Following an assault in 2011, Danielle Tasino experienced an infuriating lack of support from authorities after her traumatic experience, prompting her to start the Red My Lips campaign.
Tasino was told by a female district attorney that they would not prosecute because, “Jurors don’t like girls that drink.”
The Red My Lips Campaign encourages individuals to wear red lipstick to raise awareness about sexual violence and stand against victim-blaming.
The idea behind the campaign is the notion that red lipstick makes a statement as it stands out from naturally appearing, everyday makeup. Participants of the campaign, known as ‘warriors’, are encouraged to use their bold choice of lip color as a conversation starter with acquaintances who comment on it.
As supporters include many individuals who rarely sport a bold, red lip, their acquaintances tend to take notice of the change. An explanation of the rationale behind their makeover allows them to raise awareness for sexual violence and stand up against victim-blaming.
The campaign currently has ‘warriors’ in 90 countries, and while not all of them have experienced sexual violence firsthand, they still understand the importance of standing up for victims. Warriors speak out against rape myths—false beliefs about rape—and victim-blaming, which holds survivors responsible for the harm that befell them.
Victim-blaming complicates the healing process of survivors. This is exemplified by CBS foreign correspondent, Lara Logan’s case, who was held responsible by social media for her rape in 2011 for having ‘shocking good looks’.
In response to victim-blaming, Curtin University lecturer and campaign supporter, Glynn Greensmith said, “We’re asking men to be part of the people who say ‘don’t teach your girls what to wear, teach your boys not to rape’.”
Red My Lips ran for a third consecutive year as of April 2015. Although the campaign is usually held throughout the month of April, organisers encourage women to wear red lipstick at any time of year to serve the cause.
Tasino says the greatest achievement is participation, allowing many who had experienced assault to realise that what happened was not their fault.
Participation in the campaign is not only restricted to women, but is noted to have gained a lot of attention from male supporters. Despite the wide understanding of red lipstick as culturally feminine, many men have decided to sport the look for the cause.
“Sexual violence is not just a women’s issue, but a human one,” says Tasino.
Beyond raising awareness, Tasino hopes that the campaign can “allow survivors to feel and see support on faces of those around them.”
Image via Flickr