When Consent to Sexual Activities Is Not Valid

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You must always make sure you have your partner's consent before participating in a sexual activity. "Consent" means agreement.

To be valid, this consent must meet certain tests: the law only recognizes consent that is informed and given freely. Informed means the person is aware of the consequences of the decision. Free means voluntary.

If consent is not free and informed, there can be a sexual assault, even if the partner expressed consent.

In this article, Éducaloi explains situations where consent to a sexual activity is not valid.

When Consent Is Not Valid

In the situations described below, the law doesn't recognize the consent given. This is because certain factors, such as fear, cancel out the consent.  

  • Consent is given because of fear.

    Someone agrees to take part in a sexual activity because of fear of violence if she refuses.
  • Consent is given because of force, threats or fraud.

    Someone agrees to participate in a sexual activity because of a threat or because someone used violence to force this agreement.

    This is also the case when someone agrees to sexual activities if a condom is used to prevent pregnancy and the partner puts a hole in the condom so it will not work.

  • Consent is given under the influence of someone in a position of authority.

    For example, a person agrees to sexual activity with his employer because she threatens to fire him if he refuses.
  • Consent is given by someone who cannot give proper consent.

    Someone who is unconscious, too drunk or has been drugged, for example, by a date rape drug, cannot consciously agree to a sexual activity.

    This is also the case for people suffering from mental disabilities that make them unable to consent, and for people who aren't old enough to consent to sexual activities.
  • Consent was given, but the person loses consciousness.

    Consent isn't valid for any sexual acts that take place after someone becomes unconscious.

Important !
This article explains in a general way the law that applies in Quebec. This article is not a legal opinion or legal advice. To find out the specific rules for your situation, consult a lawyer or notary.