Red Flag rally raises dating violence awareness

Photos and Story by Rachel Read

Staff Writer

On Tuesday, Oct. 11, the Red Flag Rally returned to JSU after a six-year absence. Tiny red flags were scattered across the TMB lawn to show support and spread awareness of recognizing and taking action to prevent dating violence.


A flag on the TMB lawn that reads, “They try to control how I act and what I wear. I was never good enough.”

“The red flags all represent a warning sign that you could possibly see in an unhealthy relationship,” said JSU alumna Trace Fleming, the current Sexual Assault Program Director at 2nd Chance, Inc, and the founder of WISE. Both organizations came together to promote the Red Flag Campaign’s message.

“The Red Flag Campaign is bringing attention to the fact that 1 in 3 women are victims of dating violence,” Fleming said. “We want to change that culture.”



Some of the JSU cheerleaders explore the field of dating violence “red flags” at the Red Flag Rally on Tuesday.

Fliers posted around campus encouraged people that planned on attending ahead of time to wear the color red to support survivors. Tables were set up with informative pamphlets and fun stress relieving activities for people such as adult coloring book pages were provided. There were refreshments and cupcakes for anyone who came by. Interested students were given red flags and sharpies and asked to jot down something that they would see as a red flag in a relationship, and then to place their red flag statements on the lawn.


The JSU cheerleaders and Cocky visited and added their own red flags to the list of dating violence warning signs.

Cocky and the JSU cheerleaders came out to show their support and joined in on the action! Other notable appearances to the Red Flag Rally were made by SGA President Jesslan Sharp and SGA Vice President of Student Activities Ranger Rumrill.


VPSA Ranger Rumrill (left) and SGA President Jesslan Sharp (right) pledge to say something if they see or know someone in a domestically abusive relationship.

Through the Red Flag Rally, these important, thought-provoking questions were asked: what if you were a bystander witnessing a warning sign that indicated
a friend or total stranger was experiencing domestic violence? Would you remain silent, or say something?

The Red Flag Campaign ultimately seeks to spread awareness and encourage people to not simply settle to be silent bystanders “minding their own business.” Instead,


Cocky takes the pledge to “Say Something” to help victims of domesticc abuse.

the campaign urges individuals to recognize the responsibility they as witnesses have: “domestic violence is your business because victims of domestic violence need your help.” An eyewitness
should take it upon themselves to use strategic intervention in order to help victims trapped in an abusive relationship. Anyone that can spot the red flags can help prevent sexual assault, dating violence and stalking on college campuses, by saying something.


Paris Coleman, a junior, shares his flag that reads, “Love means tears of joy. You shouldn’t spend your time crying over anyone.”

Fleming also wished to share hope and healing for domestic violence survivors out there.

“We have also started a new group for the Jacksonville community called Story Share where people can come together and share their experiences,” Fleming said. “Whether it involves dating violence or just the story of their life, people can come together and enjoy opportunity to learn from each other.”



The Red Flag Rally was Sponsored by counseling services, JSU Peer Educators, University Housing & Residence Life, WISE, and Second Chance, Inc.

For more, go to TheRedFlagCampaign.orgredflagrally.jpg
Information at the rally was provided for a variety of situations and scenarios, including how to spot human trafficking red flags — for those that were unable to attend the event, here is some valuable information worth taking note of. The more attention to these details, the greater the chance of spotting a human trafficking victim which will allow any observant individual to take the proper measures to act and make a difference saving a victim’s life.

Human Trafficking Red Flags:

For the General Public

If you come in contact with anyone exhibiting one or more of the following indicators, they may be a victim of human trafficking:

