This morning, my world was turned upside down in a way that I never would have predicted. In this already stressful enough time in the semester, I decided to read La Rotonde and I was floored by a defamatory article about an event I had enjoyed a few weeks ago called Vet’s Tours.
I had heard about Vet’s Tours from friends, and knew the details of the event. I am newly single, and was excited to explore my sexuality after years of being in a relationship. So when some friends asked if I could join their team, I was thrilled. I thought this was a perfect opportunity for me to revel in my new sexual freedom, and become a more empowered woman. I identify as a feminist, and a proud part of that identity includes being proud of my sexual exploits. I have never felt shame or guilt about any consensual activities that I have participated in. Until this Monday morning.
To my horror, I read about an event that I participated in like it was disgusting and vile. My sense of liberation evaporated. As a survivor of instances of sexual assault, I was horrified a night of consensual sexual activity with friends was being turned into a portrayal of rape culture. I am angry. I have had my consent violated many a time, and I consider it an attack upon my character that this event has been portrayed as an instance of rape culture by La Rotonde.
I guess the editorial and the article taught me that my sexuality is for the judgement and consumption of the general public. I thought I was agreeing to participate in a night of sexual activity, and that I had the right to a private sexual experience with multiple people. The journalists and editorial staff at La Rotonde took away that right, and were the only people who violated me in any way during my Vet’s Tours experience.
When I was asked to do acts with people I was not comfortable with, I said no, and my decision was respected. I did not feel any pressure or guilt from my team as a result. I asked a member of my team if he wanted to try some things with me and he said no. That was his choice and I respected his decision.
However, because of my associated participation in this event, I am being placed on the same playing field as my attackers from high school who violated me. Some consensual fun I had with friends is being compared to the sexual violence committed by Donald Trump, all because La Rotonde believes it has a right to report on the sexual activities of its students, and not real issues that they face.
The articles also portrayed kinky sexual activities in an extremely negative light. Perhaps the editorial staff at La Rotonde should read more Dan Savage—sex does not have to be heterosexual, missionary, and boring. Swallowing ejaculate, food play, genital piercings, and sex with multiple partners can all be part of a healthy adult’s sexual repertoire. Framing these sexual acts as a perpetuation of rape culture when done with consent is a horrible disservice to both the people who consensually practice them on a daily basis, and actual victims of sexual assault.
Perhaps I shouldn’t have sex this week like I was planning to. Or, at the very least, I will confine my sexual activities to the vanilla, heteronormative, and oppressive standards La Rotonde wants all student leaders on campus to follow. I would hate to end up in the school paper for the second time this week.
—Third year U of O student (anonymous submission).