Sexual acts require consent, or else they might be considered a form of sexual assault or another sex crime. But what is consent? How is it given or obtained? You can find out on this page.
What is Sexual Consent?
Consent in general is when a person gives permission for something to happen or agrees to do something.
Firstly, what is sex? “Sexual intercourse” in Connecticut is defined as oral sex, anal intercourse, or vaginal intercourse (Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53a-65(2) (2019)). Slight penetration is enough to count as anal or vaginal intercourse, and penetration can be done with an object or a body part. Id.
Sexual consent has to be clear and explicit. Explicit consent means one person verbally tells another person that they want to have sex with the other person or will agree to have sex with them. If the sexual act changes, consent must be given again. A person cannot assume just because a person consents to oral sex they have also consented to vaginal sex. Consent can be withdrawn at any time even during sexual intercourse or the sexual act. If one person tells the other person to stop during intercourse, it means that consent has been withdrawn. This means that they must stop having sex.
Issues With Consent
Alcohol and drugs can affect whether or not someone can give consent to have sex. If a person is too drunk or too high, they cannot legally consent to sex or sexual contact. For example, a person who is unconscious due to intoxication cannot legally consent to sex even if they agreed to sex before they passed out.
Mental illness or capacity can affect whether or not someone can give consent to have sex as well. If someone is so mentally ill or incapacitated it significantly affects their ability to understand or control their actions and responses, then they cannot legally consent to sex or sexual contact.
The Absence of Consent
If consent is not given by one of the persons engaging in sexual intercourse, then it is considered rape or sexual assault. If a person physically forces someone to have sex with them, that is rape or sexual assault. If a person tells another person “no” to their initiation of sex and the person has sex with them anyway, that is rape. If two people are engaging in sexual intercourse and one of them says to stop and the other person does not, that is rape.
The state of Connecticut does not have a statute that uses the term “rape”. Instead, rape is covered under Connecticut General Statutes § § 53a-70, 53a-70a, 53a-70c, 53a-71 and is also knowns as sexual assault in the first degree, aggravated sexual assault in the first degree, aggravated sexual assault of a minor, and sexual assault in the second degree.
The age of consent to engage sexual intercourse in the state of Connecticut is sixteen years old. This means that any person who is sixteen years or older can consent to sexual intercourse with someone sixteen years or older. Anyone eighteen years or older may not have sexual intercourse with a person who is below the age of consent, meaning someone who is younger than sixteen-years-old. Otherwise a person is committing what is known as “statutory rape.” That means they are engaging in sexual intercourse with someone who is not legally old enough to be able to consent to sex. Statutory rape is governed by Connecticut General Statutes § § 53a-70 and 53a-71, also known as sexual assault in the first degree and sexual assault in the second degree.
Connecticut also allows for persons age thirteen to fifteen to consent to sexual intercourse with another person who is no more than three years older than their current age. An example can be a thirteen-year-old legally consenting to sexual intercourse with a fifteen-year-old. A person who does not abide by these age limits would be committing sexual assault in the second degree.
If a person is under the age of thirteen then they can legally consent to sex with a person who is no more than two years older than their current age. An example of this is an eleven-year-old legally consenting to sexual intercourse with a thirteen-year-old. A person who does not abide by these age limits would be committing either sexual assault in the first degree or sexual assault in the second degree.
If you still have questions about consent and Connecticut sex crimes, we are happy to answer your questions. Contact our office today for more information.