Sexy Halloween costumes have been both embraced and maligned in recent years–as evidenced by our sister site, The Gloss, and their amazing celebration of Slut-o-Ween–but unfortunately, with revealing outfits comes victim-blaming and less-than-emphatic public officials, who can be, as the SlutWalk movement has pointed out, quick to dismiss sexual assault, harassment, or rape charges against scantily clad women. And while you’re never at fault for being victimized, there are things you can do to help protect yourself on a spooky night where people wear masks and things are not what they seem. Ladies, let’s re-familiarize ourselves with the Buddy System.
Taught to elementary school students as a way to increase their personal safety (and help to keep them from running away on field trips to the museum), the Buddy System is also a valuable way for adults to operate in potentially unsafe conditions. Military members use it (that’s where the term “wing-man” comes from, by the way) in combat, and smart women use it at parties and in bars to help keep themselves and their friends safe.
Costumes and drinking go hand-in-hand, and when everyone’s being a drunken someone else, people are more likely to behave, well, like someone else. Halloween can be both an awesome time of letting loose…or it can bring out the worst in people. And when it’s harder to identify who someone is, the risk of stranger danger is elevated. Add that to the “she was dressed slutty, thus, asking for it” argument, and things can get hairy.
Agree with a friend before you head out this weekend to keep an eye on each other. Look after each other’s drinks (date rape drugs do still exist), ensure that neither one of you drinks too much (because getting wasted may be your right, but it’s still not healthy) make sure you both have a plan for how to get home, and if one of you is cornered by some weirdo in a Guy Fawkes mask, the other can step in with an excuse to get away. It’s kind of common sense, but when you’ve laid it out beforehand, partying with a buddy can make the whole weekend a lot safer.
The buddy system is also important in case something bad does happen. If someone touches you inappropriately, tries to slip something in your drink, or is overly aggressive, you and your buddy can vouch for each other, which takes the wind out of the “drunk and unreliable” brush-off that often lets creeps get away with behaving badly.
Wear whatever you want on Halloween–it’s your choice if you want to go as a sexy pencil, and no amount of jerks who blame victims should get in your way, and because it’s no fun to live in fear. But do agree to stay close to a friend during the festivities; it’s a super easy way to protect both you and her (or him–men also make great buddies, and are also the victims of sexual assault or harassment) from danger, without feeling like you’re being paranoid or having to sit out something that could be fun.