By Gillian Reinhard
The red flags arrayed in a peace sign above the Lower Long Walk have a greater significance than a gesture at nonviolence, according to Trinity’s Women and Gender Resource Action Center (WGRAC). Beginning in 2008, WGRAC sponsored the Red Flag Campaign, a national awareness effort hosted on college campuses throughout the country. The ultimate goal of the movement is to educate people on issues referred to as “red flags,” described as indicators of unhealthy and abusive relationships. Through this education, the Red Flag Campaign aims to teach active and safe bystander intervention and what factors are needed in healthy relationships. The campaign is directly sponsored by Students Encouraging Consensual Sex (SECS), a student organization of WGRAC, who received funding from the Violence Against Women Office, a component of the Department of Justice.
The campaign comes to Trinity at a significant time. October is nationally recognized as Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Additionally, the first 10 weeks of the first semester are commonly referred to as the “Red Zone,” a time when there is a heightened risk for sexual assault and gender-based violence on college campuses. Research proves that one in five college students experience dating violence in communities across the country, making the Red Flag Campaign an extremely important method for promoting conversations on campus.
The Red Flag Campaign is an annual tradition for SECS, WGRAC and the entire Trinity College community. Promotion for the event can be found in the posters around school which educate on the dangers of dating violence in college.
In the Mather lobby, students wrote messages about sexual violence awareness. Perhaps most notably, red flags, to symbolize the campaign, have been displayed in the form of a peace sign on the lower long walk. Additionally, SECS has worked to educate the community through a quiz on relationship violence and sexual assault statistics and to promote students to pledge as active and safe bystanders.
“It is a colorful way to alert the campus that relationship abuse, dating violence, and sexual assault happens here and that everyone can do something to prevent it,” commented Laura Lockwood, Director of WGRAC. The next SECs sponsored event for the community is Voices Raised in Power, a night of performances at the Mill to honor and celebrate survivors of gender-based violence. The event will occur on Nov. 10 at 7:30 p.m. All students are welcome and encouraged to attend SECS meetings, Thursday nights at 7:00 p.m. in the WGRAC Lounge or contact Amber Stevenson ’18, Russ Pierson ‘17 or Olivia DeJoie ’17.
By Gillian Reinhard