A notably significant consequence of alcohol use related to sexual behavior is that it complicates the asking and giving of consent. Sexual violence results when consent for participation in sexual activity is not obtained by any and all involved parties. So, what is meant by consent as it relates to alcohol-related sexual assault crimes in Texas? Read on to learn more.
WHAT IS CONSENT?
Consent, as it relates to sexual activity, refers to voluntary permission given to another person to participate in sexual activity. Consent for participation in sexual activity means that all parties involved have actively agreed to the sexual conduct and behaviors, without being coerced or forced, including while being under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. Without this verbal agreement, any sexual activity is considered an illegal act of sexual assault.
WHY CONSENT MATTERS
“Yes means yes; no means no.” These words have been heard for years with regard to consent and sexual activity. Across the United States, legislators continue to review and adapt sexual assault laws based on these words. They make clarifications to ensure that it is known that consent is not simply the absence of “a no;” rather, it is the presence of “a yes.” Consent needs to be clear. A participant in sexual activity saying nothing does not constitute agreement to sexual acts; nor does body language, sexual experiences of the past that might have occurred between the parties, or any other nonverbal actions. One should never assume consent, but should always be sure to ask for it. Why? Because without a mututal, clear, affirmative expression of interest and approval of any sexual activities, engaging in those acts may result in an accusation of sexual assault.
Consent is specific.
Consent given for a specific sexual act does not constitute consent for any other sexual acts. Furthermore, consent can be given, but later withdrawn.
ALCOHOL USE AND CONSENT
Alcohol use complicates the issue of consent because it significantly impacts an individual’s ability to make decisions. Alcohol can incapacitate people such that they are incapable of consent–that is, they are unable to fully understand the facts, nature, extent, and/or implications of their situation. Studies have shown there to be a direct relationship between excessive alcohol consumption and the risk of allegations for the crime of sexual assault. A significant number of sexual assaults have been found to involve alcohol consumption on the part of the perpetrator, the assaulted person, or both. When alcohol is used prior to or during sexual activity, clear consent might not be obtained. An intoxicated person may not be able to give consent, clearly expressing his or her willingness to participate in sexual activity.
Are you or a loved one facing sexual assault charges in Texas? Do you need legal counsel in Austin, or the surrounding area? Brian Erskine of Erskine Law is available to help. If you need professional legal advice regarding sexual assault charges, reaching out to a criminal defense attorney is key. Brian Erskine has successfully handled a wide variety of cases over the years, including those involving accusations of assault; he can provide you with the legal assistance you need. If you are looking for a caring, competent, and experienced attorney, reach out to Brian Erskine. For a free consultation, contact Erskine Law.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network)
National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC)
“Alcohol-related sexual assault: a common problem among college students.” in Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs or