By Katie Coleman 
BELLEVILLE – April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month and also the third annual Red My Lips campaign.
Red My Lips is a social movement where participants wear red lipstick or wear red and share their selfies on social media to call attention to sexual violence.
“Red My Lips is an international nonprofit organization that uses red lipstick as a weapon and a tool to raise awareness about sexual violence, combat rape myths and victim-blaming, and demonstrate solidarity and support for all survivors,” says the mission statement on the group’s Facebook page .
This was started in December 2012 by Danielle Tansino. In 2011 Tansino was raped. After going through the court system she was outraged by the negative backlash from both the courts and her peers. All this information is found on the Red My Lips webpage .
Second-year Loyalist College Developmental Service Worker student Mary-Ellen Morris-Cairns says she is participating this year.
“I’m participating because I have experienced sexual abuse. I’m not as open about it as I am other things, but it did leave it’s mark on me. Although you don’t fully get over it, you do develop strategies to help you through,” Morris-Cairns said. “I’m wearing red lipstick as much as possible, and had red jeans on yesterday. I want people to know that they aren’t alone and you can find support whether from friends or professionals.”
Red My Lips stresses that it’s not just women that are affected by sexual assault.
“Sexual violence is not a women’s issue. It is a human issue. It affects us all,” according to the Red My Lips Facebook page.
According to SexAssault.ca , 15% of sexual assault victims are boys under the age of 16.
There are local organizations that are dedicated to supporting victims of sexual assault. They include: