Red Flag day draws attention to dating violence

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Bhakti Parikh
News Reporter

A ‘Red Flag’ day at Humber on Valentine’s was part of an awareness campaign which features a series of eight posters that illustrate ‘red flags’ that might be present in a relationship in which dating violence is happening.

Each poster reflects one of the following themes: coercion, emotional abuse, sexual assault, victim-blaming, excessive jealousy, isolation, and stalking.

Designed by Humber’s Student Wellness and Accessibility Centre with a “bystander intervention” strategy, the campaign encourages friends and other campus community members to speak up when they see warning signs (“red flags”) for dating violence in a friend’s relationship.

“The idea is that if you see a red flag in someone else’s relationships, just say something,” said Kristy Colasante, a registered mental health nurse and team member of the campaign. “We are promoting the campaign with some activities, these activities give you tips on how to speak up about the violence in a relationship.”

The team behind the campaign includes mental health experts such as Colasante as well as students who volunteer for the cause. Each Wednesday at the North campus, as part of a #WritetheWrong initiative, the team also posts videos of scenarios featuring a sexual violence myth to which students can offer responses.

Many students became a part of Tuesday’s Red Flag event as well as made a commitment online. Over 1,500 students are now pledging to raise their voice against any inappropriate behavior spotted anywhere.

“Everyone deserves a healthy, safe relationship,” said Amanda Soriano, assistant coordinator for Digital Communications, Students Success and Engagement at Humber. “We have collaborated with the Consent is Sexy Crew to debunk sexual violence myths on campus by encouraging students to ‘Write’ The Wrong and correct false statements on sexual violence.”

“This campaign is important because there are a lot of misconceptions out there surrounding sexual violence and by having these safe conversations with students we are able to share the facts, change culture on campus and make a difference,” said Soriano.

Shannon Stach, a student intern counselor at Humber, said, “I think Valentine’s day is the perfect day to raise awareness on healthy relationships.”

For anyone who feels like talking but is uncomfortable to make an approach, Shannon said, “We are very warm and empathetic, we listen, we don’t judge them on what they share.”

Maria Almendarie, a Humber first-year student of Business Marketing, said of last Tuesday’s Red Flag event that, “it explains to you that some things have to be spoken about. The college is very supportive to students in these matters, and I would feel very comfortable to approach them regarding some unhealthy issues.”

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