© 2016 by Crisis Center of Southeast Texas

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Frequently Asked Questions

  • How can I figure out if what happened was Rape?

There are a few questions to consider about consent.

Consent is a crucial element in judging whether or not a crime occurred. Consent can be taken away at any point, before or during any sexual act, and consenting to one sexual act does not cover as consent for others.

Are the participants old enough to consent?

Each state sets an “age of consent,” which is the minimum age someone must be to have sex. In Texas, the age of consent is 17 years of age. People below this age are considered children and cannot legally agree to have sex. In other words, even if the child or teenager says yes, the law says no.

In most states, the age of consent is 16 or 18. In some states, the age of consent varies according to the age difference between the participants. Generally, “I thought she was 18” is not considered a legal excuse — it’s up to you to make sure your partner is old enough to legally take part.

Do both people have the capacity to consent?

States also define who has the mental and legal capacity to consent. Those with diminished capacity may not have the legal ability to agree to have sex. In Texas, one cannot consent to sex if they are:

 

  • Under the age of 17

  • Under use or threat of physical violence or death

  • Unconscious, unaware, or mentally incapacitated

  • Under the influence of drugs

 

Did both participants agree to take part?

Did someone use physical force to make you have sexual contact with him/her? Has someone threatened you to make you have intercourse with them? If so, it is rape.

The absence of a “no” is not the presence of a “yes.” If you proceed despite your partner’s expressed instruction to stop, you have not only violated basic codes of morality and decency, you may have also committed a crime under the laws of your state.