The 1991 “Antioch Rules,” created by a group called Womyn of Antioch, became the punch line of the ’90s, especially after it was mocked in the shockingly topical and shrewdly written 1993 SNL skit “Is it Date Rape?” (transcript here; sample: “Dean Frederick Whitcomb: Welcome, players. Let’s take a look at our board. The categories are: “Halter Top”; “She Was Drunk”; “I Was Drunk”; “Kegger”; “Off-Campus Kegger”; “She Led Me On”; “I Paid For Dinner”: and “Ragin’ Kegger”. Alright. Ariel, you’re our champion, the board is yours.”). I couldn’t find the skit on YouTube, so here instead is Nirvana doing “Rape Me” on SNL.
Even at my most radicalized, I too thought it was hilarious that people in the Antioch community would have to say, “May I touch your right breast?” before going to second base. There was something fascist and breatakingly humorless about this womyn’s group who insisted a person be hauled before a board if he kissed someone without getting explicit permission first. How passionate could making out in a dorm be if you had to keep your legal brain engaged the whole time?
But, inspired by Shayla’s testimony, I just went back and actually looked at the Sexual Offence Prevention Policy, also called the SOP or the SOPP. And you know what? It’s super interesting. The thing I think is really significant is that in it, date rape was “uniquely viewed any sexual offense as not simply a violation of the victim’s rights, but as an offense against the entire campus community.”
Here’s the part on consent; the whole thing is here:
Consent is defined as the act of willingly and verbally agreeing to engage in specific sexual conduct. The following are clarifying points:
- Consent is required each and every time there is sexual activity.
- All parties must have a clear and accurate understanding of the sexual activity.
- The person(s) who initiate(s) the sexual activity is responsible for asking for consent.
- The person(s) who are asked are responsible for verbally responding.
- Each new level of sexual activity requires consent.
- Use of agreed upon forms of communication such as gestures or safe words is acceptable, but must be discussed and verbally agreed to by all parties before sexual activity occurs.
- Consent is required regardless of the parties’ relationship, prior sexual history, or current activity (e.g. grinding on the dance floor is not consent for further sexual activity).
- At any and all times when consent is withdrawn or not verbally agreed to, the sexual activity must stop immediately.
- Silence is not consent.
- Body movements and non-verbal responses such as moans are not consent.
- A person can not give consent while sleeping.
- All parties must have unimpaired judgement (examples that may cause impairment include but are not limited to alcohol, drugs, mental health conditions, physical health conditions).
- All parties must use safer sex practices.
- All parties must disclose personal risk factors and any known STIs. Individuals are responsible for maintaining awareness of their sexual health.
You can see a telling little 1993 message board discussion of the SOP here.
Now that I’m looking at it I think it’s sad that the soul of the policy — this idea of a community together trying to prevent sexual abuse, even by extreme methods — was dismissed as categorically repressive and insane.