Sexual assault is sexual activity, including sexual acts and/or sexual contact, which occurs without affirmative consent (defined below) to engage in the activity
Sexual exploitation is non-consensual abuse or exploitation of another person’s sexuality for the purpose of sexual gratification, financial gain, personal benefit or advantage, humiliation, harassment or any illicit purpose.
Affirmative consent to engage in sexual activity is a knowing, voluntary and mutual decision among all participants to engage in sexual activity. Consent can be given by word or action, as long as those words or actions create clear permission to engage in the sexual activity. Silence or the lack of resistance, in and of itself, does not demonstrate consent.
The definition of consent does not vary based upon a participant’s sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. Consent to any sexual act or prior consensual sexual activity between or with any party does not necessarily constitute consent to any other sexual act. Consent is required regardless of whether the person initiating the act is under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Consent may be initially given but withdrawn at any time.
Consent cannot be given when a person is incapacitated, which occurs when an individual lacks the ability to knowingly choose to participate in sexual activity. Incapacitation may be caused by a lack of consciousness, being asleep, being involuntarily restrained or if the individual otherwise cannot consent. Depending on the degree of intoxication, someone who is under the influence of alcohol, drugs or other intoxicants may be incapacitated and therefore unable to consent. Consent cannot be given when it is the result of coercion, intimidation, force or threat of harm. An individual under the age of 17 cannot consent to sexual activity in New York. When consent is withdrawn or can no longer be given, sexual activity must stop.