RED ZONE: Not so blurred lines
A college campus at the beginning of fall is an influx of new ideas, new people and new beginnings. In college, drugs and alcohol become more prevalent and many will engage in sexual activity. The combination of drugs and alcohol with sex can be dangerous and it’s important to understand when sex is consensual. There is a clear line drawn between a consensual sexual relationships and a non-consensual sexual assault.
A poll done by The Northern Light of 195 people at UAA Campus Kick-Off shows that 88.2% of respondents believe that one cannot give consent if they are drunk. 6.67% of respondents claimed you can indeed give consent whilst under the influence of alcohol; the remaining 5.13% of respondents gave other responses.
In fact, it is illegal to get consent from anyone who is under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.
In the UAA Student Code of Conduct, consent is defined in the following way, “Consent is clear, knowing and voluntary, and can be withdrawn at any time. Consent is active, not passive and cannot be given while an individual is incapacitated.”
This means that no one who is under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs is able to give consent. Anyone who engages in sexual contact of any sorts with someone under the influence of alcohol or drugs is committing sexual assault.
The UAA Student Code of Conduct defines incapacitation further than just one who is drunk or high, however.
“Incapacitation is when individuals are in a state or condition in which they are unable to make sound decisions. This can be due to sleep, age, unconsciousness, alcohol, drug use or mental and/or other disability. For example, someone who is not of legal age or ability or someone who is unable to articulate what, how, when, where, and/or with whom they desire a sexual act to take place is incapacitated.”
The Code of Conduct clearly defines what is needed for consent and alcohol and drugs aren’t a part of that mix. Sadly, 50% of sexual assaults of college women involve the use of alcohol or other drugs by the perpetrator, victim or both according to “The Campus Sexual Assault (CSA) Study” done in 2007. No reliable data is available for sexual assaults of males.
Lena Illig, a representative from Voices for Planned Parenthood and pre-justice major at UAA, understands the importance of consent and what it means for your sexual health. “Consent is being in a conscious and coherent state of mind to engage in sexual activity. Consent is also about fully agreeing to partake in a sexual activity. If you have any doubt or hesitation about it, say no to the activity” said Illig.
An individual must know and feel comfortable with what they are doing before and during sexual activity. It’s ALWAYS okay to say no, no matter how far the sexual interaction has gone.
The Student Code of Conduct continues in the definition of consent with, “Past consent does not imply future consent. Consent to engage in sexual activity with one person does not imply consent to engage is sexual activity with another. Consent cannot be given by individuals who are not of age to give legal consent. Silence, or an absence of resistance, cannot be interpreted as consent. Consent can be given by words or actions, as long as those words or actions create mutually understandable clear permission regarding willingness to engage in (and the conditions of) sexual activity.”
There are no blurred lines when it comes to consent. Individuals should always ask for consent and everyone should be comfortable with saying no when they aren’t comfortable or not willing. Everyone should respect other people’s limits.