Fact sheet for teens
Gender-based violence: It’s not just physical
What is gender-based violence?
Every day, people across the country face violence because of their gender, gender expression, gender identity or perceived gender. This is called gender-based violence (GBV), but what it is or looks like may be more than what you think or have heard.
When we think about GBV, we may think it is someone physically hurting their romantic partner, which it is. But GBV can also include words, actions or attempts to hurt you or someone physically, emotionally or sexually, no matter the relationship with you, in person or online. While there are many types of GBV, they commonly fall into four categories:
Words or actions to control or scare someone, or to lower their self-respect and self-esteem, including:
- threats, insults, humiliation and intimidation
- controlling, constantly checking in or stalking
- deadnaming, “outing” someone or denying someone’s gender identity
- isolating someone from friends or family
Any use or threat to use physical force against a romantic partner or family member, some examples include:
- shoving, hitting, kicking, or punching
- restraining someone or locking them in
- throwing breaking, or hitting objects
When a person uses money or property to control or exploit someone else, like:
- stealing PINs to bank accounts
- pressuring or blackmailing someone to give money or buy gifts
- preventing someone from going to school by not allowing them to pay tuition or work
- controlling someone’s purchases
Acts of sexual violence can be committed by anyone in any setting, even within a relationship. These can include:
- forced sexual touching or acts, including to someone else
- attempting or threatening to obtain sex without consent
- using pressure or threats to get someone to engage in sexual activity
- unwanted sexual comments or advances
- sharing private sexual images without consent
- removing condoms without consent
Who is affected by gender-based violence?
Women, girls, transgender, and gender diverse people are most affected by GBV. Within these groups, some who are at higher risk of experiencing GBV include:
- Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people
- Black women
- newcomer women to Canada
- lesbian, gay, bisexual and people of other sexual orientations than heterosexual
- women living in Northern, rural, or remote communities
- women with disabilities
How does gender-based violence affect me?
Whether you’ve directly experienced GBV or not, it has likely had an impact on your life. GBV can reduce people’s quality of life, change the way we interact with each other, make studying and attending school difficult, increase the risks of illnesses, and create cycles of violence and abuse in families, schools and communities. Gender-based violence holds everyone back.
What can I do to get help?
If you or someone you know is experiencing gender-based violence, talk to a safe adult. Because gender-based violence is never “just one time” or “just words”. It’s never “just” anything — it’s violence.
Gender-based violence is never just.
Get support: KidsHelpPhone.ca
Learn more: Canada.ca/ItsNotJust
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