As All Hallows Eve approaches, it is imperative to highlight that with all the treats that come with the night, come frights as well.
I know we are much too old to sit here and discuss that you should check your candy for razor blades or double-check that some old lady didn’t give 7-year-old you an edible. Sadly, it is not socially acceptable for college students to go trick or treating, therefore these are no longer worries for us.
Instead, we get dressed up and plan a weekend full of frat parties. To quote Cady Heron (Lindsay Lohan) from the beloved “Mean Girls” directed by Mark Waters,
“In the real world, Halloween is when kids dress up in costumes and beg for candy. In Girl World, Halloween is the one day a year when a girl can dress up like a total slut and no other girls can say anything else about it.”
Whether you want to call the outfits people wear for Halloween slutty or beautiful, one fact remains — costumes are not consent. This is a pertinent issue that must be discussed before this Halloween weekend.
Now, we’re gonna jump into some touchy topics but it is important. In 2019, Rowan’s annual security and fire safety report recorded 28 sexual offense cases of multiple types. This doesn’t include all of the cases that have gone unreported. While it is always important to be safe and vigilant, Halloween is a night when extra precautions never hurt.
So, to my pals who plan to go out with the goal of taking someone home,
- A costume is not consent. Whether a person’s whole bum or chest is out it does not invite you to take their clothes off. The only thing that warrants anyone to take another person’s clothes off is a purely consensual yes, because yes, consent is sexy.
- A sober yes is much better than a drunken one. While a person absolutely can give consent after having a few drinks, there comes a line where it is unethical to accept their yes. If someone is falling on the floor intoxicated, it is not a good idea to do anything but help them into some comfy pajamas and let them fall asleep.
- At the moment someone says no, anything that occurs after is considered sexual assault. Any form of no means no, and I urge you to always remember this.
- If you may have the tendency to bring the creeps out after a few frothy solo cups of beer, keep a buddy with you to keep you in check. Creeps, bring your peeps.
To my loves who wish to dress as a lingerie-clad mouse, as we are all aware, it takes two to tango. There are ways in which you can keep yourselves safe from unwanted ghouls this Halloweekend or any other time.
- Never leave your drink unattended or uncovered. Date rape drugs exist — they can and have found their way into parties at Rowan. It is always safer to bring your own drink, but if you are over the age of 21 and are going to try the complementary jungle juice, make sure you keep it in front of you with your hand covering the top.
- Stick with your group and surround yourself with people you feel safe around. As a 100-pound, 20-year-old woman who feels bad to hurt a bug, it never feels safe for me to be alone on a campus filled with so many people. I am sure some can relate to this, but even if you can not, it is always better to be around people you feel comfortable with. When you add alcohol and a hot basement to the mix, it becomes even spookier, so stick with your witches and warlocks.
- Share your location with your friends and make sure they get home safely. It is never a bad idea to check in on your friends after a long night of partying.
- If you go to a party with a single person or a group, don’t leave without them. It is best to leave with who you came with, but if the night has other plans, keep your friends updated about where you’re going.
Sexual assault is more common than many realize and is not something to be taken lightly. It is a sad fact to have to remind others of the importance of consent, but it is always beneficial for yourself and others to have a refresher — especially on a night filled with others pretending to be what they are not.
Let’s help others feel comfortable in their skin by being respectful and leaving the frights behind. It is, however, the one time a year it is acceptable to break out of your norm and show off your best self.
Keeping others safe should be a top priority for all, no matter what the holiday may be. So may your costumes be a treat and may you fall for no tricks on your weekend adventures during this year’s Halloween festivities.
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