Raising red flags

Red flag posters are being hung on campus this Valentine’s Day to educate and encourage students to speak up on the topic of unhealthy relationships.

“One of the issues … is the subject of gender based violence with sexual health, sexual violence, relationship violence,” said Arig Girgrah, vice provost and dean of student affairs. “These issues are cultural and the way to change a culture is for the people that belong in that culture to be engaged.”

Girgrah said the campaign, originally from Virginia, was started at Queen’s last year. It’s important to look into issues that are relevant to students concerning health and safety, she added.

“We’re hopeful that it may be a bit of a flagship ... one of the ongoing initiatives that might help us address these issues on campus.”

The campaign will feature six informational posters hung until March 1, surrounding the idea of “relationship red flags” which are signals of an unhealthy relationship.

These posters, appearing all over campus including the ARC, feature unhealthy situations like coercion, emotional abuse, sexual assault, victim blaming, excessive jealousy and isolation.

“The idea of the posters is not only that they provide information, but also they help to promote skills one could use to respond,” said Kate Humphrys, coordinator of Health Education and Health Promotion at Health Counselling and Disability Services. “Providing skills and giving people the responses they can use is a very effective strategy.”

Bystander intervention training will also be available to students in two sessions, Feb. 28 from 6 to 9 p.m. and March 2 from 1 to 4 p.m.. The training is designed to help promote the further development of skills and empower students to use the knowledge they have.

A guest scholar, sponsored by the Campus Women’s Safety Fund, Lisa Wade from Occidental College in California will be speaking about “hook-up culture.”

Humphrys urges students to get involved by attending these events and reading the posters as well as filling out the 2013 Student Health and Wellness Survey if you are a selected student.

Humphrys and Girgrah hope that this campaign will help promote a shift towards a healthier relationship culture.

“The key to any healthy relationship is that we want people to be in mutually respectful relationships,” Humphrys said.

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