As students on the OU campus gear up for Halloween, advocates in the Women’s Outreach Center hope they’ll keep this message in mind – “Consent is critical all the time. Communication is key and to respect your partner,” said Director Kathy Moxley.
Members have been putting up posters all over campus that read “My Costume Is Not My Consent.”
Moxley said costumes, conservative or provocative, do not mean someone is ready for sexual acts.
“Halloween is a time that people love to dress up and should be able to express themselves, but that doesn’t mean it’s a time to perpetuate violence or myths around sexual violence,” Moxley said.
The myths she referred to were on the posters -- the person in the costume is asking for it, or it's their fault for being assaulted. In the end, she said the victim is not to blame no matter how they were dressed, or where they were.
And students seemed to support the idea that above all else, it's just a costume and courtesy should come with it.
“I think a lot of the time girls are just looking for attention, not physical contact. So I think it’s really important to ask before doing anything,” said senior Emily Sharp.
“In a college environment sometimes you get mixed signals, but you have to understand that everyone has different boundaries. And you just have to appreciate people trying to be creative or just trying to have fun and leave it at that,” said graduate student Alex Horn.
Victims or witnesses of sexual assault can call the OU Women’s Outreach Center’s advocate phone, which operates 24/7 at (405) 615-0013.