Assent vs Consent– Don’t lie to get laid!
Permission is a form of assent. But consent has a different meaning in the eyes of the law. And that distinction makes tricking someone, or depriving them of consent in any other way, a crime.
By law, consent, not assent, must be present in sexual relations, as stated clearly in the ItsOnUs Pledge, supported by President Obama; “Non-consensual sex is sexual assault.” Assenting, not consenting to sex, simply doesn’t cut it!
What’s the difference between assent and consent?
The University of Alaska, Fairbanks, points out (in adherening with federal Nuremberg Code) that such a difference exists in its description of the legal requirements when conducting ethical research on minors:
“Work with children or adults not capable of giving consent requires the consent of the parent or legal guardian and the assent of the subject.”
From this description, we can easily see that assent and consent don’t carry the same weight. Even though the explanation is given to facilitate a purpose not related to sexual conduct, it’s clear that there is a legal distinction between assent and consent. And this distinction is at the heart of why any sexual conduct, even those containing assent, but not consent, is criminal.
Assent simply means “Agreement on the face of it.”
Consent means “Freely given, knowledgeable and informed agreement.”
Just because you nod your head and provide permission to something, does not mean you were fully informed, and being fully informed of the action AND the actor is absolutely essential to qualify as consent. The use of force or duress, such as violence or fear that your career will cease, constitute sex without consent. In all types of sexual assault, the offender knows they have deprived you of the ability or freedom to make your informed choice. They deliberately clouded your judgement. When you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or when you are unconscious, even though you may assent, the offender knows you are incapable of consent.
Assenting to an action means agreeing, but when that agreement was induced by force duress or deception, the person is unknowing, therefore, not consenting. Having sex with you, without your fully informed consent, robs you of your self determination over your reproductive organs. All sex in which the victim is deprived of consent, or tricked to think their assent is consent, should be outlawed in every state and around the world!