Exploring Healthy Relationships

By the Safe Office

The Safe Office is excited to announce the launch of the Red Flag Campaign for the month of October in partnership with the LGBTQ Center, Women’s Center, Intercultural Center, and University Counseling Center and in recognition of October as Relationship Violence Awareness Month. The Red Flag Campaign promotes awareness and skills through a bystander intervention strategy to address and prevent sexual assault, dating violence, and stalking on college campuses. Activities and visuals on campus throughout the month of October will encourage friends and campus community members to say something when they see warning signs (“red flags”) in relationships of all kinds.

Everyone deserves to be in safe and healthy relationships; healthy relationships have trust, support, respect, equality, and fun.

So, are your relationships healthy? We encourage you to ask yourself these questions:

  • Are you completely and fully accepted by the other(s)?
  • When making decisions, do you have an equal voice?
  • Are you emotionally, mentally and physically safe?
  • Do the important people in your life support and cherish the relationship?
  • Do you feel secure in the relationship when the other is spending time with friends?

In a healthy relationship, the answer to all of these questions is, ‘yes!’ Relationships may have ups and downs, but healthy relationships consist of individuals committed to each other and willing to work to communicate effectively and listen to each other’s desires.

What are some of the red flags that a relationship is unhealthy?

  • Physical violence of any kind, to any degree, and for any reason
  • Forcing or bullying one to participate in an unwanted sexual act(s)
  • Threats, insults, or humiliation
  • Controlling who one can and cannot spend time with and when
  • Monitoring phone, email, social media accounts, or other personal information and passwords
  • Forcing one to buy or pay for things
  • Threat of outing one or sharing a secret if they leave the relationship
  • Causing academic/club/sport performance to suffer for the relationship

If you notice these flags in one of your relationships, know that you are not alone and there are resources available to help.

If you’re concerned for yourself:

  • Get to a safe place
  • Acknowledge that you are in an unhealthy relationship
  • Acknowledge that you deserve to be treated with respect and care
  • Commit to taking action towards leaving the relationship
  • Get professional help (e.g. Safe Office, University Counseling Center, University Police)

The Red Flag Campaign encourages bystanders to recognize healthy and unhealthy relationships, and if you’re concerned for a friend, there are resources for you, too. It is never easy to see someone we care about hurting, but here are some tips for helping a friend or loved one in an unhealthy relationship.

If you’re concerned for a friend:

  • Tell them directly that you are concerned about their relationship and give specific and objective examples for the reasons why
  • Tell them that they deserve to be treated with respect and care
  • If someone is in danger, be the person to say, “That isn’t right” and call 911
  • Suggest professional help (e.g. Safe Office, University Counseling Center, Campus Police)
  • Seek support for yourself (e.g. Safe Office, University Counseling Center, Chaplain’s Office).

Every student deserves to feel safe and supported. If ever you have concern for your safety or someone else’s, please call Wake Forest University Police at 336.758.5911 for immediate assistance. The Safe Office (Benson 129) is available for students 24/7 at 336.758.5285 to confidentially respond to urgent needs, assist students as they evaluate their options, and support them as they begin the healing process for concerns of sexual misconduct (including difficult or complicated relationships). The University Counseling Center (Reynolda 118) is available for students at 336.758.5273 during business hours and by contacting Student Health Service or University Police for afterhours crisis assistance.

To make a report of dating/domestic violence, please contact University Police at 336.758.5591 to file a police report or the Title IX Office (Reynolda 2) at 336.758.7258 to file a University report.

For additional information about the Red Flag Campaign happening at WFU or to talk more about relationships, please contact the Safe Office.