By Amy Chamberlain
PROVO, UT—Some female members of the north Provo LDS population have grown tired of the many rapes and other acts of aggression that have taken place along the Provo River Trail over the last several years.
“It’s gotten to the point where we’re like, okay, enough already,” says Mailee Nuttall, Young Women’s President of the Provo 97th ward. “We want to use the Provo River Trail without fear. And besides, raping is just not nice.”
To combat the problem, Relief Society and Young Women groups from three north Provo and two south Orem stakes formed a group. “While we don’t recommend taking the law into your own hands as a general rule,” says Provo North Stake Relief Society President Bonnie Poulson, “in this case, we had to do something.”
The group launched a “full-scale resistance,” according to Poulson, that includes making and placing signs strategically along the Provo River trail. “This may be harsh,” says her first counselor, Pat Anderson, “but we are warriors in God’s army, and we feel that this is the right move.”
The signs carry messages like “Please don’t rape us; it’s mean!” and “Why don’t you try asking us out on a date instead of attacking us? We’ll probably say yes” and “Is rape something that Jesus would have you do? NO!!!”
“I think it’s that third exclamation point that shows potential rapists how very, very serious we are,” says Southeast Orem Stake Young Women’s President Wendi Bascombe.
Bascombe’s second counselor, Darlene Schiffer, points out that sign-making is only one of an aggressive three-pronged campaign. “The signs are pretty tough on their own,” she says, “but we’re also staging a leaflet giveaway. At strategic points along the trail, young women are handing out For the Strength of Youth pamphlets and blue lollipops, since blue is for virtue.”
The women also plan on writing stern notes to convicted rapists in the area, asking them to “please try dancing with us at stake dances” rather than raping when they are let out of prison.