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Navigating Consent: Steps to Mitigate False Accusations of Sexual Assault

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The law regarding sexual assault is constantly evolving in our society and it’s crucial to address a pressing concern: how to protect oneself from the risk of false accusations of sexual assault. Based on the recent Not On Record Podcast, Episode #80: Top 10 Ways to Avoid a False Accusation of Sexual Assault, this blog is a summary of the top assumptions on how to avoid such allegations while highlighting the challenges of these common notions.

Obtaining Consent

Consent is paramount in consensual sexual activity, but implementing the suggested “explicit” and “enthusiastic” consent in real-life situations isn’t always easy. The concept of obtaining “enthusiastic consent” often leads to uncomfortable and unnatural conversations that feel unnatural in romantic situations. In Not On Record in Episode 80 we acknowledge the necessity of consent while also pointing out that obtaining it in the manner recommended doesn’t always coincide with the natural flow of real human interactions.


Maintaining open communication and respecting boundaries are key principles in any relationship, but in this episode we shed light on the absurdity of adhering to these ideals in a strict fashion. Asking permission for every single action of an intimate interaction is unrealistic – “Can I undo this button?” “And the next one…” Sex doesn’t happen this way. Further, for those who do micro-manage consent it is common for judges to disbelieve an accused on that point.

Alcohol: Complex Dynamics

Addressing the role of alcohol in sexual encounters, this discussion underlines the differing perspectives on its common involvement in accusations of sexual assault.  For example, Universities often miseducate students on the dynamics of sexual encounters and alcohol. As is pointed out in this episode, a bit of alcohol consumption does not vitiate consent. The team acknowledges the advice to refrain from engaging in sexual activities while under the influence of alcohol, but while examining the prevalence of alcohol-related cases, it is unrealistic to expect that adults would separate the two activities.

Reading Body Language and Verbal Cues

Understanding a partner’s body language and verbal cues is crucial, but interpreting these signals can be complex. The conversation highlights the challenges of accurately deciphering cues, particularly in situations involving alcohol or varied expectations and where couples have not known each other for very long.

Keeping Records: An Essential Precaution

In this episode, the preservation of communication records is highlighted as a means of safeguarding against potential false accusations. It emphasizes the significance of retaining emails, texts, or other forms of communication that provide context to interactions.  At the same time, they acknowledge the necessity of documenting conversations while advising caution in the content of messages and the danger of recording interactions surreptitiously. 

Power Dynamics: Navigating Complex Relationships

The video delves into the intricacies of power dynamics within relationships, exploring challenges associated with identifying what equates to power and authority. It references age differences, financial dynamics, and professional relationships while prompting viewers to consider the potential legal ramifications of power imbalances.

Individuals cannot necessarily avoid a false allegation by adhering to a specific rule set outlined by popular culture. Human beings are not robots. Our interactions are not ruled by ones and zeros, but by all the things that make up human interactions. Hence, romantic encounters are usually governed by nuance.

Recognizing the intricacies of laws and policies related to sexual conduct, Episode #80 of Not On Record encourages viewers to educate themselves on the legal definitions of consent and when consent can be voided. It underscores the importance of comprehending the laws to navigate intimate interactions responsibly.


To learn more, watch Episode #80: Top 10 Ways to Avoid a False Accusation of Sexual Assault, or subscribe to the Not On Record Podcast.

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