Messy military lawyer talking about trying to hopefully dispel some of the misinformation that’s actually been put out by the D.O.D. and various sharp representatives.
The number four on my part four of this series I want to talk to you about is this. Yes, that’s right. There are people who have put out in briefings this idea that if as the activity is happening for whatever reason, in my mind, I’m thinking, I don’t really want to be doing this. That alone would mean that you’ve been assaulted because people kind of hone in on this word unwanted, right? Well, it was unwanted touching, and it’s very confusing for people when they receive briefings and it’s been put out by people in authority, this idea that if you weren’t really feeling it, and in your mind you were thinking about how you didn’t want to do this, and then later decided that was really a bad idea, Okay?
Consent is something that’s given at the time, right? And a person, of course, I mean, we talk about that all day. A person has the right to consent to some things and not others consent at one point, and then withdraw consent and say, I am no longer wanting this. That can happen at any time. And your partner, it has to 100% respect each one of those decision points and each one of those parts of your desires. But I need to dispel, excuse me, this idea that I can later decide that that was something I should not have done. Or even this idea that in my moment in my head, as I’m doing these things, I’m thinking this is probably not a great idea. That that somehow means you did not consent. And the fact of the matter is, it does if you were there, if you were participating, if you were not, and I’m not, I don’t want to give any impressions that I’m trying to say there is any obligation on the part of someone to like physically fight back.
But under the law, there must be something that indicates a lack of consent. Now, there are exceptions when there’s a gun in your face, when there’s a knife, right? When any type of saying no would, would mean the threat of future physical harm. That’s a whole other can of worms, right? I’m talking about when your partner is seeing another person participate, even no matter what’s in their head, if they’re like, This isn’t what I like, or, gosh, I shouldn’t be doing this. There is an obligation to ensure that both partners are understanding what is okay and what’s not okay. And if there is an absence of that communication whether by words or by actions, then that’s consent, or at least you’ve caused mistake. A fact is to consent on the part of that partner. So once again, trying to dispel some of those myths put out by the D.O.D. If you have other information, feel free to follow up on my website. You can also check out some of my other informational videos on YouTube channel, Messy Military Lawyer.
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Jocelyn Stewart is a UCMJ court-martial attorney who specializes in defense of allegations of sexual assault for all branches of the military worldwide.
Contact the Law Office of Jocelyn C. Stewart at 1-888-252-0927.