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Addressing Sexual Misconduct The Butler Way

Information About Consent

It is the University’s expectation that all members of its community obtain consent for every sexual act, every time. The person who initiates sexual activity is responsible for obtaining consent for that activity. Consent can be withdrawn at any time by any party. Once consent is withdrawn, sexual activity must stop immediately.

Under the Butler University Sexual Misconduct Policy, in order for there to be consent, the following must be present:

  • Voluntary words or actions of agreement or permission
    • If force, intimidation or threats, and/or coercion are used to obtain another person’s agreement or permission, there is no consent, because there is no voluntariness.
      • Please see below for definitions of force, intimidation or threat, and coercion.
  • Mutual understanding
    • Everyone participating in the activity must understand what they are agreeing to or giving permission for.
    • A person who is incapacitated cannot understand what they are agreeing to or giving permission for.
      • Please see below for information about incapacitation.
  • Specificity to an act and a time
    • Consent must be obtained for every act, every time.
    • Consent for one act is not consent for another act. Consent that was given in the past does not mean consent is given in the present.

Consent cannot be assumed based on any of the following:

  • Silence or passivity
    • Remember, voluntary words or actions of agreement or permission must be present. If someone is not saying or doing anything, that does not mean they are giving consent.
  • Lack of resistance
    • The fact that someone does not say no or does not resist does not mean they are agreeing with or giving permission for sexual activity.
  • A current or prior intimate relationship
    • The fact that people are or have been in an intimate relationship does not mean that consent is automatically given. Consent must be obtained for every act, every time.

There is no consent if any of the following are present:

  • Force
    • The use of physical violence that would reasonably overcome an individual’s freedom to choose whether to participate in sexual activity.
  • Intimidation or Threat
    • The use of physical violence that would reasonably overcome an individual’s freedom to choose whether to participate in sexual activity.
  • Coercion
    • Unreasonable pressure to engage in sexual activity.
      • Factors considered when determining reasonableness include duration, frequency, isolation, and intensity.
  • Incapacitation
    • An individual is incapacitated when they are unable to understand the who, what, when, where, why, and how of the situation due to the use of alcohol and/or other drugs, mental or physical disability, being asleep or unconscious, and/or age (as defined by Indiana state law).
    • There is no consent when:
      • The individual who initiated the sexual activity knew of the other party’s incapacitation, OR
      • A reasonable person in the same situation would have known of the other party’s incapacitation
    • A person should be cautious about engaging in sexual activity when any party has been drinking alcohol or using other drugs. The use of alcohol or other drugs may create uncertainty as to whether consent has been asked for or given. If a person has doubt about any party’s ability to give consent, the safe thing to do is not engage in any sexual activity.
    • NOTE: Being impaired by alcohol or other drugs does not excuse a person from responsibility for engaging in conduct that violates the Sexual Misconduct Policy