Students organize Red Flag Campaign

Students organize Red Flag Campaign

Queen’s students are educating their peers about the signs of unhealthy relationships and teaching them how to speak up against them.

By Communications Staff

February 15, 2023


Photograph of Red Flag Campaign banner hanging in Queen's Centre.
Banner for the Red Flag Campaign hanging in the Queen's Centre.

A group of Queen’s students is helping their peers learn some of the telltale signs of unhealthy relationships and dating violence with this year’s Red Flag Campaign. The campaign combines informational posts on social media with a drop-in information session. It started Feb. 12 and runs until Feb. 18.

"Unhealthy behaviours aren't always easy to identify in relationships, as they may manifest subtly in comments or directly as outward aggression," says Kristin Bessai, leader of the Peer Health Educator Sexual Health Team and 4th year Honours Life Science student. “The Red Flag Campaign aims to teach members of the Queen's community to recognize troubling signs in their own relationships or relationships they see around them and give them the courage to speak up against them. Eliminating dating violence from our community is an important change that can only be made once the Queen's community acknowledges that it exists and actively speaks up against it."

The students leading the campaign are part of the Sexual Health Team of the Peer Health Educators program in Student Wellness Services, a unit in Student Affairs. The Peer Health Educators will post informative messages on the Student Wellness Services Instagram account throughout the campaign period. The posts will educate students about a wide range of warning signs related to behaviours such as financial abuse, gaslighting, peer pressure, harassment, isolation, and cyberstalking. The campaign also teaches skills for building healthy relationships.

The Sexual Health Team, along with staff from Yellow House and Sexual Violence Prevention and Response Services, ran an in-person event at the Queen's Centre on Feb. 14 to highlight the campaign's message and raise awareness about the initiative.

Students are also encouraged to attend peer-led workshops this term to help address gender-based violence. The Gender-based Violence and Bystander Intervention program is a partnership of the Student Experience Office in Student Affairs and Sexual Violence Prevention and Response Services in the Human Rights and Equity Office. Upcoming sessions include: Healthy Relationships, Building a Consent Culture, Sexual Violence Bystander Intervention, and Responding to Disclosures.

Queen’s has participated in the Red Flag Campaign since 2011. The initiative began at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia in 2007.

Learn more on the Red Flag Campaign website. The Queen’s community can find resources and information on healthy relationships and preventing sexual violence through the Sexual Health Resource Centre and Sexual Violence Prevention and Response Services.

Students who have experienced sexual violence can contact Barb Lotan, the Queen’s University Sexual Violence Prevention and Response Coordinator, at

There are a number of other resources also available at Queen’s for students who have been impacted by sexual violence, including Student Wellness Services, the Sexual Assault Centre Kingston, and the AMS Peer Support Centre.