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Spotting the Red Flag

A campaign designed to bring awareness to dating violence and identify the signs of abuse is now underway. The Red Flag Campaign, a week-long event introduced to the Queen’s Campus in 2011, runs to March 6.

Red Flag
The Red Flag Campaign utilizes a bystander approach to help target dating violence among university students.

The Red Flag Campaign utilizes a bystander approach to help target dating violence among university students. Volunteers from the Queen’s Peer Health Educators (PHE) program are spearheading efforts on the Kingston campus through social media posts on the QueensU Be Well platforms. That content focuses on presenting scenarios students may encounter, which can help them identify red flags of an abusive relationship and how to best help when confronted with those situations. Forms of mistreatment can include physical, emotional, financial, or sexual abuse.

“It’s been so rewarding working with my peers to develop content for this year’s Red Flag Campaign,” says Landon Montag, PHE Sexual Health team leader, who is in her second year of an MSc in the Centre for Neuroscience Studies. “This Campaign is powerful because it provides students with the tools to appropriately intervene in scenarios that may involve or potentially lead to dating violence. We hope that the content we created will help students feel more confident to identify red flags and to respond in such scenarios.”

The intersection between the different dimensions of health and dating violence will be highlighted in this week’s content. An example includes exploring emotional and psychological aspects, financial abuse tactics, gaslighting, peer pressure, harassment, isolation, and cyberstalking. The campaign also addresses the ways in which substance use can foster dating violence.

Queen’s has run a peer-led bystander intervention program for several years. It’s one of many student-facilitated workshops, education, awareness and prevention programs offered year-round through a partnership between Sexual Violence Prevention and Response Services in the Human Rights and Equity Office and the Student Experience Office in Student Affairs.  One of the workshops that is part of the Gender-Based Violence Awareness and Bystander Intervention Certificate Program focuses on healthy relationships.

All resources and information for the Queen’s community can be found on the Sexual Violence Prevention and Response Services website. This is one of several ways Queen’s works to raise awareness of sexual violence prevention strategies and bystander intervention skills, a topic addressed in the recent Student Experience Survey. Results from that survey support the importance of the Red Flag campaign. While 58% of survey respondents said they believe sexual violence is definitely or somewhat of a problem on campus, 30% said they had received information or training about the issue.

The Red Flag Campaign, which began at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia, was launched in 2007 and is a project of the Virginia Sexual & Domestic Violence Action Alliance.

Learn more at Red Flag Campaign. For support and help regarding a relationship, students can contact Sexual Health Resource Centre or call 613-533-62959. If you have experienced sexual violence, contact Barb Lotan, the Queen’s University Sexual Violence Prevention and Response Coordinator.