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What is consent?

Consent is defined as an agreement to participate in a sexual activity. For consent to be valid, it must be given freely, meaning it did not involve any pressure or manipulation.

Consent is not permanent – a yes can change to a no at any point in time.

Important elements of consent

Three important elements of consent is that it is fully informed, revolves around what the participants want, and is specified. Fully informed consent refers to the fact that if a participant has agreed to a certain type or types of sexual activities (e.g. protected sex), they have only consented to that activity (e.g. if a condom is not used, the participant did not consent to that sexual activity).

Want refers to the fact that when consenting to sex, no participant has to do anything that they do not want to do. Finally, specified consent refers to the idea that providing consent for one sexual activity does not imply consent for further or different activities (e.g. consenting to kiss does not imply consent to engage in penetrative sex).

Consent is not implied by any behaviours and in turn cannot be assumed. Choice of clothing, past behaviour, or location do not imply consent. Unless all participants have clearly said ‘yes’, consent does not exist. Accordingly, consent cannot be assumed to exist just because participants are in a relationship.

In Indonesia, the age of sexual consent is 15 between individuals of different genders. Same sex sexual consent can only be provided by those aged over 18.

Why is consent important?

Consent is important because without it, people may be committing a crime when engaging in sexual acts and victims may suffer significant physical and/or emotional trauma as a result of such acts.

Any person can be a victim of sexual assault, regardless of their gender identity, sexual identity, or age. Accordingly, every person has the right to voice what they want or do not want to participate in.

Alcohol, Drugs and Consent

Consent is usually understood as needing to say “no” however, consent is also actively and willingly being able to say “yes”.

If a person is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, that person does not have the capacity to provide consent to sexual activities. This means that if someone engages in sexual behaviours with someone who is under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol, this can be considered a sexual assault.

If you are even the slightest unsure whether consent is given, just don’t do it.


How to Identify. (N.d.). Retrieved from https://www.nsopw.gov/en/SafetyAndEducation/HowToIdentify#signsAbuse

National Sexual Rights Law and Policy Database. (N.d.). http://sexualrightsdatabase.org/static/country-373.html

Sexual Consent. (2019). Retrieved from https://www.plannedparenthood.org/learn/sex-and-relationships/sexual-consent

6 Different Types of Abuse. (2017). Retrieved from https://reachma.org/6-different-types-abuse/