#RedMyLips: Interview with Celetia Reinders

I recently had the wonderful opportunity to be introduced to the #RedMyLips campaign by a friend, colleague and a truly inspirational woman, Celetia Reinders. She is also one of my fellow Book Club members and we all read a book called Vlees en Bloed. In this book one of the very important topics being discussed is that of sexual violence. Reading about this topic made me even more aware of the issues a lot of women (and men) face regarding sexual violence and I asked Celetia to tell me a bit more about the aims and goals of the #RedMyLips campaign. Immediately she sent me the link to their website and other social media accounts that will help me to get a better idea of what this campaign is about. She also agreed on an interview and after receiving her thorough answers she captured the idea of the movement and her own involvement to such an extent that the reader will get a clear idea on what #RedMyLips is all about.

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Here follows the Q & A with Celetia Reinders:

  1. Where did you first hear about the #RedMyLips campaign?

In March 2015 I was browsing through Facebook for interesting causes or events to take part in. I came across the #RedMyLips campaign and was extremely fascinated by the motion of “visibility, not vanity” and the use of red lipstick as a weapon to combat myths regarding sexual assault.

  1. Why did you want to get involved in such a campaign?

One of my favourite quotes by Martin Luther King Jr. is the following:

“Our lives begin to end the day we are silent about things that matter”. I decided to get involved in this campaign because the topic is truly something that matters.

I attended an all-girls’ school and grew up in a home with two sisters and parents who taught us about good values and respect for our bodies. As I became older, I realized that even though many of my friends (or victims) grew up with the same values which once again confirms and proves the following statement: “A person is NEVER asking to be raped- no matter the situation, what or how much make-up they were wearing, etc.”.

While sexual assault is a topic that is usually seen as “taboo” or not frequently discussed, I feel that it is very important to raise awareness, even if just by wearing red lipstick and starting important conversations on the topic.

Education is a cause I feel strongly about, and these conversations tend to educate and inform people with opinions on victims. People frequently believe that the victims “were asking for it” or “deserved it”- but the truth is, no means no and each person has the right to speak out, but is not always brave enough. 

  1. Do people ask you about your red lips during April?

People comment on my red lipstick rather than ask about it- and then I tell them more about the campaign which usually leads to conversation regarding the victim-blaming and other myths. Another myth is that sexual assault is a gender issue. While women are the victims in most cases, this is not entirely the case. Sexual assault is a human issue and affects us all. According to redmylips.org, 1 in 6 boys experience sexual abuse before the age of 18. The statistics of the website further state that 1 in every 33 men will experience rape or attempted rape in their lifetime.

The questions I receive are usually more of a “are you going on a date?” or a “what are you dressed up for?” type of question, which adds on to the motion: “what I wear does not indicate consent”. This is another myth- because a victim is never asking to be raped and consent should still be given, whether a person goes out in a mini skirt or cargo pants.

  1. How are you contributing to create awareness about sexual violence and victim-blaming besides wearing red lipstick?

By the use of social media and the sharing of photos, articles and events, people tend to become interested and participate in the movement themselves. A few of my friends have joined the campaign after seeing my photos – examples are Arisca Heystek in 2015, Nicole Kingwill and Charné Wilken in 2016 and Anje de Wet in 2017. These people have other friends and acquaintances who might now also be inspired and read up on the topic or even join the movement.

Furthermore, I frequently read up on the issue so that I can inform and educate people when the topic comes forth. I would love to speak at schools or even incorporate this important issue in my future as teacher, counselor or educational psychologist.

  1. You can choose not to answer this question:

Are you or do you know anyone who has been a victim of sexual violence?

I am lucky enough to not be a victim myself, but do know of a few people and close friends who are. In 2016 I completed my B.Ed honours degree in Educational Psychology, and as a part of our practical hours for the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA), we had to register as student counsellors where we provided counselling at schools and hospitals. Although our lecturers did not prefer for us to work with victims of sexual assault, we learnt about the topic in our theory classes and may be able to work with these people in the future. As a future counsellor, it’s important to be informed about any topic which can have an impact on a person’s psychological well-being.

I have also attended events held by the iDUC project which is based on the touching story of Santi Britz who used her pain from a rape trauma to touch the lives of many (read more on www.iDuc.co.za). I was introduced to this project by Leané Kotzé, Miss Campus South-Africa 2016, who contributed her and Orgo Rautenbach’s (Mr Campus 2015) Halewood prize money to this worthy project. The iDuc project started the “DuckAround “shuttle services in Potchefstroom in January 2017, which allows students to safely arrive at their destinations being transported by these pink cars.

