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Relationships and Violence

Wednesday, November 1, 2017


You might not think that violence affects your relationship but the reality is 15 to 24 year-olds are the group most at risk of violence from current or former partners.

November 25th is White Ribbon Day, an international day to end violence against women.

Relationship abuse is not something that happens only once. It’s a cycle and it usually gets worse if nothing is done to stop it. If you are being abused – it is not your fault. Abusers are responsible for their own behaviour.


Relationship abuse is a pattern of behaviour used to keep power and control over someone else. The abusive behaviour can be emotional, physical or sexual.


Some relationships are healthy and some are unhealthy. Someone who loves you helps you feel good about yourself. Someone who controls you, who tells you what to do or how to behave, isn’t helping you feel good about yourself.

Why not give your relationships a health check by reading more about healthy and unhealthy relationships?


Intimacy develops with time. You need to know when and if you are ready to invite someone to be close to you, rather than just letting it happen. You need to decide if it is really right for you.

Ask yourself these three questions. They can be a good way of helping you make safe choices.

  1. Do you feel safe? Is this a safe place, a safe person? Is there any chance you could be taken advantage of or could you be hurt? 
  2. Is this your decision? Is there peer pressure? Is there pressure to be in a relationship? Is this person pressuring you to do something you don’t want to do. 
  3. Do their actions show that they care about you? Does this person make you feel safe and cared for? Physically, do you have tingly and excited feelings or sick and yucky feelings? Emotionally, are you comfortable with your feelings about the person AND the situation? Socially, are you being true to your values and beliefs (personal, family, religious, cultural)? Does this person treat you with respect? 


Good relationships are about sharing decisions, respect and feelings. Both people should feel good about themselves and each other.

In a relationship, both people should feel loved, safe, protected, respected, attractive, wanted and listened to.

It’s important for both people to maintain their own friends, have freedom to do their own things, argue in a safe way (no violence or threatening behaviour), talk to each other, and take the relationship at a pace that feels safe and comfortable, including sexually.

If you choose to, you should feel safe to end a relationship without fear of being hurt, either physically or emotionally.


In New Zealand, 84% of violent acts against women are committed by men. We also know that 90% of sexual violence is committed by someone the person already knows.

Intimate partner violence can happen in any relationship, whether you are straight, gay, bi, queer or if you are trans, gender diverse or cisgender (someone whose sex and gender match). Violence can take many different forms, but everyone’s experience should be taken seriously.


We can all help stop possible abuse, violence and threats to other people. An ethical bystander is someone who chooses to step in and help a situation in a positive manner, while also making sure they are safe.

When a man steps in to stop another man being abusive, he sends a strong signal that violence will not be tolerated. Masculinity does not have to mean having power and control over another person.


  • If you are in immediate danger, call the police on 111
  • Youthline: 0800 37 6633 (free 24-hour line) or free text 234
  • Women’s Refuge: 0800 REFUGE or 0800 733 843 (free 24-hour line)
  • Shine: 0508 744 633 (9am-11pm, 7 days a week)
  • You can talk to a school counsellor or someone you trust
  • White Ribbon

Family Planning has clinics located throughout New Zealand. Use the clinic finder to find your nearest clinic.

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