Violence - you can make a difference - Violence against women
Early Warning Signs of Dating Violence

Are you going out with
someone who...

  • Is jealous and possessive, won't let you see other friends, checks up on you or won't accept breaking up? Justifies these behaviours by saying that he acts this way because he loves you so much?

  • Pressures you to have sex and thinks of women and girls as sex objects? Tries to make you feel guilty by saying, "If you really loved me you would... "? Gets too serious about the relationship too quickly?

  • Tries to control you by being very bossy, criticizing the way you dress, talk, and dance, making all the decisions and ignoring your opinions?

  • Is violent, has a history of fighting, a bad temper or brags about mistreating others?

  • Abuses drugs or alcohol and pressures you to take them?

  • Blames you when he mistreats you?

  • Has a history of bad relationships, blames the other person?

  • Believes that men should be in control and women should be submissive?

  • Is described by friends or family members as scary or dangerous?

"Jealousy and possessiveness
are not a sign of true love.
they are an early warning
of abuse.  Recognize
the signals and get help."

Excerpt from Canada's Private Broadcasters' 1996 anti-Violence
Radio and Television Campaign

Feeling sorry for him

doesn't change
his behaviour...instead:
  • Learn to recognize the warning signs - if it feels scary, it's abuse. Abuse can be emotional, verbal, sexual, mental or physical. 'Whatever form it takes, you do not deserve to be treated that way.
  • Decide what is best for you, set your own limits, stick to them and feel good about taking charge of your life.
  • Get some help and support for yourself. You are not to blame for his behaviour. Find a person you trust and respect, and share your problem. The right person for you could be a friend, parent, school counsellor or teacher, doctor, crisis line worker or staff person at a women's shelter. (Check the front pages of your telephone book for emergency numbers.) If you have told someone and that person wasn't helpful, keep trying until someone really listens to you.
  • Photocopy freely

    If you think your friend
    is being abused...

    • Listen and believe her. Keep what she tells you to yourself. If you're worried about her safety tell her that together you need to tell someone who can help protect her.
    • Identify abusive behaviour and talk about what is happening to her. Remind her that jealousy and possessiveness do not equal love.
    • Tell her that she does not deserve to be hurt. Tell her that she is not to take the blame for his behaviour. Help her separate love and caring from abusive behaviours.
    • Don't tell her she's wrong if she wants to stay in the relationship. Keep talking and challenging her denial and his abusive behaviour.
    • Continue to be her friend. Don't abandon her even though at times you may feel frustrated and upset over her refusal to make changes or over the choices she is making. She needs you!
    • Get new ideas on how to help your friend from people who understand about violence in relationships. Phone a crisis line or women's shelter. All calls are treated confidentially.
    • Increase your own understanding about dating violence. Read articles, listen to radio shows, watch TV programs that deal with the issue. This will help you if you are finding yourself getting angry and frustrated with your friend.


    Canadian Association of Broadcasters logo

    If you think your friend
    is abusing his partner...

    • Confront your friend and name abusive attitudes and behaviours when you see them. jealousy and possessiveness are an early warning of abuse.
    • Challenge his stereotyping and putdowns of women. Don't laugh at jokes or comments that make fun of women.
    • Talk about the consequences of violence, Abusive behaviour builds fear, not love. Physical and sexual assault are against the law.
    • Encourage him to get help. Let him know it will probably happen again and may be worse the next time. Phone a crisis line or women's shelter to find out about resources in your community. (#'s in front pages of phone book)
    • Stand by him as a friend as he accepts responsibility for his actions and gets help.

    Material adapted from Vis-Ó-vis (Vol. 9, No. 4), a national newsletter on family violence, funded by Health Canada.

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    Status of Women Canada
    Human Resources Development Canada
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    Royal Canadian Mounted Police