In all cases of sexual harm, lack of consent is part of the offence. You don’t give consent unless you agree to the activity. If you initially agree to the activity, then change your mind and say no or indicate in any way that you want it to stop, you are “withdrawing” your consent and the activity should stop.
You can’t ever give consent if you are too drunk or high to be able to consent, or if there is any force, threat, pressure, or deception involved. For example, if you agree to sex but only because the other person threatened you about it, that isn’t consent.
You also don’t give consent if you are mistaken about who the other person is, or what the activity will be. For example, if you agree to oral sex, that doesn’t mean you consent to other kinds of sex.
For more information about what informed consent looks like, see the BodySafe’s guide at www.bodysafe.nz/consent.
If you’re under 16, the law says you are too young to consent to someone doing a sexual act with you, even if you say you agree to it. This includes physical things like if someone touches intimate parts of your body, and other things, like sexting, or having a naked picture of you on their phone.
If you’re under 16 and looking for support about sexual harm, this section might not have the information you are looking for. The law is a bit different if the harm happens to someone under 16, because it is a more serious offence for someone to do a sexual act with a minor.
For more information about sex and relationships when you’re under 16, go to www.youthlaw.co.nz/your-rights and click on “Sex and relationships”. You should talk to an adult you can trust, or contact a support group like Youthline or What’s Up as soon as you can. To find their contact details, see: “Where to go for more support” at the bottom of this page.