In Honor of Domestic Violence Awareness, Dress Up for Halloween as Your Favorite Victim or Abuser!

In an ironic twist of fate, October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM).

Why ironic? Because October also plays host to Hall-O-We-Find-All-Injustices-Against-Women-Hilarious, as manifested in costumes like this. And this. And this. And this. And this. And this.

While the not-vile segment of the American population is spending the month finding ways to mourn those who have been killed by intimate partners, celebrate survivors and draw attention to a global problem that causes as many as 1,200 deaths and more than 2 million injuries to women every year in the U.S. alone, another segment is preparing to call attention to this serious problem a different way [TRIGGER WARNING]: with hilarious Halloween costumes!!

Like this one, posted on, where a fun loving couple decided to go as a horrific murderer and a butchered pregnant girl.

In the longstanding, time-honored tradition of creating Halloween costumes out of things that are not funny (like this one about pedophilia, this one about sexual abuse, this one about doctor abuse, this one about breast cancer, and these racist ones), domestic violence has a particularly sick share in the line-up:

Exhibit Awful: footballer’s girlfriend costumes.

There are excellent annual feminist critiques of offensive Halloween costumes, such as here, but they tend to focus on what’s available in stores. Domestic-violence costumes tend to be homemade—retailers don’t yet have the bad taste to mass-market “Battered Wife Barbie” outfits. That means that while store-bought beauties such as this children’s pimp costume and the always sexy Anna Rexia get rightfully called out, DIY abused-women atrocities like this one are overlooked. So, then, does the pervasive problem of our society’s lax attitude towards domestic violence and its victims.

In honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, I have this to say to anyone who plans to dress up in a pregnant battered wife costume or as a bruised Rihanna:


What is funny? How about dressing up with a bunch of babies for an abstinence-only sex education costume. But here’s what’s not funny:

Finally, since polls have shown that between 60 percent and 75 percent of people surveyed personally know someone who has been or is the victim of domestic violence, and that 1 out of 3 women in the world will be beaten, coerced into sex, or otherwise abused in her lifetime, and that 1 out of 4 women in the U.S. will be the victim of domestic violence in her lifetime, chances are that at least one, and probably many more, of the women unfortunate enough to see your comedic Halloween costumes celebrating domestic violence will find it A LOT WORSE THAN NOT FUNNY.

Like, maybe, painful. Or triggering. Or just plain heartbreaking.


Photo by flickr user devan.laney under Creative Commons 2.0



Hey y’all! My name is Mimi Seldner, and I’m a 22 year old Ms. Magazine intern, writer, activist, artist, and English major at the University of Florida. My concentration is in Queer Theory, and this, as well as feminist theory and politics, human rights, and social justice issues inform my entire life, from my politics, to my art, to my writing (the three of which are usually interrelated). These issues, and my stubborn, assertive, and feet-dug-in, oil-striking stand on them also govern the ways in which I live my life. I’m wordy, witty, and willful, to say the least (a habit that I am not in, accordingly). I recently relocated from one sunshine state to the other (Florida to California), in order to pursue this amazing opportunity to intern at the feminist-force-to-be-reckoned-with, Ms. Magazine, in all her glory, and I am looking forward to inspired collaborations, and to creating many things imperatively worth creating. Also, there are free sticky notes.