Students will march from the Arbor to Isla Vista in a rally entitled, “Stop the Shame,” addressing issues of sexual violence, which can become even more prevalent during large-scale I.V. festivities like Halloween.
Hosted by the Associated Students group Take Back the Night, the rally will take place from noon to 2 p.m. and aims to show that a person’s clothing — or even Halloween costume — does not imply consent to sexual advances and is not an excuse for harassment. Those who wish to partake in the rally will meet fully costumed in the Arbor at noon, where they will have the option to make posters and then proceed to march down Pardall Road.
The “Stop the Shame” rally coincides with the organization’s overall goal to end “rape culture” and prevent sexual violence in I.V., according to Take Back the Night co-chairs Kelty Kauffman and Tara Atrian. Both Kauffman and Atrian said it is vital that sexual violence in the local community is addressed, especially as Halloween approaches.
According to Atrian, second-year sociology major, Halloween creates “a very prevalent and scary discourse” that normalizes sexual violence against women and even condones it.
“The rally stems from the idea that, if a woman dresses ‘provocatively’ for Halloween, she is asking for it and deserves sexual violence towards her,” Atrian said in an email. “Our goal is to highlight the fact a costume is not consent and that no one asks for violence.”
Kauffman, second-year feminist studies major, said students should recognize problems with a victim-blaming mindset and hopes the rally will make people “think about the ideas that they have normalized in their minds about Halloween.”
“There are no reasons to ever justify it. It’s never anyone’s own fault for getting assaulted,” Kauffman said. “In order to take steps towards solving the problem of sexual violence, we need to address it at its source, which is systematic oppression and power-based violence.”
Take Back the Night Publicity Coordinator Ariana Rodriguez said it is important to note how certain communities are especially affected by rape culture.
“I think womyn are hypersexualized and objectified in general. Period.” Rodriguez, a third-year literature major, said in an email. “But there are so many layers when you’re a queer womyn and a queer womyn of color.”
According to Rodriguez, Halloween and its influx of ‘out-of-towners’ will exacerbate the difficulties “womyn” and members of the queer community already face day-to-day.
“I cannot walk through I.V. holding my partner’s hand without people staring or making crude comments,” Rodriguez said. “Isla Vista is not a safe place for many members of the queer community throughout the year, but with so many out-of-towners, it becomes especially unsafe.”
Take Back the Night will be overseeing a “safe space” at 6550 Pardall in Isla Vista over the weekend that will serve as a refuge for anyone who needs it and will provide support for those who have been “harassed or feel overwhelmed or unsafe or assaulted,” Kauffman said.
A version of this article appeared on page 1 of October 29th’s print edition of the Daily Nexus.