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Am I in love?
Am I in a healthy relationship?
Am I in a healthy relationship?

Here are some feelings that characterize a healthy and balanced relationship between two people. A healthy and balanced relationship between two people is a relationship where...
  • I feel respected by my partner;
  • I feel loved by the person I’m with;
  • I have fun just spending time together;      
  • I can express myself freely without my partner judging me;
  • I feel free to be myself, to think and say what I want; and where
  • I feel that my beliefs and spiritual values are respected.
Adapted from the site www.kidshealth.org
 



What is violence?
What is violence?

WHAT IS IT?

If we tried to summarize in one sentence violence in love relationships, it could be something like this:

"A method chosen to dominate another person and to maintain her in a state of inferiority."
 
Violence takes a while before settling in a love relationship. It first takes a form, then another... Gradually, methods used to dominate the other start varying. This is the cycle and the escalation of violence! 

As abuse happens gradually, at first you might not be sure that what is happening to you is wrong. For example, a guy could insist that his girlfriend stays with him on a Saturday night instead of going out with her friends because he says he loves her and he would miss her too much. Later on, he could request that she stays with him and totally prevent her from seeing her friends because he thinks they are “stupid”. It’s not always easy to realize that we are going through an abusive situation.

Violence is always destructive, whether psychological, verbal, physical or sexual. All these forms have significant impacts for the person experiencing the violence. 

Adapted from the site www.aimersansviolence.com (French only)



Types of abuse
Types of abuse

Psychological Abuse
Attempting, by his/her attitude and progressively, to damage the self-esteem of his girlfriend or her boyfriend and limit his/her autonomy (not accepting that her boyfriend has personal activities, demands that his girlfriend dresses in a certain way, always calling her on her cell). Many people think that this type of abuse is less serious because there are no physical bruises or scars; this is wrong! Psychological abuse leaves a deep wounded spirit.
 
Verbal Abuse
Using words meant to hurt his girlfriend or her boyfriend to create a feeling of insecurity and fear (threatening your partner of hitting him/her or leaving him/her) or humiliating him/her (in private or around friends). This type of violence is much more common than we think.

Physical Abuse
Using physical strength (slapping, hitting, throwing objects) to assert power over his girlfriend or her boyfriend. This type of violence is the most common. 

Sexual Abuse
Imposing sexual acts on his girlfriend or her boyfriend or imposing him/her to be part in sexual activities. Sexual abuse often occurs in a context of intimidation, manipulation, blackmail, threats or the use of force.

Adapted from the site www.aimersansviolence.com (French only)

Violence and Technology
Information and communication technology evolve rapidly. They provide multiple benefits and are increasingly available and present in girls’ lives. However, boundaries are now thin between private and public space and we know that some guys use technology as a tool to monitor or track their victim.

Your partner:
  • Insists that you share your social networking passwords (Facebook, My Space, etc.)?
  • Reads all your text messages and e-mails?
  • Downloads software to enable him to follow all your activities on your computer?
  • Constantly bombards you with text messages to find out where you are and with whom. He buys you a cell phone and forces you to answer to know your whereabouts?
  • Uses the geolocation function of your smartphone to track you down?
  • Checks the history of your Internet searches?
  • He uses technology to control and harass you



Warning signs of violence
Warning signs of violence

You suspect your boyfriend is abusive towards you?

The first step is to recognize the warning signs of violence against women and girls.

He puts you down.
He does all the talking and dominates the conversation.
He checks up on you all the time.
He tries to pretend he is the victim and acts like he is depressed.
He tries to discourage you from seeing your friends and family.
He acts as if you belonged to him.
He lies to make himself look good or exaggerates his good qualities.
He is overly jealous and possessive.
He acts like he is superior or of more value and more important than other family members.
He makes ​​nasty and disrespectful comments towards women.
He makes all the decisions within your relationship.
He makes threats.
He speaks loudly and uses his body to intimidate you.

You are apologetic or make excuses for his behaviour
You become aggressive or get angry when your friends or your family talk to you about your boyfriend’s behaviour.
You are not comfortable talking when he’s around.
You miss school often.
You try to cover up your injuries.
You feel that you have to walk on eggshells in his presence.
You are sad, lonely, depressed, anxious and fearful.
You consume drugs or alcohol to cope with the situation. 

If you recognize yourself or your boyfriend in reading the above warning signs, it is quite possible that your relationship is abusive.

Talk to someone about it. Call us at 613-632-1131/1-800-267-4101. We can help you.



Cycle of violence
Cycle of violence

Unacceptable behaviour associated with different categories of abuse or violence can gradually creep into a relationship. The victim usually tends to protect the abuser by making up all kinds of excuses. This is how the cycle of violence begins.

Experience indicates that violence, whether physical, verbal, psychological or sexual, is reflected in a cycle of three phases:
  1. Honeymoon
  2. Tension Building
  3. Abuse
Generally, if there is no outside intervention, the abuser becomes progressively more violent.
Unless something happens to break the cycle of violence, the situation will only get worse. Only the abuser can stop the violence, because he alone is responsible for his own behaviours.

