What is Dating Violence?
Dating Violence is an intentional act of violence inflicted on one partner by another in a dating relationship. This violence can be physical, sexual or emotional and can occur once or be ongoing throughout the relationship with several different types of violent incidents.
Types of Abuse: Dating violence can occur in various different ways:
Emotional Abuse: When one partner uses words and actions to manipulate, frighten or isolate the other. This can also involve taking away their self-respect. Example; put-downs, intimidation, bullying, etc.
Emotional Neglect: When an individual is not provided with the basic psychological and emotional needs from their partner, which impacts their well-being. Example; Lack of acknowledgement, love, safety and self-worth.
Physical Abuse: Any act that purposely results in trauma or physical injury without consent. An aspect of assault. Example; kicking, punching, hitting, shaking, burning, etc.
Sexual Abuse: When one person forces another into sexual activity or touching. It is abuse when one person in the relationship does not consent to this activity or is too young to consent. Example; sexual assault, forcing someone to engage in sexual intercourse, inappropriate or unwanted touching or comments, etc.
Harassment/Criminal Harassment: When someone does something repeatedly over time that make an individual fear for their safety. No physical injury needs to occur. Harassment can be sexual or/and non-sexual. Example: stalking, unwanted sexual comments/suggestions, persistent phone calls, etc.
How do I know if my friend is in an abusive relationship?
A relationship may be abusive if one partner:
- Has unexplained bruises or injuries
- Engages in risk-taking behaviours (doing drugs/drinking alcohol)
- Withdraws from their family and friends
- Has a drop in school/work performance
- Acts differently when their partner is around (e.g. not speaking up)
- Is humiliated or criticized by their partner in front of others
- Tries to change the subject if they are questioned about their partner’s behaviour
- Receives constant text messages from their partner demanding to know where they are and who they are with
- Is forced to give their partner the passwords to their social networking accounts
- Can't put down their phone
An abusive partner benefits from isolating person they are harming. As a friend, make sure your love, care and support is as unconditional and available as you can.
Ways to prevent it/combat it/intervene
Survivors (you know what's best, these are suggestions and they may not work in your situation):
- Know that it is not your fault and you are not alone- No one deserves to be abused
- Call 9-1-1 if you fear for your life
- Confide in someone you trust
- Create a safety plan with trusted professionals or people you know
- Keep important documents and some money separate and safe from your partner
- Don't normalize behaviour that is abusive like acting: jealous, controlling, possessive, obsessive, and stalking
- Participate in bystander intervention training and hold people in your life accountable
- Call 9-1-1 if you see a dangerous situation
- Don’t ignore the signs in your family and friends
- Provide unconditional support
Resources and Sources of Information
YWCA Peterborough & Haliburton Support Team for Abuse Response Today.