Love Is Not Abuse

Couple making a heart with their hands

By Shonte Bell, UWO Health Advocate

Dating violence is using abusive, controlling or aggressive behavior in a romantic, dating or sexual relationship. Learn to identify signs of dating violence in order to prevent it and promote healthy relationships.


  • Keeping you away from friends or family
  • Constantly calling or texting to find out where you are, who you are with and what you are doing
  • Doesn’t allow you to be alone
  • Controlling what you wear or how you look
  • Calling you names
  • Belittling you
  • Using threats or intimidation
  • Denial of abuse and blaming the victim
  • Excluding, isolation or ignoring
  • Shoving, punching, slapping, kicking, hair pulling and strangling
  • Demanding sex when partner doesn’t want it
  • Forced penetration (oral, anal, vaginal) or forced sexual acts
  • Interference with birth control
  • Use of alcohol or drugs to obtain sex from partner

If you become a victim of dating violence you may think it’s your fault or feel anxious, confused, threatened, helpless or even depressed. It’s important to know that it is not your fault and you can find help.

What to do if you or a friend is experiencing dating violence:

  • Talk to someone you trust: a peer, parent, mentor, counselor, nurse, or doctor
  • In case of emergency call 911
  • Tell the person that you are worried.
  • Be a good listener.
  • Offer your friendship and support.
  • Ask how you can help.
  • Encourage your friend to seek help.
  • Educate yourself about dating violence and healthy relationships.
  • Avoid any confrontations with the abuser. This could be dangerous for you and your friend.