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Addressing Sexual Misconduct The Butler Way

Information About Consent

Under both the Sexual Misconduct Policy and the Non-Discrimination Policy, consent is defined as voluntary words or actions mutually understood by each party to be agreement or permission to engage in a specific sexual act at a specific time.


This means:

  • Consent must be freely given (voluntary agreement or permission).
    • Force, intimidation or threat, and coercion overcome a person’s ability to voluntarily agree to or give permission for sexual activity. If any of these are present, there is no consent.
      • Please see below for definitions of these terms.
  • Every person involved in the sexual activity must understand what they are agreeing to or giving permission for (mutually understood).
    • Someone who is incapacitated cannot understand what they are agreeing to or giving permission for.
      • Please see below for information about incapacitation.
  • Consent must be obtained for every act, every time (specific sexual act at a specific 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 provided. 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 force that would reasonably overcome an individual’s freedom to choose whether to participate in sexual activity.
  • Intimidation or Threat
    • Express or implied threat of immediate or future physical, emotional, reputational, financial, or other harm to an individual or others that would reasonably place an individual in fear and that is employed to compel someone to engage in sexual activity.
  • Coercion
    • Pressure to engage in sexual activity that would reasonably overcome an individual’s freedom to choose whether to participate in sexual activity.
      • Reasonableness will be evaluated based on the totality of known circumstances, including, but not limited to, 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 or the Non-Discrimination Policy.

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.