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Can consent protect you from allegations of sexual misconduct?

| May 2, 2021 | Firm News

Dating puts you in a vulnerable position where you may spend a lot of time with people you do not know very well. Navigating your date’s opinions, personality, expectations and intentions are just some of the challenges you may encounter along the way.

Regarding physical intimacy, moving too quickly without the verbal consent of your partner can sometimes have serious consequences. Especially if your partner alleges sexual misconduct on your part.

Understanding consent

You may feel fairly confident in your ability to understand another’s intentions simply through observing their behaviors, body language and other non-verbal cues. However, relying on what you think you know may not be enough to actually know what your partner wants.

Contrary to what some may say, you do not have to have verbal permission for every intimate interaction with your partner. According to the American Sexual Health Organization, having consent from your partner also involves open and honest discussions regarding expectations and boundaries. When both of you clearly understand the other’s intentions, the relationship can continue to develop without the confusion of trying to figure out what the other wants.

Defending your rights

Facing allegations of sexual misconduct can have life-changing consequences. Depending on the charges and the outcome of your case, your consequences may include legal fines, jail time and a requirement to register as a sex offender. Think carefully about your relationship with your former partner and look for evidence that suggests interactions happened only after consent.

To avoid trouble in the future, remember to avoid making assumptions about topics including marriage, flirting and intimacy. Use care when carrying on an intimate conversation via texting. Ensure that your partner gives consent void of intoxication, coercion or misunderstanding.