As UCSB students anticipate the arrival of Halloween celebrations this coming weekend, groups such as Men Against Rape and Students Stopping Rape have launched a campaign to end the practices of ‘catcalling’ often directed toward women.
Campus groups have plastered anti-harassment posters on campus buildings and in central areas such as Pardall Tunnel to emphasize the seriousness of sexual harassment and assault as the notorious Halloween celebrations draw near. Taglines on some of the posters include ‘Just because it’s Halloween doesn’t mean you can get away with street harassment’ and ‘Catcalling is not okay,’ in addition to digital anti- sexual harassment posters shown on dining commons TV screens.
Dr. Kegan Allee, Assistant Director of UCSB’s Rape Prevention Education Program, said catcalling is being specifically addressed this Halloween due to the widespread nature of incidences of harassment.
“We are working to end street harassment as a way of targeting something much more common,” Allee said. “We’re trying to change the perspective.”
According to second-year chemical engineering major Jaime Gonzalez, the campaign endeavors are surprising and focus on a previously less-emphasized aspect of assault.
“Last year, I didn’t hear about [any] of [this kind of] stuff, like catcalling,” Gonzalez said. “I’ve never had anyone directly tell me not to do it until this year. I don’t remember seeing anything like this last year.”
Anacapa Residence Hall resident assistant Quoc Le, a second-year math major, said many residence halls are also making efforts to discourage offensive gender-targeting practices.
“Catcalling is not okay [and] people need to be more educated,” Le said. “So we’re just really putting an emphasis on advocating this.”