TNCC to Participate in National Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Program

Published: September 24, 2010

Thomas Nelson Community College (TNCC) will be among colleges across Virginia participating in the national Red Flag Campaign beginning Monday, Oct. 4. A project of the Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance, the campaign promotes dating violence awareness and prevention on college campuses.

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. “Friends have an influential role in intervening in dating violence not only with the victim, but also with the abusive partner,” said Marilyn Starkes, a counselor and assistant professor with TNCC’s Student Development.

Peer groups have the ability to provide support and can also dictate what behaviors are unacceptable. The key is “helping college students harness their power to change the cultural tolerance of violence in relationships,” she added.

The campaign features a series of posters placed throughout campus to raise awareness about the red flags that might exist in a troubled relationship. The posters, which can be viewed at, focus on red flags such as emotional abuse, excessive jealousy, isolation, victim-blaming, coercion, sexual assault, stalking and healthy relationships versus dating violence.

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 shows:

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

The Red Flag Campaign was created by college students, college personnel and community victim advocates. In 2006, TNCC was among 10 colleges and universities across Virginia that participated in the pilot 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 For more information about TNCC’s Red Flag Campaign participation, call 825-2827.


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