Sexual Violence is not just a term defined by assault or forced dominance, but it includes a wide range of behaviours such as invading space, sexual harassment, unwanted sexual touching, child sex abuse and human trafficking. Sexual violence is not about sex and gender but about who has power, control, and value in our society.
When someone becomes the victim of sexual assault the most common phase comes into existence, ‘victim-blaming’. Everyone starts questioning the victim, what they did or didn’t do and their behaviour makes them responsible for such a consequence. One reason we tend to blame victims of sexual violence is that we buy into myths about consent. We often perpetuate the idea that consent is confusing or that it is implied when someone is silent or doesn’t “fight back.” (Note: When it comes to sexual activity, there is no such thing as implied consent.)
Danielle Tansino was raped in 2011 and when she documented a police report, a female lead prosecutor disclosed to her that they wouldn’t indict the attacker since “members of the jury don’t care for young ladies that drink“, she said. In this moment, she realised it was not ‘the system’ that fails victims of sexual violence…we all do. We ARE the system. Tansino established ‘Red My Lips’ with expectations of giving individuals “a protected approach to exhibit solidarity and support for survivors, and stand in opposition to assault myths and casualty accusing.”
‘Red My Lips’ is a non-profit international organisation which aims to raise awareness about sexual violence. They are battling against victim-blaming and rape. Throughout the month of April, they run an awareness campaign wherein their supporters wear red lipstick. April is also a Sexual Assault Awareness month and throughout the month, organisations run different campaigns where they aim to educate people on how to prevent sexual violence. People support the assault survivors and many people open up and talk about their stories.
The main objective of ‘Red My Lips’ is to make a change through their campaign. They are looking to transform our culture by educating people about sexual violence, inspiring people to red their lips. They believe that rape only happens to those girls who were given mixed signals and were put into wrong situations. People misunderstand rape as an uncontrollable sexual desire, it is more of an act of dominating with violence. This psychology of the society was voiced in 2011 when a Toronto police officer said, “Women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimised,” which was followed by the worldwide protests known as ‘slutwalks.’ ‘Red My Lips’ promote their campaign with the message of the slutwalk; that sexual violence is not caused by wearing revealing clothes or makeup, it’s caused by one person’s decision to overpower the another and violate their body. Until this issue is acknowledged, more and more people will be sexually violated. The organisation is outreaching people by providing them with educational material related to sexual assault. You can get their help and support by registering with them and then you can talk to them, online as well as in person. The portion of their fundraising goes towards an organisation which supports the lives of sexual assault victims. They also help people around the globe to host fundraising events for victims.
“Wearing red lipstick in April allows supporters to speak out against these damaging myths and victim-blaming attitudes. It allows us all to stand in solidarity with survivors and refuse to be invisible… refuse to be silent.”
‘Red My Lips’ intends to take a bold approach towards making a change in culture. They not only want to support culture change but they want to promote the survivors of sexual violence. The biggest challenge are the beliefs and mindsets of the community we live in. It’s very difficult to change people’s attitudes when they are not ready to accept change. Some who are ready and want to support such issues are scared of what society will think. People just need to take bold steps in life and their support will prove to make a big change in the community.
“Standing up, being seen, and fighting for change takes strength and perseverance. This is one reason we call our supporters “Warriors”… because they’re fierce! (‘fierce’ – vehement, intense, strong).”
Red My Lips ran their first campaign in 2011, and since then they have been a community of more than 5000,000 warriors from 100 counties. They sparked important conversations with people in their lives, challenged rape myths and victim-blaming, extended love and support to those who have been victimized, and countless survivors shared their stories, some for the very first time.
“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.“