spooky

Halloween may be fun, but sexual assault isn’t. With the number of reported incidents of nonconsensual sexual contact increasing this year at UF, we urge everyone to be careful this weekend. Try to have fun with your friends, but make sure to keep an eye out as well. Most sexual assaults reported by college women are caused by someone they know. These monsters are human.

We’re not saying to drop everyone you know because that would be ridiculous. Plus, walking alone at night is pretty dangerous, and we don’t recommend that. We urge you to be more cautious about people who surround you. If you don’t really know someone that well when they’re sober, you probably won’t know them any better when they’re drunk.

It seems we are at an unfortunate state of playing the guessing game of who’s who, and women are especially forced into this. Women have to guess whether or not someone is going to get a little too aggressive on a date, and we even have be more aware when we walk down the street. You could call it “paranoia,” but with nearly one in five  women suffering from date rape at some point in their life, is it really?

The problem isn’t that we’re paranoid, it’s that we’re forced to try to fix a problem that isn’t ours. Throughout life, the majority of society is forced to deal with the typical alpha male’s tomfoolery. Do you remember when you had to hide your bra strap in middle school so that guys wouldn’t get “distracted?” Restrictive dress codes like that not only hindered our sense of fashion, but also produced an unhealthy mentality in the minds of adolescents. 

What’s the best way to prevent rape and sexual assault on schools and campuses?

Maybe try not to be creepy, touchy or a rapist, but that’s just a thought.  

You should feel free to wear whatever you want because it’s your body, and be able to enjoy Halloween with friends you can trust. But the harsh truth is that you can be in danger anywhere while wearing anything, and Halloween costumes don’t make a difference. In 2013, Jen Brockman created the “What Were You Wearing?” art exhibit to combat the notion that women are to blame for their own encounters with sexual violence. A lot of these victims were just wearing jeans and a T-shirt. One of them wore an army uniform and carried a gun. Your “skimpy” costume isn’t the problem, it’s people’s mindsets. 

We have to work harder in order to change what people think. With the rise of the #MeToo movement and calling out men in power, it seems that people are changing for the better. Unfortunately, right now we have to deal with society while it’s still an ignorant mess.

One of the easiest ways to stay safe in an male-dominated society is to stay sober. Alcohol can really mess up your senses. At least half of student sexual assaults involve alcohol, and about 90 percent of rapes involving acquaintances involve alcohol as well. Please be wary of what you drink and how much. If you’re too drunk to even stand on your own two feet, maybe you shouldn’t be standing on them.

Go home, watch some Netflix and maybe drink some tea — just remember to treat yourself kindly this Halloween.

The Editorial Board consists of Zora Viel, Opinions Editor; Amanda Rosa, Editor-in Chief; Kelly Hayes, Digital Managing Editor; and Tranelle Maner, Engagement Managing Editor.