Consent and Bystander Intervention

What constitutes Expressed consent?

Expressed consent to engage in sexual activity must be given by each partner.  Expressed consent is mutual agreement, based on shared desire for specific sexual activities that is expressed verbally or nonverbally.  Examples of expressed consent include, but are not limited to: (a) an ongoing verbal interaction, taken one step at a time, to engage in escalating sexual intimacy; (b) mutual awareness of possible unwanted consequences of sexual activities such as pregnancy and sexual transmitted diseases and taking precautions to avoid these consequences and (c) an ongoing recognition that consent to some sexual activities does not imply consent to other, different, or more intimate sexual activities.

Examples of nonconsensual sex include but are not limited to: threatening, forcing, manipulating, intimidating, blackmailing, drugging, and causing a person to become intoxicated as a substitute for expressed consent or engaging in unwelcome sexual activity with a sleeping or incapacitated person.

 New Hampshire RSA 632-A:2 describes the circumstances where sexual activity is not considered consensual

Although non-verbal cues are acceptable and may be your practice in receiving expressed consent, keep in mind that verbal expressed consent is less likely to be misinterpreted, and the safest, least ambiguous way to seek and receive expressed consent.  Do not rely on gestures, facial expressions, or vague/non-specific verbal answers.

Wildcats are active bystanders

Bystander Intervention Resources

Wildcats, when it feels safe, take action and safely help when they see a potentially harmful situation.

  • Notice the situation: Be aware of your surroundings.
  • Recognize it as a potential danger: Do you recognize that someone needs help?
  • Feel responsible to act: See yourself as being part of the solution to help.
  • Know what to do: Educate yourself on what to do.
  • Intervene safely: Take action but be sure to keep yourself safe.
  • Tell another person. Being with others is a good idea when a situation looks dangerous.

Remember these tips when you are out...

Have a plan.

Talk with your friends about your plans before you go out. Do you plan to drink? Are you interested in hooking up? Where do you want to go? Having a clear plan ahead of time helps friends look after one another.

Go out together.

Go out as a group and come home as a group. Never separate and never leave your friends behind.

Watch out for others.

If you notice a friend’s relationship with a partner has become volatile or abusive, let them know that no one deserves that abuse. If you are unsure how to help a friend in an abusive relationship, use the priviledged confidential support services available on campus through SHARPP, Psychological and Counseling Services, Health & Wellness, or UNH Chaplains Association.

Consensual amorous relationship policy

UNH’s consensual amorous relationship policy provides guidelines to prevent conflicts of interest that can occur when two members of the UNH community whose institutional roles place them in an uneven power dynamic engaged in a consensual amorous relationship. UNH believes that such relationships create an uneven power dynamic, and the potential for abuse of power or bias, in situations where for example, the faculty or staff member has the professional responsibility to evaluate the student’s academic or work performance, perform in a “checks and balances” role (such as signing off on the student’s timesheet or expense payment), and/or participate in decisions affecting the student’s academic prospects or employment.

Employees in such a relationship, past or current, must notify the department chair/director or immediate supervisor. Any student involved in such a relationship is encouraged to notify the Office of the Provost or the Affirmative Action and Equity Office Director (who is also UNH Title IX Coordinator). Steps may include, but are not limited to, reassignment of the faculty or staff member’s responsibilities and recusal from all institutional decisions related to the student.

Wildcat standards

  • Get consent for sexual activity each and every time.
  • Form healthy and respectful relationships.
  • Volunteer to make UNH a better, safer, more inclusive community.
  • Support friends and community members that have been impacted by sexual violence and harassment
  • Hold others accountable for their inappropriate behaviors.
  • Students are encouraged to report incidents of sexual violence and harrassment.

Helping someone in trouble

  • Ask if the impacted person is okay. Provide options and a listening ear.
  • Ask if the person wants to leave. Make sure that the person gets home safely.
  • Call the police (911) TTY users: 711 (Relay NH) or someone else in authority or yell for help.
  • Call the SHARPP 24/7 Support Help Line: 603-862-SAFE (7233) for support and options.

About alcohol

Alcohol or drugs are often used as a tool for sexual assault.  UNH policy and New Hampshire law forbid initiating sex with a person who is incapacitated by the use of alcohol or drugs.