POLICE ASSOCIATION OF NOVA SCOTIA 105 Listen to these stories “ The first time it happened, I was about 14. My boyfriend saw me at a movie with a bunch of my friends. The next day he slapped me across the face and told me I should not go out without him. After that, he hit me so often, I began making up lies about the bruises.” “My girlfriend was so jealous she would constantly accuse me of crazy things. It drove me nuts so I decided to break up with her. When I tried, she said she would kill herself if I left.” If this is happening to you, you are not alone... At least one in ten high school students has experienced some form of dating violence. It often starts in junior high. Girls are usually the victims, but it happens to boys too. What is your relationship like? 1. Does your girlfriend/boyfriend make fun of you in front of family and friends? 2. Are there times when your girlfriend/boyfriend hurts your feelings? (Name calling, ignoring, for example) 3. Does your girlfriend/boyfriend threaten or intimidate you or someone you care about? 4. Has your girlfriend/boyfriend ever pressured you to do uncomfortable things? 5. Does your girlfriend/boyfriend insist on making the decisions in the relationship? 6. Has your girlfriend/boyfriend ever pushed or slapped you? 7. Does your girlfriend/boyfriend get jealous and stop you from doing activities or seeing friends? 8. Does your girlfriend/ boyfriend demand to know how you spend your time when you are apart? 9. Does your girlfriend/ boyfriend expect sexual favors in return for spending time with you or buying you gifts? 10. Are you afraid to say “no” without having to explain your reasons? 11. Does your girlfriend/boyfriend make you feel bad about yourself? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you may be in or headed for an abusive relationship. Watch out! This happens to a lot of teens. It helps to know the facts. Why does Dating Violence happen? It happens. Listen to what some teens have said: • “I didn’t know it was wrong.” • “I thought the jealousy meant he really loved me.” • “I thought I deserved it.” • “I saw the same thing at home so I thought it was okay.” • “I thought it was okay to hit my girlfriend... I had to keep her in-line.” • “So what’s the big deal? I hit her...who’s going to stop me?” • “The way she was dressed, I knew she was looking for it.” • “He was my boyfriend, he shouldn’t have talked to her.” • “I thought if I threatened to kill myself, she’d never leave me.” Is Dating Violence against the law? Some aspects of dating violence are against the law. Other behaviors are inappropriate and unacceptable. Here are a few examples of dating behaviors that are unacceptable and dating behaviors that are criminal in nature. Unacceptable Against the law • put downs and name calling • hitting, shoving, kicking, etc. (intentional use of force • extreme jealousy and possessiveness against somebody without his or her consent is assault) • manipulation and control • repeated harassment such as phoning you or following • isolation from friends and family you everywhere (stalking) • threats of suicide • forced sex, unwanted sexual acts (Sexual activity without consent is sexual assault) • threats to harm you, your family or property (threatening to cause harm may be an assault) Source: National Clearinghouse on Family Violence, Family Violence Prevention Division, Health Canada Ottawa, Ontario K1A 1B5 DATING VIOLENCE