Looking Back on Another Successful Red Flag Campaign
PHE Program 2021-2022 Sexual Health Team March 9th, 2022
The Peer Health Educator (PHE) program has been very busy this year! PHEs are a group of volunteers that work with Health Promotion and Student Wellness Services at Queen’s University to create engaging in-person and online content to promote and encourage healthy lifestyle behaviours with their peers. The Sexual Health Team is a subset of the PHE volunteers led by team leaders Landon Montag & Siobhan Mackintosh, and consists of team members Rae Loggie, Serena Zahra, and Kristin Bessai. This year, we’ve been focused on sharing evidence-based sexual health information to answer all your burning questions! Since September, we’ve been working on our “Ask Me Anything about Sex” campaign where we collected questions online and in-person from students about anything related to sexual health and consent. Make sure to keep an eye on @queensuniversitybewell for all the amazing questions we received and answered! The Sexual Health Team’s focus this year has been myth-busting and destigmatizing some very personal and not often discussed topics including, but not limited to gender, sexuality, sexual violence, safe sex practices, masturbation, virginity, and sexually transmitted infections.
The Sexual Health Team, Healthy Eating Team & Healthy Cooking Team members making cookies for the Red Flag Campaign.
One way to communicate these focus areas included a social media campaign called the Red Flag Campaign (RFC) during the first week of March. The RFC aims to educate university/college students about dating violence and red flags in relationships that oftentimes can be dismissed. A large focus of the RFC is bystander intervention, so this year we focused on creating scenarios (shared on our social media channels) that students might typically encounter to help them learn to identify red flags and how to appropriately intervene to help a friend who may be experiencing the early signs of dating violence. In broad terms, dating violence involves a person in a relationship inflicting physical, emotional, financial, and/or sexual abuse upon their partner. However, dating violence can take many forms and it may not always be easy to spot. As such, the Sexual Health Team collaborated with other PHE teams to create content with intersections between the different dimensions of health and dating violence. For instance, we created scenarios with the Mental Fitness Team to explore emotional and psychological aspects of dating violence; with the Financial Literacy Team we explored financial abuse tactics that may occur in university-level relationships; with the Substance Use Team we explored gaslighting, lying, and peer pressure; and with the Rest & Relaxation Team we explored scenarios of harassment, isolation, and cyberstalking.
It’s important to remember that 1 in 5 college students experience sexual or dating violence before they graduate. Dating violence is rarely a one-time occurrence and usually escalates in frequency and severity. An important take-home message of the RFC is: If you see something, say something! We hope that the content we created for the RFC helps make students feel more confident to identify red flags and to intervene in such scenarios. We truly hope you enjoyed the RFC content this year! Check out #RedFlagCampaignQueens on the @queensustudentwellness Instagram.