Thomas Nelson Community College is among colleges across Virginia participating in the National Red Flag Campaign throughout October. A project of the Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance, the campaign promotes dating violence awareness and prevention on college campuses. Thomas Nelson’s Office of Student Success and Student Activities Office coordinated campus efforts.
The campaign uses a bystander intervention strategy helping students identify red flags for violence in their friends’ relationships and encouraging them to intervene when they see warning signs. This strategy is based on the idea that peer groups have the ability to provide support and can also dictate what behaviors are unacceptable. Coordinators stress that the key is helping college students harness their power to change the cultural tolerance of violence in relationships.
The campaign features a series of posters and placed throughout campus to raise awareness about the red flags that might exist in a troubled relationship. The posters, which can be viewed at http://www.theredflagcampaign.org/, focus on red flags such as emotional abuse, excessive jealousy, isolation, victim-blaming, coercion, sexual assault, stalking and healthy relationships versus dating violence. Also as part of the effort, sidewalks in high-traffic areas on campus are lined with small red flags and coordinators provided students with information and Red Flag Campaign giveaways during Thomas Nelson’s recent Community Health Day event.
Research indicates that college students are at extremely high risk of either acting as perpetrator or being physically or sexually victimized during their college years, according to the Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance. Data also indicates that one in five college relationships involves violence.
The Red Flag Campaign was created by college students, college personnel and community victim advocates. In 2006, Thomas Nelson was among 10 Virginia colleges and universities that participated in a pilot of the program. The initiative is funded by grants from the Verizon Foundation and Verizon Wireless.
For details about what constitutes dating violence, or to get help, visit http://www.theredflagcampaign.org/. For more information about TNCC’s Red Flag Campaign participation, call 757-825-2827.