Actions have consequences: Sex Fest and shaming students at IU Bloomington

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Staff Columnist

Since the beginning of the school year, my younger sister has been involved with the Sexual Health Advocacy Group (SHAG) at IU Bloomington. Earlier this month, the organization had their fourth annual Sex Fest, which included BDSM demonstrations on tying your partner and impact play.

This event was not only chosen by students, but funded by a grant. Due to the nature of the event, photos were not allowed, and students attending were asked to sign a contract to not take photos. In addition, the demonstrations were from consenting professionals.

However, this did not stop one student from coming in and exclaiming that it was his right to record. He recorded videos of the demonstration and took photos of my younger sister, who was volunteering at this event. An article from Campus Reform has spread to larger, more well-known conservative sites like BreitBart.

I felt compelled to say something. I am outraged that my sister’s photo was not only taken, but published on multiple conservative websites, each bashing her for taking part in this organization. This student claims that due to Indiana’s recording law, only one part can consent in order to take photos, which is true. However, what was the point of taking photos?

Is it truly that outrageous that consenting adults have the right to do what they want with one another? Is it truly outrageous that there are resources to practice BDSM safely so no one gets hurt? The real question to this student is, do you understand that your actions have consequences?

I fear for my sister’s safety. Yes, she is a grown woman and can handle herself. But now, since her face has been published on a multitude of conservative leaning websites, I fear someone might retaliate against her all because her face is unwillingly published on these sites.

As a woman, I often fear that a man might harass or hurt me when I am walking home at night. I know I am not alone in this fear. Carrying pepper spray, walking near busy streets, and being vigilant are just part of women’s daily routines. I fear that something might happen because of this student’s action.

Kate Luce Sex Fest
Photo caption: Original artwork for Sex Fest created by Kate Luce

If this student thinks he is a journalist, I highly advise taking a reporting class. Journalism ethics are what make reporting important for both sides to be heard and having your audience hear the entire story and form their own opinions.

Being objective is one of the first things you learn in a Journalism class. Being objective means you do not have an opinion in what you are writing when it comes to investigative pieces, event pieces, and features.

What I saw on Campus Reform were not facts, but sheer opinions disguised as facts.

Taking photos and video was supposed to spark outrage, but from what I have heard, most students do not care that Sex Fest included BDSM demonstrations because this has happened for years.

It is strange to feel upset that it was included because students are adults. They can make their own decisions to go or not go to an event and to be educated or not be educated.

Living in Indiana, I do not remember having any form of sex education. I had the puberty talk in fifth grade, and then, that was it. Having resources like SHAG provides students with vital education that the public school system fails to do. Being safe leads to less unwanted pregnancies and STDs. Sex education is important for students.

Calling an event weird, gross, and inappropriate is not a fact, yet your opinion. Yes, you are allowed to have that opinion, and if you cross that boundary, you must make it clear, but it seems like you do not care.

Rather than being a true journalist, I think that the intention was to make others feel bad and shame people that do not fit in to some outdated construct of individuality.

With this outcome of Sex Fest, I hope that students – especially women – don’t feel poorly for their own decisions with their sexuality, whether it be to yourself or with a consenting partner.

There is no shame for whatever you may be into, so long as it is consensual. It is 2020, let’s not have men with outdated societal ideals try to change us.



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