Today, I will be addressing the topic of rape. I know we all wince when we read that, but with the hardcore ragefest that will soon be occurring in the name of Halloween, it’s especially important to be cautious and aware. And we should note that just because Halloween is the allotted time of the year where girls can dress “slutty” without judgment from other girls, it does not mean that they are slutty. It’s a costume. And anyways, if you’re slut-shaming girls in the first place, you need to check yourself.

Ladies, many of you take liberties with your drinking and partying because you assume that rape is a rarity. Allow me to startle you into awareness. Recently, I was sitting at Gio’s, drinking a pitcher with a few of my friends, when the topic of rape came up. It was then that I learned all three of the girls I was sitting with had been raped. I was appalled, to say the least. And this was not, “Oh, we hooked up and I was a little tipsy,” rape. All three of them had blacked out at a party or were amongst friends, and things had taken a turn for the worse, sometimes at the hands of aforementioned “friends.”

Now, if a man rapes, he is at fault. Horrible, horrible things should happen to him and his genitals (I’ll get back to you in a minute, guys). But ladies, it’s up to you to be aware of yourself and your surroundings. Don’t be that girl who blacks out regularly or hooks up when she’s too drunk. Take care of yourself and don’t put yourself in dangerous circumstances if you can help it. Or, if you just feel a little off or uncomfortable, don’t take risks and walk home with strange men.

Dudes, obviously consent is sexy. Everyone can agree on that. But I acknowledge that sometimes it is difficult to properly assess whether or not consent is given. Especially if you and your potential partner have had a few drinks; the lines blur. Therefore, I have included the guidelines below for you to use so that you are always certain of yourself and your actions:

1. Check in with her. Asking a girl straight-out if she wants to have sex is perhaps a little awkward. What I feel works really well is implementing friendly check-ins. “Are you comfortable with that?” is probably the best, followed by, “Does this feel all right?” or, “Do you want me to stop?” The latter should be used especially if you can sense her discomfort. If she is uncomfortable and you can tell, please remember the joys of cuddling. If anyone is uncomfortable, there should be NO nookie. And let me be sure to emphasize, there is a difference between being anxious and excited vs. being uncomfortable. More often that not, your check-ins will be unnecessary but they’ll be touched by your consideration and you won’t get your ass sued.

2. The minute a girl says “no,” fucking STOP and don’t be an asshole. I’ve explicitly said to guys at parties, “I’ll come home with you, but no sex. If that’s not cool with you, keep looking,” to which they reply, “Oh no, of course.” Upon arriving at their house, they seem to forget my previous rule-setting. God, that’s so annoying. If a girl says no, don’t try to convince her otherwise. Don’t present her with all of the pros of dabbling in your dick and don’t sulk. Seriously, can you see yourself when you sulk and how incredibly unattractive it is? You’re being a petulant ass; appreciate that your partner has boundaries and cuddle up.

3. If she is too drunk, don’t do it. On top of the whole, “Hey, I’m taking advantage of another human being,” thing, is it really worth it? I mean, she could pee in your bed or throw up. Is it really so hard to find a sober and willing hook up? If this is the kind of behavior you’re going to resort to, you need to assess your quality of character.

It’s difficult to write this because I really don’t see why I have to say these things. It should all go without saying. However, one thing I do want to convey to you is that you have options for when something like this does happen. Ladies, the thing my friends all agreed upon was that they wish they had reported the crime. Some didn’t do it because they had mutual friends with their rapist. Others didn’t because they felt ashamed. Please know that you have easily accessible options and even if you don’t want to report it immediately, you should still take the proper steps.

If you go to the Rape Crisis Center downtown, you can file a report and have the tests done within 3-5 days of the incident. Afterwards, they will send the file to the police department. Here is the beauty of it: You don’t have to follow through on the case until you want to. You have a whole year where your incident will be on file before they throw it out. If you decide within that time that you want to press charges, you can do so. So even if it happens and you don’t feel like you’re ever going to report it, go anyways. There is no harm in doing so and they’ll be able to offer you the proper counseling services. Also, remember that by reporting a rape, you may be preventing another one.

So, beloved peers, please be safe and in control of yourself this Halloween. Remember to respect your fellow human beings and know that no one has the right to take advantage of you. Happy Consensual Humping!

Hayley E. will do horrible, horrible things to your genitals if you take advantage of anyone this Halloween.

Views expressed on the Opinion page do not necessarily reflect those of the Daily Nexus or UCSB. Opinions are submitted primarily by students.
A version of this article appeared in the Wednesday, October 23, 2013 print edition of the Daily Nexus.