Fact sheet for young adults
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 often think only about physical violence against an intimate partner. But GBV can include words, actions or attempts to harm another person 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 frighten someone, or to lower their self-respect and self-esteem, whether they are said or carried out calmly or not, including:
- threats, controlling behaviour, intimidation, and insults
- putting someone down or humiliation
- deadnaming, “outing” someone or denying someone’s gender identity
- isolating someone from friends and family
Any use or threat to use physical force against someone else, including but not limited to:
- shoving, hitting, kicking, or punching
- restraining someone or locking them in
- throwing, breaking or hitting objects
When a person uses money, assets, or property to control or exploit someone else, like:
- controlling assets like cars or savings, including access to their financial account
- ruining a partner’s credit history
- interfering with a partner’s job or school by not allowing them to pay tuition
- cutting a partner off financially
Acts of sexual violence can be committed by anyone in any setting, regardless of their relationship to the survivor. 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 it or not, GBV has likely had an impact on your life. GBV has long-lasting effects that span generations, creating cycles of abuse and violence among families and communities. Gender-based violence holds everyone back.
What can I do to stop gender-based violence?
For GBV to end, we need to recognize and learn what violence can look like. We need to listen to survivors and not dismiss acts of GBV as “just one time” or “just words”. We need to work together, because gender-based violence is 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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