In honor of the Gender-shenanigans that went down last night, and of course to afford Daisy and Emily more time to watch Lost, I am going to post briefly on something called the Sexual Offense Prevention Policy, or SOPP. It is a policy at my school designed to combat Rape Culture and make everyone feel a little more safe and secure about their sexual and gender identities, and the likelihood of harassment.
The main point of SOPP is consent. The two or more parties involved in physical activity of ANY kind, from hugging to making-out to fighting to naked jello wrestling, must VOICE explicit consent at every level of said activity. Basically, you have to hear the word “Yes” before you can throw your partner down and rub jelly in their face.
Obviously SOPP gets fudged a lot if you’re in a long term relationship, and its pretty darn ineffective against rape or any sort of real sexual harassment. But if something out of line does occur, under SOPP a complaint can be filed, and that person will be kicked out of school/banned from campus/reported to the police, etc.
But what does SOPP really do? It doesn’t stop harassment. My first month at Antioch I was verbally harassed very badly, in the form of questions. I would say no to one sexual position and I would quickly be asked if I was open to another, and this would go on and on and on. There is also definitely rape, fighting, and child abuse on this campus. Although I have seen some pretty bad situations, such as fights, adverted because of SOPP.
What SOPP does manage to achieve is an open dialogue. Some people have already gotten to this place on their own, and for that, I applaud you. But partly because of SOPP and partly because Antioch is a sex-positive campus, the conversations about sex are never-ceasing. In a society where you are forced to talk about what feels good to you sexually, how you identify, even what diseases you have, all before you actually sleep with someone, misunderstandings and some bad situations are avoided.
The SOPP: talking is good. Consent is good. Dialogue about important issues, such as sex, is very, very good. And I live in a community where if you don’t follow these guidelines, then you lose the right to be a community member. Because it’s that important.
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