As part of learning what it takes to be a respectful, responsible and kind contributing member of our society Rutherford College is involved in the Red My Lips Campaign in 2019. The Rutherford College Z Club are the driving force behind this citizenship initiative.
The Red My Lips campaign is an important cause that we as a school have been supporting and we need to keep supporting. The campaign promotes awareness about sexual violence and combats the myths surrounding it, as well as bringing light to things like victim- blaming. Since it is historically connected with sexuality and attraction, red lipstick seems a fitting weapon with which to combat these damaging myths. Red my lips gives us an easy way to begin important conversations with people in our lives, while demonstrating solidarity and support for all of those offended.
Statistics from HELP and RPE Auckland show that 1 out of 3 girls may be sexually abused before they turn 16, and 1 in 7 boys may be sexually abused by adulthood. Another statistic shows that young people are the group with the highest risk of being sexually assaulted and Maori and Pasifika are twice as likely to be sexually assaulted than any others.
High school students fall into this category which increases the relevance of this issue for us. Our school needs to and will continue discussing sexual abuse and everything that surrounds it, to ensure that students can be informed and educated. We also need to ensure that if one of our students was a target of sexual violence, they would know where to go, who to talk to and most importantly, that they are not alone.
As a school we have an influential voice. We have the ability to stand together and make some noise about an issues as concerning as sexual violence. As Katie Gordon Prefect in 2016 said ‘If we were to continue to ignore this issue and stand in the shadows, we would be as bad as the people who carry out the acts of abuse.”
This year the whole month of April will be Red My Lips Month. Our plan is that any teacher or student will be able to wear red lips to show their support for this cause. There will be posters up around school (similar to the redmylips ones online and using Rutherford teachers and students as models). We will have debates and discussions around sexual and gender issues that students see as relevant to them and we have asked HELP and RPE to come and talk to students. As professionals they have experience that can offer support for students. These talks will be for Year 11-13 only and are optional.