In honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, UNH’s Sexual Harassment and Rape Prevention Program (SHARPP), organized their inaugural Purple Flag Campaign.
At UNH, SHARPP recognizes this month as Relationship Abuse Awareness Month. On the lawn outside of SHARPP’s office, aka Wolff House, at 2 Pettee Brook Lane, there is a heart-shaped field of 322 small purple flags that represents the number of UNH students who have or will suffer from domestic violence. Each flag represents 10 individual UNH students, so all combined represent 3,216 UNH victims from the Durham, Manchester and Concord campuses. The flags will be displayed up until Friday, Oct. 28.
SHARPP organization members found the number by using national statistics and applying them to UNH graduate and undergraduate students.
Senior social work and justice studies major Jessica Lynch is SHARPP’s outreach assistant in charge of planning events. She said that the biggest goal of the Purple Flag Campaign is to spread awareness and “give students a visual and make people realize that this does happen and people will be affected.”
“There are resources and we need to keep raising awareness in order to eventually end these issues,” Lynch said.
Lynch said that Wolff House glows purple in the last week of October to recognize the importance of healthy relationships. This year SHARPP decided to combine the Purple Flag Campaign and the five nights of glowing purple to spread even more awareness.
“The goal is to have people walk by and be empowered by the impact of these flags, these flags are actually 10 students that will be affected in their lifetime of this issue,” Lynch said.
Sophomore Hannah Bennett is one UNH student who has stopped to look at the purple flag display this week. “I just read the sign and didn’t know what they were for. That’s really scary; one flag representing 10 students, and just here on campus. That’s extremely eye opening,” Bennett said.
SHARPP’s website states that the purple ribbon is a “unifying symbol of courage, survival, honor and dedication to ending relationship abuse.”
SHARPP encourages students, staff and faculty to wear a purple ribbon during Relationship Abuse Awareness Month to honor and spread awareness of domestic violence.