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Sexual Assault Awareness Month and Things You Should Know About Consent

April is a month to reach out to the public and educate the public about sexual violence. This is also known as the Sexual Assault Awareness Month or “SAAM.” This years theme is “I Ask” and is focused on asking to obtain consent before engaging in sexual activity. The National Sexual Violence Resource Center notes “The Campaign theme, I Ask, champions the message that asking for consent is a healthy, normal, and necessary part of everyday actions.”

Ross Law is doing our part to get out the word. As a law firm that represents sexual assault survivors, it is imperative to us to do what we can to prevent or deter sexual violence by holding people and entities responsible for their actions and failures. Here are some useful tips and resources:

Consent and Sex:

What is it: Someone giving permission for something to happen or to do something.

When to Ask for Consent Obtain consent before engaging in sexual conduct: Ask for consent before beginning in sexual activity. This includes kissing, cuddling and any kind of sex. Remember to continually ask for consent as the sexual contact increases or changes. This ensures you are not putting the other person in a situation where they are feeling pressured or you are taking advantage of them by escalating the situation.

How to Ask: Ensure that when you are communicating with the other person that you make it clear that it is perfectly fine if they say “no.” You do not want to be pressuring the person. If you are not clear if the other person has consented ask again in a different way.

Click Here for More Tips on obtaining consent prior to engaging in sexual activity.

Consent, Sex, and Digital Technology

Why is This Important: Technology has brought things that used to happen behind closed doors out into the open. People do things and say things through their phones or computers that they would never do or say to another person if they were in front of them. That is why it is important to understand there are boundaries that must be respected when communicating with another.

How often to text: You don’t want to be considered a creeper by the other person. Fifty texts a day for some people is great, while for others it is overwhelming. Talking about how often to text in general terms may help you understand your partner’s preferences. This may also help you understand how often they prefer to respond to texts. This conversation may save the anxiety from thinking “am I texting too much” or “why haven’t they responded yet?”

What to Text-Sexting: Obviously not everyone is comfortable with “sexting.” Sexting means sending sexual photos, videos, or messages. Sexting can be extremely disturbing to the recipients if the recipient hasn’t given the sender express consent to send them. Imagine being at work when someone sends a nude person of themselves. Some people would be embarrassed or horrified upon receipt of this photograph. Others, may be fine with it. This is why is is critical to obtain another’s consent before sexting with another.

Consent Violations: If someone sends a nude photo, DO NOT share it with others. It is a breach of their trust, but you may get sued or prosecuted if you do. Also, remember that it is a crime to store or share sexual photos of someone under 18, even if you are also under 18. Parents need to ensure their kids understand this.

Click Here for more information.

Consent and Intoxication:

Consent and an Intoxicated or Impaired Person This is an area where people should simply steer clear of. Engaging in sexual activity with a person that is intoxicated, mentally defective, mentally incapacitated, or physically helpless will put you at risk or being arrested and prosecuted and being sued in civil court for hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars. You do not want to be the person claiming that you thought the other person was sober enough to consent, so you thought it was OK. This is a time when simply asking for consent is not enough, because the other person doesn’t have the mental capacity to give consent.

Talk to Your Kids About Consent:

Credit: Rainn.org

Credit: Rainn.org

This is also a good month to discuss consent with your children. The Rainn Group has some good tips regarding “safe dating” for teens, college students, and kids. The idea is to get kids comfortable with the idea that they are in charge of their own body, and that they have the power to say no, even, if they change their mind. Click here for more tips.

If you or someone you know has been a victim of sexual violence please contact Oregon crime victim lawyer Jeremiah Ross and Ross Law PDX for your free case evaluation at 503.224.1658. Here at Ross Law we have represented people that have been sexually assaulted and abused in various cases throughout Oregon. Please call us to discuss your rights and your options. Please also remember to not solely rely on this post for guidance or information regarding obtaining consent and sexual violence.