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The #RedMyLips campaign is for anyone, whether you have been a victim or not. The wearing of red lipstick also shows support and solidarity to the survivors or victims. I can only imagine the love and support one would feel when searching the hashtag and over 34 000 results appear. 

  1. Do you have advice of your own to people who have been a victim of sexual violence?

This may be easier said than done, but it’s important to keep your head high and remember that the incident does not define you and is NEVER your fault.

No means NO and you are allowed to change your mind whenever you want. Take ownership of your body and give consent when you feel ready. No and maybe does not mean yes. Yes is the ONLY YES.

Lastly, I want you to remember that there is always hope and you are not alone. Seek help or support- there is a lot of assistance out there: doctors, police, family violence services, friends, support groups or even professional counselling. Build strong social networks. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, “This is not your fault, not your final destination and you are not alone.”

(I am a Christian and feel that turning to God and praying to forgive the offender and to become stronger: but not everyone has the same beliefs. I wish to embrace and respect all religions.)

To find more information regarding the #RedMyLips campaign you can check them out at the following links:

Website: http://www.redmylips.org

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/redlipstick4acause/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/redmylipsorg/

SA Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/redmylips_sa/

Spread the word and educate everyone, because this is not about vanity, but about visibility. If you want to add something please feel free to comment or send me an email in the contact me section.

Kind regards

DJC

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WhatsApp-web

Ek het aan die begin van hierdie jaar ʼn paar lukrake gedagtes met ʼn “status” op Facebook gedeel waaronder WhatsApp-web een van die dinge is wat gelys was. Ek vertel nou die dag weer vir iemand daarvan en ek was nogal verbaas dat sy nog nie daarvan geweet het nie. Nietemin, is hier nou ʼn herinnering om jou lewe aansienlik te vergemaklik.

Eerstens: wat is WhatsApp-web? Mens sal dink die app is dan mos nou reeds 24/7 met die Internet gekonnekteer so hoe verskil die webweergawe dan nou? Wel, die webweergawe van WhatsApp het onstaan juis omdat dit geriefliker is om net vinnig na een van die ander oortjies op die Internet te gaan i.p.v. jou foon op te tel en dan eers terug te antwoord. (Ek dink julle het ook besef dat hierdie blog-inskrywing in Afrikaans is – dit is ook geriefliker om te gebruik vir my as moedertaalspreker.)

Nou WhatsApp-web werk so: klik op die drie kolletjies bo in die regterkantste hoek nadat jy WhatsApp oopgemaak het op jou foon; kies WhatsApp Web. Die instruksies wys dan hoe dit werk: gaan na web.whatsapp.com op jou rekenaar en skandeer dan die QR-kode op die skerm. Daarna is dit asof jou foonskerm op jou rekenaarskerm geprojekteer word. Boodskappe vat gewoonlik ongelooflik lank om te tik met die QWERTY-sleutelbord op jou foon (soms tot groot frustrasie), maar as jy soos ʼn baas tik op jou rekenaar gaan jy sommer vinnig ʼn (lekker lang) boodskap kan terugstuur. Dis nie al nie, YouTube-videoskakels, prentjies en musiek kan ook maklik so gedeel word.

Die enigste nadeel is dat jy Internettoegang moet hê op jou rekenaar (en ons almal weet hoe selfoonnetwerkmaatskappye ons kan uitbuit), maar indien dit nie ʼn kwessie is nie, is jou lewe aansienlik vergemaklik met hierdie nuwe kennis. Probeer dit, en stuur sommer vir my ʼn WhatsApp as ʼn toetslopie (maak net seker dit is nie per ongeluk vir die verkeerde WhatsApp-groepie nie.)

Tot ʼn volgende keer!

DJ

 

 

Excuse me, while I procrastinate

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A while ago I walked into one of the buildings on campus, one where the graphic design students have most of their classes. I saw a poster on the wall with three characters on them… and it said, “Excuse me while I procrastinate”. At first I tried to figure out what do you want to be excused from? Perhaps the conversation while you’re going on Facebook or Instagram. Then, as the days went on and I bumped into the poster time after time, I considered that it might be a fictional band’s name. I think it would make a cool band name. The characters on the poster kind of reminded me of Phineas and Pherb – cool, swag, boyish.

