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Blouch: The scariest thing about Halloween? Sexual assault statistics

Halloween candy and decorations
Halloween candy and decorations Oct. 23. (Photo illustration by Michael Marquardt | The Collegian)

Editor’s Note: All opinion section content reflects the views of the individual author only and does not represent a stance taken by The Collegian or its editorial board. Trigger warning: This article discusses the topic of sexual assault.

From witches to ghosts to blood-sucking demons, Halloween is a holiday of fear. It’s what sells costumes of all our favorite pop-culture monsters. It’s what gets us going to the theaters for the newest horror films during the spooky season.

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Fear is the nucleus of Halloween, but the scariest part is not the films or the costumes — it’s the statistics. 

The culture around Halloween can lend itself to environments that increase the risk of sexual assault.”

Halloween is my favorite holiday. I love everything about the season, from the pumpkin carving to the scary movies to the parties, which is why it is so upsetting to point out that Halloween has a sexual assault problem.

Halloween takes place during a time when sexual assault on college campuses is more prevalent.

“More than 50% of college sexual assaults occur in either August, September, October or November,” according to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network.

This coupled with the fact that the culture around Halloween can lend itself to environments that increase the risk of sexual assault makes the issue all the more concerning.

While the holiday may be known for some of the more lighthearted traditions, on a college campus it is associated with parties. NEWS10 ABC suggests adults between 18 and 34 years old are the most prevalent Halloween celebrators and alcohol is frequently associated with these celebrations. 

It becomes much easier for someone to perpetrate a crime when they feel as though they have some sense of anonymity.”

When we look at the statistics regarding the role alcohol plays in sexual assault on campus, this raises concern. According to alcohol.org, “At least 50% of student sexual assaults involve alcohol” and “in one-third of sexual assaults, the aggressor is intoxicated.”

When we talk specifically about party culture and how it plays a role in this phenomenon, it’s worth noting that “students in fraternities are more likely to perpetrate sexual assault than non-fraternity men,” according to alcohol.org.

Not only are people partying more on Halloween, but they’re partying in costume, which may add to the risk factor. 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.”

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Additionally, Halloween is a time that makes hiding one’s identity socially acceptable, as anyone can wear a costume that obstructs their identity. It becomes much easier for someone to perpetrate a crime when they feel as though they have some sense of anonymity.

Colorado State University even released a statement regarding the dangers of Halloween: “Our University (Victim) Assistance Team and Women and Gender Advocacy Center report that they learn of more sexual assaults than usual occurring during the week of Halloween,” the CSU Public Safety Team said in a 2017 statement. 

I am by no means trying to discourage you from celebrating Halloween. Rather, I want everyone to be informed so we can mitigate risk as much as possible. I echo the sentiments of the CSU Public Safety Team. Here are some suggestions to keep in mind: 

  • Trust your instincts, and if something doesn’t seem right, leave. 
  • Travel in groups or use the buddy system.
  • If you are drinking, know your limits. Do not take drinks from someone you don’t know and trust. 

Staying informed and making safe decisions is an effective way to help you have a season full of more treats than tricks. Stay safe this Halloween.

Reach Cat Blouch at letters@collegian.com or on Twitter @BlouchCat.

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About the Contributors
Cat Blouch, Social Media Editor
Cat Blouch is the social media editor at The Collegian. They are a fourth-year student at Colorado State University studying business administration with a concentration in marketing and a minor in statistics from Delta, Colorado. They have been on The Collegian's team since the summer of 2020, starting on the opinion desk and later joining the photo team. Blouch began their social media interest by working on the @colostatememes page on Instagram and looked at the social media editor position as a way to further engage with the CSU community. They are excited to find new ways to hear the voice of the student body and engage more with readers through their positions at The Collegian. Blouch enjoys the flexibility of being able to pursue creativity in multiple mediums at The Collegian. When Blouch is off the clock, you can find them engaging in other creative areas such as creating music, writing poetry or filming a video. They hope to continue their creative pursuits after college through work in marketing analytics and content creation.
Falyn Sebastian, Digital & Design Managing Edtior
After becoming a page designer as a sophomore, Falyn Sebastian evolved from print editor to design director and has now officially begun her new position as digital and design managing editor. Originally from the Big Island of Hawaii, she chose to attend Colorado State University to pursue a Bachelor of Fine Arts with a concentration in graphic design along with a minor in entrepreneurship. When it comes to arranging content in The Collegian's newsprint, Sebastian formats and arranges the visual media that readers love in a physical copy. After attending content and budget meetings with the editors of each desk, she manages how each week's visual content fits into the paper by clicking through Adobe InDesign. With a combination of original photos, illustrative graphics and advertisements, Sebastian organizes and delegates tasks to her talented and ever-growing design team. As a graphic design student, journalism was not a field Sebastian intended to work in during college, but she embraced the world of publication design through The Collegian. As graphic design focuses on the importance of effective communication, she realized she was truly designing for a fulfilling purpose. Student media will forever have a happy home in her heart. Working with other students who are passionate about what is happening in their community drives her to continue working on impactful design. Sebastian looks forward to what is yet to come while gaining new experience and memories with her staff.

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