Understanding Consent

Watch our video to help educate yourself and others on sexual consent.

Watch our video to help educate yourself and others on sexual consent.

Based on Emmeline May's original blog http://rockstardinosaurpirateprincess.com/2015/03/02/consent-not-actually-that-complicated.

The University of Exeter and Students’ Guild support consent education in order to continue to develop a safe and respectful environment for everyone who studies, lives and works in Exeter.

TRIGGER WARNING - These webpages and video contains information about sexual assault / harrassment which may cause distress.

Why consent education?

We believe that consent is simple, but our previous education has failed to prepare us for the complexity of relationships and sexual encounters at University. Consent is essential in all sexual activity. Consent education will:

  • foster a positive understanding of consent
  • empower students to understand our own boundaries and respect those of others
  • help to create a society where nobody feels ashamed to engage in or reject sexual activity
  • help us build healthy and respectful relationships
  • help prevent sexual violence


Take the consent quiz - http://pauseplaystop.org.uk/

Consent and the Law

‘Consent’ is defined by the Sexual Offences Act (2003) as when a person agrees by choice and has the freedom and capacity to make that choice.

This means that the person must be capable – by age, mental ability or sobriety – to choose freely to engage in sexual activity. If the person was constrained in any way, pressured or incapacitated, consent cannot be deemed to have been given. Proceeding without consent is #NeverOK.

If sexual activity takes place when someone acts intentionally, doesn’t receive consent and doesn’t reasonably believe they have been given consent, a crime has been committed. This includes touching another person in a sexual way without consent, or penetrating another person’s vagina, anus or mouth with a penis or other object.

Most sexual offences carry prison sentences and will remain on the perpetrator’s criminal record for life, affecting their education, career, family, friends and relationships.

Consent and University

Around 90% of sexual offences are committed by someone known to the victim such as a partner, friend, housemate or family member. Consent to sexual activity – from kissing and touching to intercourse – can’t be assumed. The fact that someone flirted, kissed, touched or had sex previously, doesn’t mean they want to again. Whether you’re in a relationship or have had sex with someone before, giving and receiving consent is an ongoing process.

Not only does ‘no’ mean no’ - the absence of ‘no’ doesn’t mean ‘yes’. If someone hasn’t clearly communicated their consent and wish to engage in sexual activity, consent hasn’t been given. Consent should be informed, mutual, willingly given, communicated clearly and retractable. If consent is withdrawn at any point, sexual activity must stop. Proceeding without consent is #NeverOK.

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University of Exeter Students' Guild is a Charity and Company Limited by Guarantee. Registered Charity Number: 1136468 Company Number: 07217324; registered in England and Wales Registered office: Devonshire House, Stocker Road, Exeter, EX4 4PZ