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The poster kept me thinking and finally I asked one of the graphic design students, and one of my friends, what’s it all about. He told me that it is a project one of the students are working on. I then saw that this specific project had a Facebook page, a Blog and other social media accounts. I was rather quite surprised that it was such a big project. I read the entries on the blog explaining the project and what the aim of the project is. The most interesting thing about Nick of Time is that it encourages interaction not only on social media but also in real life. As it is explained, people interested in the project will get to together from time to time and there they will also be able to interact.

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This idea made me aware a few things I do myself, everyday. First of all, I also procrastinate a lot. Even one of my lecturers knows that I procrastinate – not always intentionally. The same lecturer told me about a clip from Ted Talks called Tim Urban: Inside the mind of the master procrastinator. Open the link and procrastinate a little. These days I try to “procrastinate” keeping myself busy with things that may actually inspire me, to write, to spark a conversation, etc.  There are some really great material out there, may it be a video, image or blog post, to inspire you, motivate you, or just make you laugh. Remember all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.

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Secondly, this project made me realize that there are actually more advantages to procrastinate and spending time on social media like Ben the bored-bouncing-browser than one might think. One of social media’s prime goals is to get people connected so make use of that function. Send a message to a long lost friend , share a video that might inspire someone and tag them in it, or maybe just post something funny that will make someone’s day. Create an event that will get you and your friends together: this way they will have no excuse not to attend because they know about the event and they’re reminded every time they go on Facebook. This way you’re not just connected virtually but in reality as well.

Lastly, I would like to mention that there are a lot of times we try to find something to distract us from our harsh reality and procrastination is one form of escaping from the task at hand. We all have different ways we procrastinate, if it is spending time on social media, cleaning your room instead of studying for exams or making yourself a sandwich after you already ate lunch just because you don’t want to start with that project – we all have something we keep ourselves busy with instead of what we are “supposed” to do. Some food for thought: try and find the the things that make you tick and turn them into those “supposed-to-do-things” so that you won’t necessarily have to take a break from it and procrastinate, but hey, who doesn’t love to click, click and click.

Share the ways on how you like to procrastinate in the comment box below and don’t forget to subscribe.

Just keep swimming – Finding Nemo.

DJ

 

The Nature of Instagram

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Yesterday was an eventful day. To start off, I listened to first year students doing their orals on various topics. One of those topics was Social Media and the impact it has on the way you perceive yourself. It was an interesting topic and one student even asked me if I have been a victim of Social Media, implying that I looked at myself differently (maybe even despising the way I look) because of the image Social Media portrays of the perfect man/woman. My answer was , “I use Social Media everyday, so therefor I might have been?”

Retrospectively,  after some serious thinking, I was certain that I am being influenced by the way Social Media portrays this “perfect man” (from my perspective). It is not necessarily as negative as they portrayed it to be. I am a confident young man, and when I see other images or posts about how successful one can be it motivates me instead of making me feel bad about myself. However, self-perception of many students are negatively influenced by Social Media.

I make use of Social Media to my advantage and there are many ways this can be done. I do not measure my self-worth on the amount of followers I have on Twitter or Instagram or the amount of likes I get on Facebook. I am going to admit that it feels great if someone does, but it is certainly not changing the way I see myself. One of the things I do use Social Media for is to store my photo’s and other things online. After discovering Google Drive and Drop Box my life has been changed. I can now be certain that my projects, assignments, photos, videos, etc. will be save and secure. I save it on a flash drive, external hard drive and of course, online. (Yes, I am a bit paranoid. I have lost quite a few files in my life.)

I am also aware of the fact that Social Media is used to share your life’s happenings and interesting events with others, usually friends. Social Media is therefor not a competition I need to win. There is no real fame and fortune in having countless of followers. It is like monopoly money in reality, maybe a little useless. Having a certain amount of followers or likes may improve your stance in your social group but does it really ensure true happiness? Why not just enjoy what you enjoy and not what others has socially constructed for you to enjoy?

Me and a few other people are working on a project that we are going to launch at Clover Aardklop this year which makes use of Social Media. It is an interactive reading experience we are experimenting with. Byderhand is the name of our project and we have various sub-categories in this project. We would like users to scan a QR-code they will receive at various points and then give feedback on Social Media. This is one of the positive uses of Social Media. As part of the project we need to do some trial runs to ensure the links work for when the actual project is launched. We were at out university’s Botanical Gardens yesterday and there I took some photos that I shared on Instagram. I wanted to share my experience with others. This is the main reason I make use of Social Media.

So go out there, share your experience with others, but also to save your photo’s online. It doesn’t necessarily have to be to the likes of other people, it may just be for you.

Be who you’re ought to be.

DJ