Healthy relationships are not abusive

Learn to identify abusive behaviour in relationships


Most acts of sexual violence involve people who know each other, including people in any type of relationship. Research shows that in 80% of reported sexual assault cases, the assailant is a friend or family member.[See Stats Canada]

What is a Healthy Relationship?

  • You make decisions together[Adapted from Ontario Coalition of Rape Crisis Centres: Healthy Relationships resource page]
  • It’s ok to disagree with each other
  • You cooperate with each other, there is give and take
  • You have other friendships, family and activities in your life
  • You feel comfortable and safe with your partner
  • It’s mutual - you respect your partner and your partner respects you
  • Communication is open and honest
  • Intimacy is pleasant for both of you
  • There is NO abuse, violence or harassment
  • There is clear consent for any and all sexual activity


In some relationships, a partner may sexually abuse or harass their partner.  The partner being hurt might minimize it as an isolated event or deny that it happened because of a desire to feel loved or to avoid the stigma of being a victim.

Canadian Women's Foundation

Is it abusive? Here are some examples:

  • Telling you that you are fat
  • Expecting you to have sex just because he/she wants to
  • Making you pay for everything even though she/he has a job
  • Being forced to touch when you don’t want to
  • Yelling at you
  • Demanding you take a naked picture of yourself and send it
  • Not letting you go to your best friend’s party
  • Someone checking your texts on your phone
  • Giving you the silent treatment
  • Making you feel guilty for not wanting sex

All of these are forms of abusive controlling behaviour. Abuse can be physical, sexual, emotional or financial. All forms of abuse cause harm and damage relationships. In every relationship you should be treated with respect. You have a right to feel safe.


Talk to someone you trust if these problems happen in your relationship. You can also find help at:

Further Reading & Resources