Thomas Nelson Community College Launches Pilot of First Statewide Campaign to Prevent Dating Violence on College Campuses

Published: October 6, 2006

The Virginia Peninsula – On October 9, Thomas Nelson Community College will participate in launching the pilot of Virginia’s first statewide public awareness effort aimed at stopping dating violence on college campuses. The pilot project called, The Red Flag Campaign, helps students identify “red flags” for dating violence in their friends’ relationships and encourages them to intervene.

The campaign is a result of the combined work of students, faculty, and victim advocates from nearly 20 colleges and universities across Virginia. Thomas Nelson Community College was chosen to be one of only 10 colleges and universities statewide to participate in the pilot because of its integral role in developing the campaign.

College students are at extremely high risk of either acting as perpetrators or being victims of dating physical or sexual violence during their college years:

  • 32 percent of college students report dating violence by a previous partner, and 21% report violence by a current partner.1
  • 12 percent of completed rapes, 35% of attempted rapes, and 22% of threatened rapes occur on a date.2
  • 51 percent of college males admit perpetrating one or more sexual assault incidents during college.3

The Red Flag Campaign features a series of six posters that illustrate “red flags” that might be present in a relationship in which dating violence is occurring. The purpose of the campaign is to encourage students to speak up when they see red flags for dating violence in their friends’ relationships.
Marilyn Starkes, Professional Counselor at Thomas Nelson Community College states that, “friends have an influential role in intervening in dating violence not only with the victim, but also with the abusive partner.” She explains that peer groups have the ability to provide safety and support and can also dictate what behaviors are unacceptable. She states the key is “helping college students harness their power to change the cultural tolerance of violence in relationships.”

The Red Flag Campaign is a project of the Virginia Sexual & Domestic Violence Action Alliance, and is generously supported with funding from the Verizon Foundation. The Red Flag Campaign will launch officially in August 2007 to 20 additional campuses in Virginia. For more information on what constitutes dating violence, how to help, or how to get help for a friend, visit

1 C. Sellers and M. Bromley, “Violent Behavior in College Student Dating
Relationships,” Journal of Contemporary Justice, (1996).
2 B. Fisher, F. Cullen, and M. Turner, “The Sexual Victimization of College
Women,” (Washington: NIJ/BJS, 2000).
3 A. Berkowitz, “College Men as Perpetrators of Acquaintance Rape and Sexual
Assault,” College Health, (1992).

For Immediate Release Friday, October 6, 2006

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