University of Maryland Blanketed with Red Flags to Raise Awareness of Dating Violence

  • In 21% of all college dating relationships, one partner is being abused

  • Women ages 16-24 experience highest per capita rate of intimate partner violence

  • Red Flag Campaign aims to curb dating violence through education and awareness

October is Domestic Violence Awareness month, and officials at the University of Maryland want to make sure every student knows it. The College Park campus is covered with attention-getting red flags, and the University's Health Center has unveiled a series of posters to draw attention to the warning signs of abusive relationships.

The effort is part of the Red Flag Campaign (, an award-winning public awareness program that seeks to address dating violence on college campuses. Created by the Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance and funded by the Verizon Foundation, the campaign was launched in 2007 and now appears on 55 college campuses across the United States. The University of Maryland is the first campus in the state of Maryland to participate in the program.

The Red Flag Campaign was developed by college students, college personnel and community victim advocates to explore the nature of dating relationships on college campuses and to identify the hallmarks of healthy relationships versus abusive ones. Campaign posters, which feature young men and women who look like typical students, not supermodels, deal with a number of "red flags" that students should be aware of including emotional abuse, isolation, coercion and excessive jealousy. Three of the posters are geared toward females, and three posters are geared toward male students. In order to heighten interest and create more of a "buzz," the red flags were dropped on the grounds of the University prior to the launch event without warning or explanation, and were followed by the posters.

According to the Red Flag Campaign, one partner is being abused in 21% of all college dating relationships, and women from 16 to 24 experience the highest per capita rate of intimate partner violence.

According to Dr. Linda Clement, vice president of student affairs at the University of Maryland College Park, "In addition to reaching out to students who may be in abusive relationships, we want to send a message to anyone concerned about a friend in an unhealthy relationship. Friends have a responsibility to watch out for each other. Our message is: when you see a red flag, speak up."

Mike Maiorana, regional president for Verizon Wireless in Maryland, Virginia and Washington commented, "It's important for young people to know that abuse does not have to be physical to be damaging. Emotional abuse needs to be taken just as seriously, and this campaign helps us all identify it. We're very proud to fund this innovative program which is being recognized across the nation."

The campaign on the University of Maryland campus is supported by a $5,000 grant from the Verizon Wireless HopeLine® program, which collects no-longer-used wireless phones — all models, from all wireless carriers — and accessories to be refurbished, recycled or sold. Proceeds benefit victims of domestic violence through grants and the donation of wireless phones and service.

Since HopeLine's recycling program was launched nationwide in 2001, Verizon Wireless has collected more than 6 million phones and awarded more than $7 million in cash grants, and, importantly, kept more than 200 tons of electronic wastes and batteries out of landfills. Phones are accepted at Verizon Wireless stores across the nation and on the campus at the University Health Center. For additional program information, visit

Through the University Health Center, the University operates the Sexual Assault Response and Prevention Program (SARPP) Advocate and Education Offices, using a peer intervention model The SARPP Advocate Office's mission is to respond to incidents of sexual assault, relationship violence, stalking and sexual harassment. SARPP provides resources, support, and assistance to men and women, primary and secondary victims in the aftermath of violence. The SARPP Education Office provides educational presentations and coordinates awareness events to educate the campus community about sexual assault, relationship violence, stalking and sexual harassment. For additional information, please visit  

About The Red Flag CampaignThe purpose of The Red Flag Campaign is to encourage students to speak up when they see red flags for dating violence in their friends' relationships. Supplementing the poster series is The Red Flag Campaign website,, which offers resources for students and campus personnel wanting to learn more about dating violence and how to help. Schools participating in The Red Flag Campaign also receive an extensive Campus Planning Guide on CD, which helps campus planners incorporate The Red Flag Campaign materials into campus programming.

About Verizon Wireless Verizon Wireless operates the nation's most reliable and largest wireless voice and data network, serving 87.7 million customers. Headquartered in Basking Ridge, N.J., with more than 87,000 employees nationwide, Verizon Wireless is a joint venture of Verizon Communications (NYSE: VZ) and Vodafone (NYSE and LSE: VOD). For more information, visit To preview and request broadcast-quality video footage and high-resolution stills of Verizon Wireless operations, log on to the Verizon Wireless Multimedia Library at