Wilkes University


Wilkes University Participates in Red Flag Campaign to Raise Awareness of Intimate Partner Violence

Activities begin the week of March 12 and
culminate in a campus event on March 22

Wilkes University is painting the campus red during the month of March to raise awareness about intimate partner violence. The three-part Red Flag Campaign culminates from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Thursday, March 22 in the Henry Student Center lounge with the event "Colonel's Know Their Flags." Students, faculty and staff will wear red to display unified support in raising awareness. Students will also have the opportunity to obtain more information and resources on dating violence, sexual assault and stalking, and share who they honor by wearing red.

The Red Flag Campaign uses a bystander intervention strategy to empower college students to intervene when they see warning signs, or "red flags," of intimate partner violence. The campaign encourages friends to provide a healthy response to abusive statements by giving students examples of what to say before violence occurs.

The first component of the campaign begins on March 12, as high traffic areas of the Wilkes campus will don red flags to heighten student curiosity. Flags will be placed on the Fenner Quadrangle. March 19 begins a poster series, identifying eight signs of dating violence: emotional abuse, coercion, excessive jealousy, isolation, sexual or physical assault, stalking and victim-blaming.

The effort is organized by Wilkes Title IX coordinator, Samantha Hart, and in partnership with Wilkes student affairs, residence life and student government.

"Wilkes University is committed to fostering an inclusive, welcoming, and safe environment for all students, faculty, staff and visitors. Our community has already largely embraced this campaign by offering support and encouragement in bringing the initiative to campus," Hart said. "This endeavor is intended to raise awareness about behaviors that are indicative of unhealthy relationships and assist friends and peers to understand when and how to safely intervene. Our goal is to foster a community that is intolerant of abusive behaviors and more invested in establishing healthy relationships."

Statistics indicate that many students undergo dating violence during their time in college, yet a lot of people do not recognize "red flags" early in a relationship that can often escalate to physical harm. According to a 2011 Knowledge Networks college abuse-dating poll, "36% of college students had experienced some form of violent and abusive dating behaviors including physical, sexual, tech, verbal or controlling abuse."

The Red Flag Campaign began in 2005 with the Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance and the support of the Verizon Foundation. An advisory committee that included college and university faculty, staff and students across Virginia designed a public awareness campaign to tackle the problem of dating violence on college campuses. The group worked with Dupont Circle Communications and Another Limited Rebellion to develop the Red Flag Campaign to help students spot the red flags for dating violence and encourage them to say something to friends who are in unhealthy relationships. In October 2006, 10 Virginia colleges participated in piloting the Red Flag Campaign.