Red Flag Week awareness campaign grows: “See something, say something” theme aimed at preventing dating/sexual violence

As Red Flag Week ends its tenth year nationally and its fifth year at UVa-Wise, the program is seeing major expansions throughout the country and on individual campuses.

Running Oct. 16-21, Red Flag Week promoted its “see something, say something” message by planting hundreds of red flags across campus and hanging posters that portrayed examples of Red Flags in different types of relationships. Since UVa-Wise is a partner school, the campus receives the campaign material free.

The mission statement for the Red Flag campaign states; “The Red Flag Campaign uses a bystander intervention strategy to address and prevent sexual assault, dating violence, and stalking on college campuses. The campaign encourages friends and other campus community members to say something when they see warning signs (“red flags”) for sexual assault, dating violence, or stalking in a friend’s relationship.”

The Campaign is a project of the Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance, and was created by college students, college personnel, and community victim advocates.

“The program is a passive campaign,” UVa-Wise Title IX coordinator Tabitha Smith said about how Red Flag is effective. “Students do not have to engage in any activities or attend any events. They just see the posters and the flags around campus and it gets them thinking about red flags in the relationships around them.”

The campus has presented many ways for students to report sexual or dating violence to the campus. Along with those who work in Title IX, campus housing resident assistants receive training to better prepare them to assist students. The college’s Be Wise, Report It program allows students to report anonymously numerous types of misconduct, including, but not limited to domestic and dating violence.

Since Red Flag Week made its debut at UVa-Wise, there have been more reports made concerning dating and domestic violence.

“Since one in five college students experience dating violence, and since dating violence is the most reported crime, we know that UVa-Wise is not immune to that threat,” Smith said. “I hope that this campaign helps students see and access the red flags and create better relationships.”

The campaign operates at universities in 48 states along with military bases and community colleges. The campaign has also expanded internationally.

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