If you see a red flag, say something. That is the motto for the Red Flag Campaign that will be sweeping through the hills of Mary Baldwin College throughout April and into May to provide awareness and prevent dating violence.
The campaign is designed to address the issues of dating violence and enable the prevention of domestic abuse on college campuses. The program encourages friends and colleagues to use the “bystander intervention” method and speak up when they witness these warning signs — red flags in action — in a relationship. Posters promoting the Red Flag project reflect racially and ethnically diverse models and picture both heterosexual and same-sex relationships.
Sophia Stone ’14, a double major in psychology and biology, will be organizing events on campus with the help of New Directions Center , a local non-profit that provides crisis intervention, emergency housing, food, clothing and transportation to women, children, and men impacted by emotional, physical and sexual violence.
There will be a table set up in Hunt Dining Hall on April 14 for students to receive information and consult with Nichole Burchett, child services coordinator from New Directions. An in-depth discussion about the red flags that exist within unhealthy relationships and the signs students should look for to spot these warning signs in other students’ relationships, as well as their own, will take place in Francis Auditorium at 7 p.m. April 28. This event will be followed by a more intimate discussion at 7 p.m. May 5 at the Spencer Center
, lending students the opportunity to open up about themselves and people close to them who may experiencing some form of dating violence. Snacks and refreshments will be provided.
“Nichole Burchett is heading the campaign and she is an incredible, captivating speaker. She moves people,” said Stone, who works with Burchett at New Directions as an intern. “We are hoping to bring some students out to listen to her speak and it would be great if this event made a difference in at least one individual’s life.”
Stone’s motivation to get involved with this campaign stemmed from her strong desire to help people, which is one reason why she chose to major in psychology.
“It takes so little effort on my part to intervene when a friend, classmate, or colleague is stuck in an unhealthy relationship,” Stone said. “Domestic violence is unfortunately very common, and it makes no distinctions between race, gender, age, income level, culture, or religion. The person who sits next to you in class might go home every night to an abusive environment and you could be completely oblivious to it.”
Stone stresses the importance of speaking out against dating violence on campus and putting an end to the abuse. Students, faculty, and friends of the college are encouraged to come to the Red Flag events to share knowledge and promote healthy relationships.