Dating violence

Dating violence is a term that can be used to describe any unwanted sexual activity through the use of force or threat of force. It is a form of sexual assault and is against the law.

Any sexual activity that is forced upon you without your consent is sexual assault, but sometimes young people who have experienced aggressive behaviours, intimidation, violence, sexual assault or sexual harassment while on a date are confused about whether or not this is considered sexual assault. Just because you agreed to go out with them and they paid for dinner or because you kissed them and they wanted to continue doesn’t mean they can force you to do something you don’t want to do.

Talking about dating violence and sexual assault, especially if you’ve been a victim, can be difficult, embarrassing and painful. If you don’t feel that you can talk to your parents try telling another trusted adult or talk to one of Kids Help Phone’s counsellors at 1-800-668-6868.

Things you should know about dating violence:

  • You don’t owe a person anything – even if they paid for the date or you kissed them and they wanted to continue, they can’t force you to do something you don’t want to do.
  • It’s not true that if you like/love a person you have to sleep with them – if they respect and like you, they will listen to you and respect your decisions.

What you can do:

  • If you have been the victim of dating violence, it’s important to get support and medical assistance after you have been assaulted.
  • Being sexually assaulted is a terrifying and traumatic experience. It can be helpful to share your feelings with someone you trust and feel safe with, like a parent, relative or friend.
  • In many communities, there are crisis or sexual assault help lines that are listed with directory assistance or in the front of the phone book. You can speak to a counsellor about sexual assault anonymously through these help lines.
  • If there are no crisis lines in your community, you may want to call your doctor and see if they can give you a referral for counselling.
  • You can always call Kids Help Phone and talk to one of our professional counsellors, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Last reviewed: March 2014 by the Kids Help Phone Counselling Team
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