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Kathryn Bottitta — October 24, 2023

Halloween Weekend Has Some of the Highest Rates of Sexual Violence Reported on College Campus. Here's How To Prevent It.

Kathryn Bottitta

As the infamous “Halloweekend” season approaches on college campuses everywhere, and costume parties are soon to be in full swing, now is a good time to think back to the Red Zone. The Red Zone is the most dangerous time of year for college students in terms of sexual violence on campus, and lasts between August and November. During these months, about 50% of sexual violence indidents on college campuses occur. 

Halloweekend, or a series of consecutive costume parties during the week leading up to Halloween, is an especially dangerous period. According to a study conducted for The Independent, 55% of men believed “the more revealing the clothes a woman wears, the more likely it is that she will be harassed or assaulted.” This is a myth that utilizes the sexualization of of women to excuse rape culture on college campuses.

During Halloweekend there is increased alcohol consumption among peers and students, which can feed into non-consensual encounters. According to alcohol.org, at least 50% of student sexual assaults involve alcohol” and “in one-third of sexual assaults, the aggressor is intoxicated.” In order to ensure safety and consent for you and those around you at a college party, it is important to be an “active bystander.” 

Active bystanders are those who see a bad situation, and instead of ignoring it, choose to intervene. Intervening can come in several forms, but the Four D’s are popular options. 

The Four D’s are:

  • Direct attention — to negative behavior
  • Distract — the perpetrator
  • Delegate — have someone else step in if you are too shy
  • Delay — if the situation is too dangerous at the time

Trusting internal instincts and traveling in groups can also keep you safe at a college party. 

When at a college party, especially one falling in the Red Zone, being an active bystander is key for protecting yourself and those out with you from unwanted situations. College campuses are supposed to be a safe place, so students can use the End Rape on Campus’ Campus Accountability Tool to look for resources on their campus and off campus. Students, please take care of one another this Halloween, and refer back to Our Wave for resources you may need.

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