue of consent must be examined carefully.
References: of Canada,, Michael, Implied Consent and Sexual Assault: Intimate Relationships, Autonomy, and Voice. McGill –Queen’s University Press.Teaching sexual Health, Canada <; accessed
Signed by Akosua Gyimah

11 thoughts on “Sexual Consent and Sexual Assault”
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