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Additional Applicable Definitions


Consent means the affirmative, unambiguous, and voluntary agreement to engage in a specific sexual activity during a sexual encounter. It is an active agreement and cannot be coerced. Consent must be mutual and ongoing, and must be given for every sexual act. Consent to one form of sexual activity does not imply consent to other forms of sexual activity.

Consent cannot be assumed and is never implied, even in a current or previous dating or sexual relationship. Consent can be withdrawn at any time. Absence of protest, passivity, or silence is not consent. The absence of “no” does not mean “yes”.

Consent is an affirmative, voluntary, conscious decision, clearly communicated, in words or by voluntary actions that are unmistakable in their meaning. Within a community that prohibits premarital and extramarital sexual activity, any confusion or ambiguity about consent should be clearly communicated, and morally responsible behavior should be the norm.

Incapacitation also constitutes lack of consent. Incapacitation is a state in which someone cannot make rational, reasonable decisions because the person lacks the capacity to give knowing consent. Under current Massachusetts law, intercourse is generally considered to be committed by force and against a person’s will if: the person is unconscious; the person is asleep; the person is drugged or intoxicated; the person is frightened or intimidated; or the person is mentally impaired or deficient so that he or she cannot agree to the act. Engaging in any form of sexual activity with someone who is incapacitated constitutes sexual misconduct.