The PCA installs the Red Flag Campaign on the Auraria campus with the help of campus partners each year during the first weeks of September to help our community understand the scope and impact of relationship violence.
There are 43,000 students on the Auraria campus.
1 in 5 college students will experience relationship violence.
Each flag represents one survivor on our campus.
There are 8,600 flags.
When you see a red flag in your loved one’s relationship, say something.
What are relationship red flags? Relationship violence does not simply appear in a relationship. Most of the time, relationship violence is preceded by a number of red flags which range from concerning to abusive. These red flags are often not apparent to the potential victim due to a process called “grooming” by which a victim is desensitized to potentially harmful aspects of the person they are in a relationship with. The victim is not to blame for “missing” the red flags. It is our responsibility as their friend, loved one, family member, classmate, teacher, or otherwise concerned other to say something when we see something concerning from our vantage point.
What are some examples of relationship red flags?
Jealousy. Some people believe that “a little bit” of jealousy in a relationship is healthy. When that level of jealousy becomes prohibitive, isolates a person, or makes them feel bad for normal behavior (such as studying for a test with a classmate), it is unhealthy and can be abusive. Some examples of jealousy in an unhealthy or abusive relationship are: constantly calling when you are with others, excessive questioning about others you have spent time with, anger regarding relationships or time spent with others, etc.
Lack of Boundaries. Some people have different boundaries within their lives and respectfully negotiating how those boundaries intersect in a relationship is part of a healthy relationship. This process becomes unhealthy, however, when someone is made to feel bad for their boundaries, is mocked for them, is repeatedly pressed to change them, or is otherwise disrespected. Additionally, if a person tries to get too close or too serious too fast this can be a red flag.
Sharing of private information without consent. Anything that is done without consent – whether in a relationship or not – is unacceptable. Sharing secrets or private information without a person’s consent, however, is another way that a perpetrator can isolate or humiliate someone. Keep an eye for how someone is feeling when embarrassing or personal information is shared by someone other than them. Are they visibly hurt, uncomfortable, or embarrassed? Take the opportunity to check in.
Disproportionate Anger. Anger and disagreements can happen in healthy relationships and the relationship remains healthy as long as those negative thoughts and feelings are dealt with in a respectful way. If a person is getting disproportionately angry, however, this can be a way of keeping someone walking on eggshells and constantly concerned about pleasing them.
Lying and gaslighting. No one should ever be lied to in a relationship and gaslighting is a particularly nasty kind of lie that occurs. Gaslighting is the process of making someone else feel crazy for their beliefs, recollections, or feelings. If a perpetrator repeatedly gaslights someone they are, again, exerting power and control over them by making them further dependent on the perpetrator’s version of reality.
You just feel uneasy. Sometimes, it’s difficult to pinpoint what exactly about a person or a relationship is making us feel uncomfortable. It could be any number of the things above or below or something completely different. Trust that internal uneasiness and check in with your friend or loved one if something doesn’t seem right. Remember: a person may not be ready or able to validate your uneasiness the first time you mention it, but giving them the space to consider that something isn’t ok can be incredibly powerful.
For more relationship red flags, take a look at the PCA’s Power, Control, & Cycle of Violence Wheel:
For more information about the prevalence of relationship violence, please see our statistics page here.
If you need help talking to a friend about their relationship, call the Phoenix Center helpline at 303-556-CALL (2255) or come by our office to schedule an appointment– Tivoli 259.
Learn more about this national campaign at: http://www.theredflagcampaign.org