Dating Violence

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The Facts: Dating violence is any abuse—physical, sexual, emotional—of one partner by the other in a dating relationship. ( see definitions of abuse in "Abuse at home?”) A wide range of harmful acts, besides physical violence and rape, can happen in dating relationships. All forms of abuse are harmful and worth taking seriously.

Warning signs: You may be experiencing dating violence if you are dating someone who:

  • Scares you.
  • Tries to control you with orders and threats.
  • Is jealous, possessive and/or suspicious, and doesn't like you spending time with family and friends.
  • Embarrasses you by calling you names and criticizing you.
  • Is violent.
  • Pressures you to have sex and/or to do things that make you uncomfortable abuses alcohol and/or drugs, and pressures you to abuse them too.
  • Blames you for his or her mistreatment of you.
  • Has a history of bad relationships and always blames the other person in the relationship for what happened.
  • Makes you feel that you deserve to be treated this way.

Getting help: If you recognize any of the warning signs for dating violence in a relationship that you are in, get help:

  • Talk to a school counselor, family doctor or another adult you trust. Ask him or her to help you find a counselor or community program that can help.
  • Contact the rape or sexual assault crisis centre in your community.

Q & A

Do I have to take sides, or choose one parent over the other?

No, you don't. You have the right to love and be loved by both parents.

If you are feeling pressured to take sides, and you feel you are caught in the middle of your parents' problems, tell them.

What will my friends say when they find out about my parents splitting up?

Lots of teens worry about breaking the news to their friends. Some feel embarrassed about what is happening.

Separation and divorce are very common these days. That means that many people have been through it themselves, and most probably know someone who has.

Good friends will be glad you've told them. They'll know that you're still you, even though your family is changing.