Carved pumpkins line walkways, candy corn is everywhere, and fake cobwebs are hanging from my neighbor’s porch: it’s almost Halloween. We’ve already posted about the difficulty of finding a women’s costume that isn’t restricted to a “Sexy [Noun].” Hopefully you’ve settled on a costume that makes you feel great, whether that means channeling Diana Ross or Darth Vader. Halloween is a holiday when you can try out a different identity, play around with your appearance, and have fun being someone else. However, it’s important to remember that all the rules on consent and sexual harassment don’t change just because it’s October 31.
Slut-shaming and victim-blaming are two tactics often used to excuse people who commit sexual assaults, especially when alcohol is involved. Myths about rape perpetuate the idea that sexual assault survivors are responsible for their own assaults because they were dressed in a “sexy” way, because they drank alcohol, or because they didn’t fight back. This victim-blaming can be exacerbated on a night where women are not only encouraged but expected to be scantily clad. In a society in which one in four college women are raped, a “Sexy Nurse” costume should not be used as an excuse for sexual assault.