ACADV - Cycle of Violence
You must ask for help! Talk about it with someone you trust.
You can also call us at 613‑632‑1131/1-800-267-4101. We are here to listen to you.


Adapted from the site www.adosante.org (French only)



Helpful tips
Helpful tips

I AM A VICTIM OF VIOLENCE

When a person is in an abusive relationship, she may be unclear about what is happening and how she feels. For example, you could hate the violent boyfriend, but love the one you knew at the beginning of the relationship and who, from time to time, is very charming. You can lose self-esteem and self-confidence. Several victims of violence even change some of their behaviour, which they believe "provoke" their partner, and find strategies to avoid conflict as much as possible. 

The main problem when you live in a violent situation is that you isolate yourself because you are afraid and ashamed. If you experience violence, whether emotional, verbal, physical or sexual, it is important to break the silence. You'll see, once the ice is broken, you’ll feel much better. The important thing is not to feel responsible for your boyfriend’s behaviour: his violence belongs to him

Seek help by talking to someone you trust around you. Whether this is a family member, your best friend, a professional at school, a counsellor at Tel-jeunes, or a counsellor at Maison Interlude House, this person will listen to you, support you and give you information.

It may not always be easy but you must dare talking about it. It's the only way to get out of this situation.
Call us at 613-632-1131/1-800-267-4101. We are here to listen.

Adapted from the site www.aimersansviolence.com  (French only)
 

I HAVE WITNESSED DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

I have witnessed domestic violence 

It is not your fault. You cannot control violence. The adults going through this need help. Talk to someone you trust. Whether this person is a family member, your best friend, a professional at school, a counsellor at Tel-jeunes, or a counsellor at Maison Interlude House, this person will listen to you, support you and give you information.  Adapted from the site www.aimersansviolence.com (French only)
 

I have witnessed violence between my friend and her boyfriend

When we witness violent behaviour, it is not always easy to react. It is uncomfortable, we do not want to interfere in the lives of others or we are afraid to say the wrong things. If you witness violence, tell yourself that your action is really important. Show the victim that you do not judge her and that you can offer a sympathetic ear. 

Persuade her to talk to a professional at school, a counsellor at Tel-jeunes, or a counsellor at Maison Interlude House. This person will listen to her, support her and give her information. 

Adapted from the site www.aimersansviolence.com  (French only)



How to stay safe on a first date
How to stay safe on a first date

Here are some suggestions before going out on a date:
  • Meet in public places for the first few dates
  • Be careful not to disclose too much information to someone you don’t know very well
  • Have your own money and change for the phone
  • If you have a cell phone, make sure it is charged and emergency numbers are pre-programmed (if you dial *TAXI on any cell phone in Canada, it will connect you to a cab)
  • Let someone know where you are going and when you expect to return
  • Double date or ask some friends to join you
  • Know the address of where you are going and how to get home on your own if necessary
  • Never leave your drink unattended
  • Keep a clear mind, don't drink too much alcohol or use other substances that could impair your judgment
  • If something doesn't feel right; always trust your instincts
  • Make sure you are protected against STI and unwanted pregnancies
  • Don't be afraid to say NO
  • If you have an iPhone or a Blackberry, you can download an app Safety Siren from YWCA. The siren activation sends an emergency email to a pre-set SOS contact with approximate coordinates and places an emergency outgoing call to a pre-programmed number.
Remember no matter what: It is not your fault! You are not to blame if someone else is violent or abusive towards you or disrespects your rights in any way. The abuser is 100% responsible for his actions.

Adapted from A girl’s guide to knowing her rights. YWCA



Social Networking
Social Networking

The Internet, Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube, blogs and other apps have become very popular ways for young people to communicate with one another, share stories, photos, videos and music and keep up with what is going on. However, these applications raise significant privacy issues, and it is important to think about the long-term implications and consequences of what you do now.

  • You should always be very mindful of your privacy whenever you use sites like these. A potential employer could have access to this information. This is information that the web sites’ company will keep forever. Be careful what you choose to share. What you put out there will stay out there forever. Protect your privacy!
  • Make sure you always read the Terms of Use, Code of Conducts and Privacy Policy.
  • Respect the Code of Conduct. Most file sharing sites have codes of conduct that prohibit using their site to conduct illegal activities, intimidate, harass, or stalk someone and to post anything that is threatening, abusive, harassing, obscene, hateful, racist or offensive. You are responsible for anything you post. If you post something that is illegal, you will be the one who can get in trouble.
  • If there is anything you do not understand or that makes you uncomfortable, check with someone you trust who understands technology before deciding to sign on.
  • You should not agree to meet someone in person by yourself when you have only known them on a site or through the Internet. People are not always who they say they are. 
  • If someone is harassing or stalking you on a site, do not respond in any way. The safest thing to do is to stop using the site. You can also contact the company to let them know what is happening, and talk to an adult you trust.
Remember no matter what: It is not your fault! You are not to blame if someone else is violent or abusive towards you or disrespects your rights in any way. The abuser is 100% responsible for his actions.

Adapted from A girl’s guide to knowing her rights. YWCA