I recently came across a post on Pinterest promoting the RedMyLips campaign that kicks off today. April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and the story behind the campaign unfortunately is all to common. After being assaulted by a friend of a friend, founder Danielle Tansino reported the attack to police and went through a tramatic experience with the court system only to then be told that the there would be no prosecution because “jurors don’t like girls that drink”. That statement alone sums up one if the main issues with our society’s perception of rape and the surrounding culture around sexual violence. There has been a lot of noise in the past few years to challenge the negativity and ‘victim blaming’ culture that is too often the reason for the lack of perpretators being convicted.
According to statistics from RapeCrisis, approximately 85,000 women are raped in England and Wales every year, that’s equivalent to 1 in 5 women and 3 in 20 men are the victim of sexual violence, (Statistic from ManKind). In 2014 there was a rise of 29% in the number of recorded rape attacks even though overall crime rates have decreased. There has been a lot of progress on improving the way in which victims are treated by police and support groups with a focus on sending the message that you will be listened to, you will be heard and you will be believed. By definition, a victim can not be “asking for it”. No body asks to be attacked, no body deserves to be attacked, no body should ever be involved in sexual violence.
This month, what ever your gender, nationality, sexuality or ethnicity, RedMyLips (and I) would like you to participate in wearing red lipstick this month. By wearing red, your lips pop out. Your mouth becomes more visible. You are showing that you have a voice. If you aren’t too keen on wearing red lipstick, try a red ribbon or badge. I will be posting more ideas of how you can show your support this month and start the conversation to break down the stigma and guilt around sexual violence.
Peace and love,