Intimate partner violence (also called abuse) is a form of gender-based violence.

Intimate partner violence happens whenever the dynamic of power and control is present.

Intimate partner violence (IPV) occurs between two people in a close relationship. Intimate partner violence happens in all kinds of relationships: to women by men, to individuals in same-sex relationships and to male victims within heterosexual relationships.

The term “intimate partner” includes current and former spouses and dating partners. IPV exists along a continuum from a single episode of violence to ongoing battering.

IPV includes four types of behavior:

  • Physical violence is when a person hurts or tries to hurt a partner by hitting, kicking, or using another type of physical force.
  • Sexual violence is coercing and/or forcing a partner to take part in a sex act when the partner does not consent.
  • Criminal harassment (stalking) is a pattern of repeated, unwanted attention and contact by a partner that causes fear or concern for one’s own safety or the safety of someone close to the victim.
  • Psychological aggression is mental or emotional abuse through the use of verbal and non-verbal communication with the intent to harm another person mentally or emotionally and/or exert control over another person.

If you are being abused:

  • contact SHARE at 540-7427 or for information, resources and support
  • Staff in Student Affairs (Wellness Centre, SHARE Team) can provide emotional support or help you in practical ways like reassigning residence rooms and more or 364-2163
  • Go to a hospital or your doctor as soon as possible after being physically injured or sexually assaulted. Even if the assault is not recent, it may be important to go for a checkup. The Mount Allison Wellness Centre offers physical examinations, testing, and treatment by appointment: or 364-2163
  • For off-campus support you can contact the Outreach Worker from CAAR

    Family Violence & Sexual Assault Outreach Intervener — Coalition Against Abuse in Relationships Inc.
    Phone: (Cell): (506) 855-7222 / (Office): (506) 830-0150 Fax : (506) 830-0153 

  • For emergency support, shelter and/or information you can contact local shelters:  

Mount Allison University’s Break Free Campaign highlights emotional abuse as a precursor to other forms of abuse among dating partners. The goal is to stop IPV before it begins.

The goals of Break Free are to work with SHARE in Student Affairs to stop dating violence before it begins by:

  • teaching students skills for dating and violence prevention
  • making students aware of the warning signs of abuse through initiatives like posting checklists in school washrooms
  • providing opportunities for students to break the silence and tell their stories through testimonials, participation in staff and community education initiatives, and social media
  • providing support groups where students with similar experiences can learn, share and heal together


This checklist is a general guide to some of what you might see in an abusive situation:


  • Does your partner ridicule or insult people like you?
  • Is your partner jealous of your friends, family, or even pets?
  • Does your partner monitor your phone, e-mail, social media? Ask for your passwords?
  • Does your partner become angry or upset, dampening your enthusiasm, just before, or during a social event you’ve looked forward to?
  • Do you discourage people from texting or messaging when you are with your partner because your partner resents sharing your time?
  • Do you have fewer contacts and activities with friends and family than before you began the relationship?
  • Do you feel uneasy about being with your partner and your friends at the same time?
  • Do you feel nervous or frightened of what your partner will say or do if you are even a few minutes late from school, gym, shopping, or spending time with friends?


  • Do you feel like your partner has to approve what you wear?
  • Do you feel your partner has to approve your decisions and opinions?
  • Does your partner’s presence feel overpowering?
  • Do you choose your words carefully, or avoid speaking, for fear of upsetting or angering your partner?
  • Do you time your activities carefully to avoid their being noticed by your partner?
  • Do you feel like you are walking on eggshells?


  • Does your partner claim to be more intelligent, more attractive, stronger or better than other people?
  • Does your partner claim to be more knowledgeable about the ways of the world than you are?
  • Does your partner claim to have friends, a team or contacts who keep an eye on you and report your activities when you are not with your partner?
  • Does your partner claim to know the right way to do things and tell you that you do not know how to do things right


IPV can affect health in many ways. The longer the violence goes on, the more serious the effects.

