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

Let’s talk about CONSENT. Listen up!

So far this semester we have heard at several on-campus events, such as Pride Week, that consent is an ambiguous concept.
So we’ve decided to insert an analogy for consent here, which will hopefully make it easier for students to understand.

Consent is like a cup of tea. If you offer someone a cup of tea, and they decline, then don’t make them tea. Don’t get annoyed or angry at them for not wanting tea, and don’t force them to drink it.

They might accept your offer for a cup of tea, but when the tea has arrived they decide they no longer want the tea. Yes, that’s a little annoying that you’ve gone to the effort to make someone the tea, but they still do not have to drink that tea.

Sometimes people change their mind in the time it takes to make a cup of tea, and that’s okay.

If someone is unconscious, then don’t make them a cup of tea. Unconscious people don’t want tea, and they can’t tell you whether or not they want tea. Trust me on this.
If someone was fully conscious when you offered them a tea, and made them the cup, but has since passed out in that time, then you should just put the tea down and make sure the unconscious person is safe. Don’t make them drink a cup of tea. They’re unconscious, they don’t want tea.

If your friend comes over to your house and said yes to a cup of tea last week, does this mean they want a cup of tea? No, they may want a cup of tea, but they also might not. Just because they previously said yes to tea, does not mean they will always want a cup of tea every time you see them.
It may seem silly to spell this out, and in fact it is. It’s incredibly frustrating to have to compare tea to sex, just so people will understand that CONSENT IS ALWAYS NECESSARY.

I hope this clears things up.

This analogy was created by Rockstar Dinosaur Pirate Princess, and can be found on her blog: rockstardinosaurpirateprincess.com

Monique Newberry