Red Flag Campaign targets relationship violence

Red Flag Campaign targets relationship violence

February 14, 2013


The Red Flag Campaign hopes to raise awareness about dating and relationship violence.

While Valentine’s Day may be about red hearts and roses for some, for others it’s about waving red flags. February 14 marks the start of the university’s Red Flag Campaign, a public awareness initiative aimed at stopping dating and relationship violence on university and college campuses. The campaign helps students identify “red flags” for violence in their friends’ relationships and encourages them to intervene.

“This is an important issue for student health and safety on campus,” says Arig Girgrah, Assistant Dean of Student Affairs. “Sexual violence is an issue in society, and as a university campus, we are a microcosm of society. As such, we have an imperative to ensure that students are well informed and understand issues of consent and abuse, as well as what a healthy relationship looks like.”

The campaign, which continues until March 1, features a series of six posters illustrating relationship “red flags,” from coercion and emotional abuse, to victim-blaming and excessive jealousy as well as signs of a healthy relationship, including communication, trust and respect for boundaries. Student Affairs will support the initiative with ‘bystander intervention training’. The sessions will educate students and staff about how to intervene safely and appropriately if they sense a troubled relationship.

Health Promotions Coordinator Kate Humphrys says she likes the campaign because it effectively addresses some of the grey areas around sexual assault.

“They are more prevalent than we probably realize,” she says. “Sometimes people are confused about what constitutes sexual assault. Hopefully this will help raise awareness, and encourage people to seek support if needed.”

A special guest lecture coinciding with the campaign will help to address some of those dating grey areas. Dr. Lisa Wade, a cultural critic and professor at Occidental College in California, will give a talk called “The Night Overall Wasn’t Bad: What College Students Really Think About Hook Up Culture.” It takes place on February 26 at 7pm in Humphrey Hall Auditorium.

For more information about the Red Flag Campaign or for information on bystander intervention training, visit or contact the Office of the Vice-Provost and Dean of Student Affairs.

For general health information, including relationships and sexuality, visit For support and help regarding a relationship, students can contact Health, Counselling and Disability Services or call 613-533-6000, ext. 78264. For general support regarding sexual assault, contact the Sexual Assault Centre Kingston.