PANS-07

POLICE ASSOCIATION OF NOVA SCOTIA 101 Dating violence is the sexual, physical, emotional or psychological abuse of one partner by the other in a dating relationship. Adolescent girls and women are the predominant victims of dating violence, although some teenaged boys and men can experience violence in their dating relationships. Abuse against women is significantly more severe and pervasive. Teens are especially vulnerable as they are at the stage of forming their first intimate relationships and are often unsure of themselves and what to expect in a relationship. Types of abuse • Physical abuse: punching, slapping, kicking, shoving, choking, hair pulling, striking with an object, assault with a weapon and physical confinement. • Sexual abuse: any form of sexual activity with a person without the consent of that person, with the exception of children who, in most circumstances, cannot consent. Sexual abuse may include unwanted sexual touching, sexual relations without voluntary consent, or the forcing or coercing of degrading, humiliating or painful sexual acts. • Emotional/psychological abuse: behaviour intended to control, humiliate, intimidate instill fear or diminish a person's sense of self worth. It can involve threatening or terrorizing the partner, stalking, extreme and irrational expressions of jealousy, isolating the partner, threatening the victim's family members, and destroying personal property. Prevalence • The Nova Scotia Advisory Council on the Status of Women found that 11% of young women in Nova Scotia faced sexual abuse within dating relationships, 32% experienced emotional abuse and 18% faced physical abuse. • A 1989 survey of 216 high school girls in Cumberland County, Nova Scotia found that 40% reported experiencing physical and/or emotional abuse in a dating relationship. • The National Violence Against Women Survey estimated that 1.7 million Canadian women have been involved in at least one incident of sexual or physical assault by a date or boyfriend since the age of 16. This represents 16% of all women. • Half of all women who reported an incident of dating violence were between the ages of 18-34. • In a 1992 national survey of 3,142 Canadian college and university students, female students reported overall rates of sexual abuse of 45% since leaving high school. A total of 35% of female students said they had been physically assaulted in a dating relationship. 17% of males said they had been physically violent towards a date since leaving high school. Contributing factors Patriarchy theory: Society's belief in male dominance often contributes to violence in intimate relationships. It is argued that the use of violence by males is reinforced by sexist ideology and the notion that males are superior. Though we have seen increasing changes in these gender values, there are males who feel it is their right to punish, control, or batter their partners. Peer pressure: Within adolescent groups, there is often a pressure for boys to be sexually active and/or sexually aggressive which can contribute to sexually abusive behaviour and date rape. Intergenerational violence: Children who are victims of family violence or who witness abuse in the home can often repeat abusive patterns of behaviour in adolescence and adulthood. Children exposed to violence often learn that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Similarly, girls who witness violence in the home will often tolerate abusive behaviour in their own dating relationships. Social Learning Theory: Today's youth are constantly exposed to violent and sexist images in the media. These images convey the notion that violence is an acceptable way to resolve conflict and that girls/women are acceptable targets. This may influence some people to replicate that behaviour, particularly if the viewer identifies with, emulates or is desensitized by violent images. What is dating violence? continued...

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