Thursday, 04 November 2010
The red flags. Those signs we're supposed to look for when we're dating to know that we're in a bad relationship. Are they always so easy to see? Where can we turn for support, to know when they're there?
How many of us have seen emotionally abusive relationships in our friends and families, but have been too afraid to say something?
Last night, a friend of mine who attends the University of Maryland let me in on a great project that I'd love to share with you guys: The Red Flag Campaign.
Yesterday, students at the school gathered to launch the third year of the project, in which a series of posters like the one above and actual red flags are found across college campuses to raise awareness.
The campaign was created to help dating couples experiencing abuse in their relationships, whether it be due to put-downs, excessive jealousy, coercion, or any other emotionally abusive activity. These acts are harmful in their own right, and could be "red flags" that potentially lead to physical violence.
According to the campaign's website, it's mission is to, "encourag(e) friends and other campus community members to “say something” when they see warning signs (“red flags”) for dating violence in a friend’s relationship."
The Red Flag Project offers some great tips on having a safe, healthy, and rewarding relationship. Some of these may seem obvious, but how many of these are absent from your current relationship?
- You trust your partner.
- You treat each other the way you want to be treated, and accept each other’s opinions and interests.
- You each feel physically safe in the relationship.
- Your partner likes your friends and encourages you to spend time with them and wants to include them in his/her life as well as yours.
- You make important decisions together.
- Your partner understands when you spend time away from him or her.
- You don’t feel responsible for protecting your partner’s reputation or for covering for his/her mistakes.
- Your partner encourages you to enjoy different activities (like joining the volleyball team or football team, running for student government, or being in a play) and helps you reach your goals.
- Your partner likes you for who you are – not just for what you look like.
- You are not afraid to say what you think and why you think that way. You like to hear how your partner thinks, and don’t always have to agree.
- You have both a friendship and a physical attraction.
- You don’t have to be with your partner 24/7.
- Your partner doesn’t force sexual activity or insist that you do something that makes you uncomfortable.
How do you feel about awareness programs like this one? Would your school or community benefit from a project like this?