Wilkes University is painting the campus red during the month of April to raise awareness about intimate partner violence. The three-part Red Flag Campaign is underway with high traffic areas of the Wilkes campus donning red flags to heighten student curiosity. Flags are displayed on the Fenner Quadrangle with informational posters placed around campus.
The Red Flag event culminates from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Thursday, April 11 in the Henry Student Center lounge with “Wilkes Wears Red Day.” 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 effort is organized by Wilkes Title IX coordinator, Samantha Hart, and in partnership with Wilkes student affairs, residence life, student government and members of student-athletic teams. Activities were made possible by the $30,000 “It’s On Us” grant from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
In conjunction with the Victims Resource Center, Wilkes will also participate in the Victims Resource Center Rally and Walk at 5:30 p.m. on April 10, which will begin at the University’s Henry Student Center and conclude at the Victims Resource Center. Additionally, a Clothesline Project Display from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Thursday, April 25 will be held in coordination with the Domestic Violence Service Center. Shirts decorated by community members will be displayed on a clothesline in the Henry Student Center lounge to act as testimonials to the effects of interpersonal violence.
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.
Visit www.wilkes.edu/wearred for more information.