The University of Pittsburgh at Bradford will launch The Red Flag Campaign Feb. 13-18, aimed at reducing dating violence and sexual assault on college campuses.
A project of the Virginia Sexual & Domestic Violence Action Alliance, the campaign helps students identify "red flags" in their friends' relationships and encourages them to intervene and speak up. It was developed by sexual and domestic violence prevention experts, college students, victim advocates and college personnel in 2005.
"Friends play an influential role in intervening in dating violence not only with the victim, but also with the abusive partner," said Christy Clark, the Title IX/Affirmative Action Officer at Pitt-Bradford.
She goes on to explain that peer groups have the ability to provide safety and support and can also dictate what behaviors are unacceptable.
"The key is helping college students harness their power to change the cultural tolerance of violence in relationships," Clark said.
College students are at extremely high risk of either acting as perpetrator or being a victim of dating physical or sexual violence during their college years:
- 32% of college students report dating violence by a previous partner, and 21% report violence by a current partner
- 12% of completed rapes, 35% of attempted rapes, and 22% of threatened rapes occur on a date
- 51% of college males admit perpetrating one or more sexual assault incidents during college
The Red Flag Campaign has been approved by the U.S. Department of Justice's Office on Violence Against Women and featured as an example of best practices for strategies to build moral development in college students by Character Clearinghouse. It was also a finalist for the 2012 Global Avon Communication Awards in the category of "Breaking the Silence," which recognizes best practices in communications from around the world that focus on preventing violence against women.
Pitt-Bradford will host a series events in conjunction with The Red Flag Campaign, including placing small red flags throughout the campus to raise awareness.
The Bradford community is invited to attend the Saturday, Feb. 18, home basketball doubleheader versus Pitt-Greensburg to learn more about the campaign and show support. The women's game will tip at 1 p.m., and the men will follow shortly after. Anyone attending is encouraged to wear red.
For more information about The Red Flag Campaign, visit http://www.theredflagcampaign.org/.