Sexual Harrassment Officers’ Report – Halloween Harassment

“Halloween is the one night a year when girls can dress like a total slut and no other girls can say anything about it.”

Mean Girls, a personal and word-wide favourite and classic. Notoriously one of the most quotable movies of our generation. So it is no real surprise that a quote jumps to mind, however I am shocked that this is the first time that I’ve really considered the implications of it.

As most of us know, Halloween is quickly approaching. From the never ending Facebook events that all claim to be “Sydney’s best halloween event” to a substantial increase of terrifying clown costume present at Target, this new holiday/partying tradition grows more and more in popularity each year.

Yes it is true, Halloween is an occasion to whip out that ruined sheet you have and transform it into the classic toga, or the last minute friendly ghost but it also a time that allows folks to be/wear whatever they want to without condemnation. And to me that is sad.

We live in a society where fashion is often used to express personality, however when your clothing choices is deemed socially unacceptable, things can get bad.
There’s a real unsaid belief in the world we live in, that if you wear clothes with shorter hem lines, it’s acceptable to throw insults and names your way. That you deserve everything that is thrown at you based on that you wear.

Regardless of the length of your hemline, you should feel comfortable in leaving the house without having being yelled at, called a slut or even assaulted. One of the first things police ask you after reporting a rape is “what were you wearing?” And that’s something that is irrelevant, it never matters what you wear. you deserve to be treated with respect.

So October 31st and EVERY OTHER DAY of the year, don’t slut shame. When you do, you are doing so much more than calling someone a name. You’re contributing to a broader victim blaming system that tells victims of sexual assault that it is their fault based on what they wore.

In the wise words of all mothers out there, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”

If you have experienced sexual harassment or report you can contact the sexual harassment officers at harassment.officers@src.usyd.edu.au

Bella O’Shannasy and Monique Newberry

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