Reflections on the Red Flag Campaign
The Red Flag Campaign (RFC) is a project of the Virginia Sexual and
Domestic Violence Action Alliance, and it has now been internationally adapted by colleges and universities. It utilizes a bystander intervention strategy in order to address and prevent sexual assault, dating violence, and stalking from occurring on school campuses and beyond.
As such, the Red Flag Campaign emphasizes collaboration from peers and campus communities and encourages students to act and to speak up when they see “red flags” (I.e., warning signs) within a trusted person’s relationship. These red flags include sexual coercion, victim blaming, emotional abuse, sexual assault, stalking, isolation, and jealousy.
Here at Queen’s, the RFC was a compilation of multiple events, each focused on targeting a diverse audience both within the Queen’s campus and beyond.
Throughout the week, each member of the Sexual Health team on Student Wellness Services contributed one comprehensive video outlining a situation with specific red flags. Viewers were encouraged to interact with the content and try to identify all of the red flags mentioned.
Finally, a very successful in-person booth at the ARC was facilitated in collaboration with the PHE program, Yellow House, SVPRS, and John and Oscar the Dog from St. John’s Ambulance.
The crowd hits were definitely the free chocolate chip cookie jars and Oscar! Great conversations were had with passing students, talking about the significance of empowering those around them to speak up against the subtle actions they see, as well as recognizing and celebrating the green flags in friendships and relationships. For another recap of our event, check out the Queen’s Gazette coverage of our event here.
It was encouraging to see so many members of our community were willing to talk about relationship red flags. The student engagement with our booth provided our team with reassurance that Queen’s is dedicated to putting a stop to abusive behaviours in friendships and romantic relationships.
Next year, to improve our event we will aim to increase our social media following. To do so, we will incorporate scannable QR codes to our in-person event so that students and Queen’s community members that stop to talk to us can have easy access to both our and our partners social media accounts. This will allow for us to have a larger reach and make an even larger impact with this campaign.
For victims of sexual violence and assault, please contact Barb Lotan or Rebecca Rappeport of the Queen’s University Sexual Violence Prevention and Response Office (firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com).
Kingston General Hospital also has a dedicated nurse available 24/7 for immediate victims of assault;( https://kingstonhsc.ca/emergency-care/sexual-assault-and-family-violence).
The Four Directions Indigenous Student Centre is an excellent support group for Indigenous students on campus, and can be reached at (613) 533-6970.
The Sexual Health Resource Centre offers confidential, non-judgmental, feminist, queer positive, pro-choice, sex positive and non-heterosexist information and referral service. They can be found online through Facebook or Instagram, or by phone at (613) 533-2959.
For further information about the Red Flag Campaign, contact Erin Burns of Student Wellness Services (firstname.lastname@example.org).