#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

Formal: make it, break it or fake it

Ek wonder baie keer of die dames weet dat die kêrels net soveel moeite insit vir die dinee as hulle (oukei, nou nie heeltemal nie, maar tog meer as wat hulle dink). Ek wil wegval om te begin met die kleredrag – dit is die grootste ding. Baie keer stem die ou in om iets aan te trek wat die dame se rok (of ander uitrusting) sal komplimenteer. Sommiges trek wel aan net wat hulle wil. Nietemin, moet keuses uitgeoefen word en dit neem baie maal ʼn noukeurige besluit. Die keuses lê gewoonlik tussen ʼn pak wat volledig een kleur is, of om die tendens te volg en ʼn chino aan te trek met ʼn bypassende baadjie. Daarna is dit die kleur van die hemp – moet dit inpas by die res van die uitrusting. En die das – lank, dun, groot, kleur? Ook skoene en ʼn gordel.

Ek probeer om nie te veel daaroor na te dink nie. As student is die keuse elk geval bietjie beperk, maar die kuns is om die kleure in jou kas so te kombineer dat dit lyk of jy amper nooit dieselfde klere dra nie. Instagram, Pintrest en net ʼn eenvoudige Google Images soektog behoort jou vinnig touwys te maak oor kombinasies wat werk, watter das gepas is vir jou liggaamsbou en watter skoene en gordel die beste by jou uitrusting gaan pas. Jy wil immers die dame beïndruk, so begin deur goed te lyk. (Dit is dalk voor die handliggend, maar in die vier jaar wat ek al dinees bygewoon het, was daar al ʼn paar verkeerde besluite geneem – soos bv. tekkies of ʼn T-hemp.)

Dan is dit ook (eintlik) die ou se plig om ʼn blom of twee te koop vir sy metgesel. Baie dames waardeer hierdie gebaar en is ook in hulle skik wanneer hulle blomme kry. Dit hoef nie noodwendig ʼn groot bos rose te wees nie (behalwe as dit nou jou meisie is, wat so iets verwag), maar net iets wat haar spesiaal sal laat voel. As jy haar regtig wil beïndruk kan jy haar of haar vriendinne vra wat haar gunsteling blom is en seker maak jy kry dit in die hande.

Laastens, moet jy weet hoe om haar belangrik te laat voel, asof sy die ster is van die aand – die fotosessie vooraf is die plek om dit vir haar te wys. Geniet die foto’s saam die ander ouens, maar maak seker jou metgesel weet sy is die een wat die kollig moet geniet. Dit is dieselfde op die dansvloer (doen maar moeite met die passies vooraf as jy weet jy het twee linkervoete). Kry ook genoeg om oor te gesels, julle wil nie die hele aand ongemaklik vir mekaar glimlag omdat julle nie oor enigiets kan praat nie – as jy moet YouTube ʼn paar interessante onderwerpe (gee haar ook darem ʼn kans om ʼn woord in te kry deur gepaste vrae te vra).

Opsommend, probeer maar net om die beste gentleman te wees wat jy kan!

Tot en met die dinee.

DJ

 

 

 

The Nature of Instagram

http://iphonephotographyschool.com/reflection-tips/

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