Halloween has long been celebrated as the day to get spooked, party the night away and enjoy some sweet treats or trade them for booze, if they’re of age. One thing that stays the same is dressing up as characters, icons and more. Just don’t forget that there is still someone behind that garb.
No matter how much you may like the character someone is dressing as or how cool their outfit is, it is not an open invitation to sexually harass or assault anyone.
Throughout the year, cosplayers talk about the issue of strangers taking photos and interacting with them without giving permission at conventions. So much so that some events had to start putting up banners to ask for consent first.
Not respecting others’ personal spaces is an added issue as students already have to deal with sexual assault.
The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network reports that 13% of all graduate and undergraduate students will experience rape or sexual assault. Male students will be 78% more likely to be assaulted than male non-students and female students are more likely to be assaulted than robbed.
Predators are most likely going to take advantage of inebriated people in sexy costumes. These harassers and assaulters use victim blaming to their advantage. Instead of questioning and confronting the behaviors of others, the victim is questioned on why they “allowed” the events to unfold.
No one waits for their fun night to be ruined.
As students, we need to hold our peers accountable when they make these choices and take preventative measures by checking those who make light of rape culture.
Additionally, we need to support victims more. We need to give them space and time to talk, hear their stories and give them the resources they might need for healing and justice. The outfit they wore should never overshadow the fact that they were violated.
What someone wears is not consent to be groped or bombarded with sleazy lines. Everyone should be fearing ghosts, zombies and vampires on Halloween, not a creep who tries to grind up on a sexy bunny or a weirdo trying to reach for a cowboy’s “gun.”