  • A potential victim typically has someone with them at all times. This person seems very controlling and tries to speak for the victim.
  • Victims may refer to their trafficker as their “boyfriend”
  • Victims may exhibit signs of physical abuse such as: bruises, broken bones, cuts, burns, scars, and/or malnourishment
  • Victims may have signs of psychological trauma such as: severe anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts, Stockholm’s Syndrome, panic attacks, submissive-ness, and/or no emotion at all (flat effect)
  • Victims may lie about their age or have a false ID
  • Victims may be forced to sell drugs, magazines, etc., on the street
  • Victims typically do not have control over personal identification documents. These documents may be in the control of the trafficker
  • Victims may appear afraid/nervous and may not make eye contact.
  • Conversations with victims may seem very scripted, inconsistent, or vague
  • Victims may have signs of “branding” by their traffickers, such as tattoos of the trafficker’s name, dollar signs ($s) or “Daddy’s Girl”
  • Victims may have a lack of knowledge about where they are or why
  • Victims may not admit they are victims and may not ask for help


Questions to ask yourself to determine if someone might be a victim:

  • Are they being forced to do something they don’t want to do?
  • Is the person allowed to be alone?
  • Has the person been physically and/or sexually abused??
  • Does the person appear to have been threatened?
  • Do they have to ask permission to eat, sleep, or go to the bathroom?
  • Is the victim dressed inappropriately for their age? (i.e., sexy or suggestive clothing on a young person).
  • Where does the victim sleep and eat?
  • Are there inconsistencies in the victim’s stories?
  • Source: org,, New Jersey Human Trafficking Task Force.
  • Please check out Alabama Human Trafficking Task Force for more information at org or call 1-888-373-7888 or 1-800-991-0948


The Red Flag Campaign needs your help with getting involved on social media! Here are some ways to help:

Twitter examples:

  • 1 in 5 women have experienced rape. Tweet discussing dating and sexual violence on campus using #SaySomething and #RedFlagJSU
  • 1 in 10 college women report being stalked. If you see a red flag in a relationship #SaySomething #RedFlagJSU
  • No is not an opportunity for discussion and/or coercion. Respect someone’s no! #RedFlagJSU
  • Telling your partner what to wear is not “overprotection” that’s a red flag. Respect your partner’s autonomy! #SaySomething #RedFlagJSU
  • You are allowed to have friends of whatever gender. A good relationship is built on trust. #SaySomething #RedFlagJSU
  • Drinking, clothing, and/or an intimate relationship are all things that are *not* consent. Stop victim blaming! #RedFlagJSU
  • Real love does not hurt physically, mentally, or emotionally. Any form of abuse is a red flag. #SaySomething #RedFlagJSU
  • A relationship should not drag you down, but instead should encourage and inspire you to be better! #HealthyRelationships #RedFlagJSU
  • If your partner physically harms you, please know you are not alone. There is help as well as hope! #SaySomething #RedFlagJSU

Facebook status examples:

  • Rape is the most underreported crime. When victims come forward, they are rarely believed and are often further victimized by society. It’s time to end victim blaming so that people no longer have to be isolated. #SaySomething #RedFlagJSU
  • Males ages 18-24, who are college students, are approximately 5x more likely than non-students of the same age to be victims of rape/sexual assault. #SaySomething #RedFlagJSU
  • Less than half of all higher education institutions provide new students with sexual violence education. let’s push for more awareness and education on campus! #RedFlagJSU
  • “If you love me you would-“ If *they* loved you, they would not manipulate you. Manipulation is a red flag. #SaySomething
  • Does your partner tell you how to dress, where you can/can’t go, and/or who you can’t hang out with? If you answered yes to any of these, that is not a healthy relationship. These are red flags.
  • If you see someone being mistreated #SaySomething. Breaking the silence could save a life. #RedFlagJSU


FACTS on domestic violence:

  • In the past three years of violent offenses in Alabama, approximately 10% were domestic violence incidents.
  • In Alabama, most domestic violence assault victims are a wife, ex-wife, girlfriend or ex-girlfriend to the offender. Approximately 15% were a boyfriend and ex-boyfriend.
  • One in four women seeking care in the emergency department for any reason is a domestic violence survivor.
  • 3 million American children live in violent homes
  • Acts of physical aggression between domestic partners occur in one in six U.S. homes
  • In 2008, Alabama served 649 victims inn domestic programs on any given day.
  • Statistics provided by SOAR.
  • SOAR stands for Survivors Overcoming Abusive Relationships — giving a voice to survivors, speaking out and raising awareness of domestic violence, and celebrates survivors.
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