Many victims suffer physical injuries. Some are minor like cuts, scratches, bruises, and welts. Others are more serious and require medical attention to avoid long term effects or disability.

Not all injuries are physical. IPV can also cause emotional harm. Victims may have trauma symptoms. This includes flashbacks, panic attacks, and trouble sleeping. Victims often have low self-esteem. They may have a hard time trusting others and being in relationships. The anger and stress that victims feel may lead to eating disorders and depression. Some victims even think about or commit suicide.

IPV is also linked to negative health outcomes, such as chronic pain, difficulty sleeping, activity limitations, and poor physical and mental health.

IPV is also linked to harmful health behaviors. Victims may try to cope with their trauma in unhealthy ways. This includes smoking, drinking, taking drugs, or having risky sex.

Warning signs of an abuser:

  • Jealousy
  • Quick and deep involvement
  • Possessiveness
  • Unrealistic expectations
  • Isolation
  • Blame-shifting for problems
  • Blame-shifting for feelings
  • Coercion and/or force in sex
  • Rigid gender roles, negative attitude towards women
  • Sudden mood shifts
  • Verbal/emotional abuse
  • Substance (alcohol or drug) abuse
  • Threatening violence
  • Breaking or striking objects
  • ANY physical force (push, grab, shove, looming over) during an argument


It is very hard to be aware that a friend is being abused. It is natural to want to help. It can also be hard to help because it is hard to know what to say or what to do.

S.H.A.R.E. can provide support to friends of people who are, or who may be, experiencing abuse. Friends need support and advice too! Abuse is very difficult for everyone

You can help your friend by providing this quick definition of abuse:

Relationship abuse is a pattern of abusive and coercive behaviors used to maintain power and control over an intimate partner. Abuse can be emotional, financial, sexual or physical and can include threats, isolation, and intimidation. Abuse tends to escalate over time. When someone uses abuse and violence against a partner, it is always part of a larger pattern of control.

You can print an Abuse Checklist (like the one above) and give your friend. Or you can leave it somewhere your friend will see it.

What else you CAN do:

  • Give assurance that you believe your friend.
  • Listen and let your friend share feelings.
  • Do not judge or give advice. Talk about available options and resources. SHARE can help and it’s completely confidential. No one will force your friend to do anything. SHARE means there is someone can just listen. SHARE can provide other resources as well.
  • Physical safety is the first priority. If you believe your friend is in danger, voice that concern. Call the police at 911. Suggest developing a safety plan. Tell your friend to keep numbers of trusted friends like you in a safe, discrete place. Give your friend the SHARE number and assure your friend it is confidential.
  • Respect your friend’s right to confidentiality.
  • Say that you care and want to help.
  • If your friend is telling you these things — including the intimate things — that are happening, your friend obviously trusts you.That is great.It means your friend has someone to go to.That is very important, especially if or when your friend reaches the point of wanting to do something to address the abusive behavior.
  • Don’t be upset if your friend doesn’t react the way you think you would. People who are being controlled by their partner’s behavior must consider many factors before coming to a conclusion about how to access safety. Let your friend make their own decisions and provide support throughout the process.
  • Give clear messages, including:
    • Your actions do not cause the abuse.
    • You are not to blame for your partner’s behavior.
    • You cannot change your partner’s behavior.
    • Apologies and promises are a form of manipulation.
    • You are not alone.
    • Abuse is not loss of control; it is a means of control.
  • It is helpful to provide support to survivors. However, there are some forms of advice that are not useful and even dangerous for them to hear:
    • Don’t tell them what to do, when to leave or when not to leave.     
    • Don’t tell them to go back to the situation and try a little harder.
    • Don’t rescue them by trying to find quick solutions.
    • Don’t suggest you try to talk to the abusive partner to straighten things out.
    • Don’t place yourself in danger by confronting the abuser.


Support Guide for Partners

Help for the New Partner of a Survivor