Below is a template of a letter you can send to elected officials to begin the discussion about Red Stops Rape.
[Header or Address Block with your address]
Dear [Title] [Official’s Last Name]:
I am writing you because I am deeply concerned about rape in the United States. I have been struck by the number of headlines about rapes and various outcomes of prosecuting high profile cases.
I strongly believe that all people have a right to protect their own bodies and make informed and voluntary decisions about who they have sex with and when they have sex. This is important not only for women and girls, but men and transgendered individuals as well.
Our current system of discussing what consent is and teaching women to avoid rape has worked poorly at preventing rape. Unfortunately telling people “No Means No” has not worked. We have taught women to carry keys in their fists when they walk to a car, to protect their drinks at parties and bars, and to use a buddy system. Again, these things continue to fail to protect people against rape.
There is a new policy proposal that might help curb rape and addresses the “he said-she said” nature of our justice system. The proposal, called Red Stops Rape, advocates creating a national safe word, “Red,” and teaching everyone that when they hear someone say “Red” it means the person needs everything to stop immediately. This is a simple word we already associate with the meaning “stop.” But, unlike “don’t” and “stop” the word “red” is not commonly used at parties, in bars, or other situations. And unlike “don’t” and “stop” creating a safe word would mean that everyone knows that “red” means there is no more negotiation, no more “just a little bit” and no more action. It helps clarify the gray areas and meanings that sometimes lead to confusing messages. And unlike the word “rape” “red” does not have a loaded cultural meaning.
A national safe word is a low-cost/budget friendly tool to effectively fight rape culture. It is also appealing to many constituencies. Instituting “red” would allow people to talk to young children about body safety without bringing up sex too early and allows both people who want to have sex and those who do not to discuss safety in a comfortable manner.
It will take time to develop the policies and civil codes necessary to develop a national safe word. However, I strongly believe we need to begin that conversation now.
For more information about Red Stops Rape, please visit http://www.loveletterstoaunicorn.com/red-stops-rape/ or call the originator of this campaign, Rebecca Blanton at 443-388-0244.
[Sign your name]