The Red Flag Campaign is back

Jeniece RomanGeneral Assignment Reporter

The Violence Prevention, Victim Advocacy and Support Center began a dating violence awareness campaign throughout the month of October on campus.

According to Shantal Collins, VPAS member, the Red Flag Campaign promotes the prevention of dating violence; the name refers to the “red flags” in a relationship that point to it being unhealthy or abusive.

“Our main goal is to just spread awareness about what sexual misconduct is and basically showing students that they can get support,” said Collins.

She said the campaign seeks to educate students on what is considered a sign of an abusive relationship. Collins said students could write an example of an abusive or unhealthy relationship on a red flag; the flags are then placed around campus. Collins said that sometimes VPAS will receive anywhere from 100 to 1,000 flags per year.

“If students do recognize that they’re in an unhealthy relationship, they feel comfortable getting help and support on campus,” said Jessie Holman, VPAS member.

Through education and prevention awareness, Holman said advocates make sure that students know their rights and reporting options should they ever need help. Holman said the flags around campus could show students the different ways in which a partner can be abusive and signs of an unhealthy relationship.

The Red Flag campaign is also run by VPAS with the sponsorship of the Sexual Assault Resource Team; together provide violence prevention education, victim advocacy and support services in an effort to create a campus community of respect and safety by, according to the VPAS resource guide.

“There are often times when people see a red flag and it’s an indication of abuse but people don’t think it’s abuse,” said Elizabeth Brady, graduate intern and VPAS member.

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, in Connecticut, domestic violence relief programs serve 46,750 victims annually. The NCADV also stated the warning signs of an abuser include verbal abuse, possessiveness, and extremely controlling behavior.

Collins said that sometimes the red flags of an unhealthy and abusive relationship are not always recognized. Attempting to control how a person dresses, extreme jealousy, demanding passwords to all social media accounts– all are signs according to Collins.

Brady said when people think of “domestic violence” or  “abusive relationship” they often think of physical violence. She said verbal abuse is often an indicator prior to physical violence. Brady said through education VPAS wants to show what a healthy relationship is and is not.

“If you see someone that is dealing with this red flag that they might not see as abusive or unhealthy,” said Collins. “You can say something and provide them with the support that they need.”

Collins said the campaign is meant to inform students of the resources available to them, to let students know that VPAS is there and if they see a red flag, they feel comfortable enough to say something. She said the goal of VPAS is to make campus feel safe and educated on the importance of a healthy relationship.

“Students, if they feel like they with sexual misconduct that they can get the support they need,” said Collins. “Our advocates will do anything to help students.”

Photo Credit: Palmer Piana – Photo Editor

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