Column: Revealing costumes don't excuse sexual assault

Today is the day that many look forward to all year, a day of treats, spookiness and most of all, costumes. In a college town plagued with debt and laziness, the costumes seen can range from cat to sexy cat or nurse to sexy nurse. Honestly, who really budgets for a costume, so no judgement.

No matter the costume, I know there will be one common theme among females in Five Points, and that is a level of raciness apparent in the costumes. Still, no judgment. What plagues my soul about Halloween in a college town is the male attitude towards scantily-clad women. Old Row culture has gotten so big now that the attitude toward women is the less clothes you’re wearing, the exponentially hotter you get. Whether girls fall for this hoax or not, the point is this: Sexy costumes do not mean it is acceptable to violate, touch or catcall women.

This year, Halloweekend started on Friday and will go through Halloween on Tuesday. For days leading up to Halloween, Five Points has been teeming with costume-clad students looking for an excuse to celebrate, but behind every mask is a person who could be looking for naive, drunk celebrators to violate. Not only should men keep in mind that women should be no more objectified on this holiday than any other, but women should look out for each other and their friends more than ever.

If you have ever been a female in a Five Points bar, then you know the general culture of being grabbed to dance with by random strangers. At times, guys feel they are owed a dance with a girl whether she thinks so or not. This heightens when a girl can be dressed like “she’s asking for it” on top of everything else. This is an attitude that needs to change in guys everywhere because surprisingly, girls are dressing more for themselves than they are to catch a sweaty stranger downtown. Girls are dressing to impress their friends and their Instagram followers. A little bit of cleavage is not an invitation to grab someone or an identifier that a girl is fine with being treated as less than a person. With alcohol mixed in, the lines can get blurred, but one thing remains true; if a drunk girl in a bar wants to dance with you, she will.  

Grabbing and groping have become an “acceptable” part of Five Points culture, disgustingly enough. Anywhere else in the world, I would be surprised and utterly taken aback to see some of the things that go completely unnoticed in downtown bars. For girls who are feeling uncomfortable in situations during Halloween or anytime, remember the bouncers are there for a reason. Sexual assault is “any type of sexual contact or behavior that occurs without the explicit consent of the recipient” according the Department of Justice. No matter what happens or what a person is wearing, the blame should always be placed on the attacker and not the victim, but this seemingly obvious attitude is still not apparent for a lot of people. It is our job to change the culture for the better in every way we can.

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