In many cases where someone is accused of sexual assault, the other person alleges that they never had consent for that activity to take place. That’s why people will often say that the best thing you can do to protect yourself is to make sure you always ask for this consent first. It can be a bit of an awkward conversation, but just taking a few seconds to clarify that you both want the same thing can help you avoid charges.
That being said, you may wonder what happens if your partner changes their mind. Say that they’ve already given you consent. Can they take it back?
It can be withdrawn at any time
The truth is that consent can be withdrawn whenever one of the two individuals would like to do so. It does not last forever, and it can be taken away in a second. If it is, perhaps because the other person started to feel uncomfortable or decided they wanted to leave, you cannot inhibit them in this action. You can’t claim that prior consent still counts once it has been removed.
One way that this sometimes comes up is between individuals who have had an on-and-off-again relationship. For instance, someone may claim that they thought they had consent because they had already had a sexual encounter with that person in the past. It was fine that time and no one had a problem with it, so they assumed it would be fine the next time. But you can never make these types of assumptions with consent, and you have to get it every single time.
Have you been arrested?
If some sort of confusion or oversight has led to an arrest on very serious charges, it’s imperative that you understand all the legal options at your disposal.