This month, The Red Flag Campaign makes its debut on our campus, and you’ll be seeing information around campus that addresses dating violence.
There are many steps we can take in our daily lives to stop someone who is being abusive, or to help someone who is being victimized.
Think about it. What is your responsibility as a friend? Is it to protect the “privacy” of your friend who is possibly being abused? Is it to defend another friend’s behavior, even though it could be abusive or violent?
Yes, sometimes we may feel pressure not to share a friends business, or to minimize what’s going on. But please consider that dating violence is not a “personal issue” and it is not something to be kept private. Dating violence is a community issue…and sometimes a criminal one.
When it comes to dating violence, here’s what it means to be a friend.
- Don’t assume that it doesn’t happen on our campus. It does.
- Don’t assume that men are always the perpetrators or women are always the victims.
- Don’t assume that dating violence happens only in heterosexual relationships.
- Don’t assume that just because your friend doesn’t ask for help, she or he doesn’t want or need help.
- Don’t assume that just because you don’t see evidence of physical abuse, what is happening in your friend’s emotionally abusive relationship isn’t damaging…whether spiritually, emotionally, physically, or sexually.
If you see something in your friend’s relationship that makes you feel uneasy, something you can’t quite put your finger on…say something. Tell your friend what you’ve noticed, and ask if there’s anything you can do to help.
Your responsibility as a friend–our responsibility as a community–is to ensure that students are able to reach their potential, and that healthy relationships can flourish. Now is the time to learn how to treat our girlfriends and boyfriends. These relationships will shape our commitments in the future.
So, if you see a red flag in your friend’s relationship, are you going to turn away? Or are you going to say something? Find out more at www.TheRedFlagCampaign.org.