Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Research On Link Between Pregnancy Coercion And Relationship Abuse

From Science Daily:

Young women and teenage girls often face efforts by male partners to sabotage birth control or coerce pregnancy -- including damaging condoms and destroying contraceptives -- and these efforts, defined as "reproductive coercion," frequently are associated with physical or sexual violence, a study by a team of researchers led by UC Davis has found.

Published online in the January issue of the journal Contraception, the study, "Pregnancy Coercion, Intimate Partner Violence and Unintended Pregnancy," also found that among women who experienced both reproductive coercion and partner violence, the risk of unintended pregnancy doubled. The study is the first quantitative examination of the relationship between intimate partner violence, reproductive coercion and unintended pregnancy, the authors say. [...]

Approximately one in five young women [age 16-29] said they experienced pregnancy coercion and 15 percent said they experienced birth control sabotage. Over half the respondents -- 53 percent -- said they had experienced physical or sexual violence from an intimate partner. More than a third of the women who reported partner violence -- 35 percent -- also reported either pregnancy coercion or birth control sabotage.
Beyond the linkage between abuse and birth control sabotage, the findings highlight how pervasive intimate partner violence is in the lives of girls and young women who are pregnant.

This research is important and contradicts the narrative that too many abusive men and others use which falsely claims that men are the only victims of contraceptive sabotage. Some people excuse intimate partner violence against a pregnant partner as a boy or man's frustration over the unwanted pregnancy, but this research contradicts that view of abuse.

This multi-faceted abusive behavior fits the understanding of relationship abuse being about the abuser's desire for power and control rather than abuse being an expression of a person who has no control.

Many teen pregnancy prevention efforts view girls as the problem often to the point that the source of the sperm is made invisible. People who clearly understand biology will say, "She got herself pregnant." yet this research shows why programs that boil down to, "Don't get pregnant," miss the mark at preventing pregnancy and may help abusers by ignoring all of their actions, including their violent actions.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 9:46 AM   4 comments links to this post


At January 26, 2010 10:35 AM, Anonymous gidget commando said...

My roommate and I saw a news report about a documentary countering the "pregnancy pact" Lifetime TV movie about the Gloucester (Mass.) pregnancy spike a few years ago. After all was said and done, I turned to her and said, "You know what's missing from that story?" She shook her head.

My response: "Did you hear anybody mention the guys who got them pregnant? Where are they? Who are they?" It was as though the girls miraculously got themselves pregnant through osmosis or something. *seethes*

MS Magazine had an article at least a decade ago, a not-so-tongue-in-cheek piece proposing strict controls on MALE fertility. It satirized the way people talk about female bodies and fertility, but I wonder how much unwanted pregnancy (especially among girls/younger women) is about uncontrolled and aggressive sperm and sperm-donors.

At January 26, 2010 11:06 AM, Blogger Marcella Chester said...

I'm not surprised that the news report never mentioned boys or men.

I happened to have The View on today and they were talking about teen pregnancy rates and while they debated birth control, hormones, abstinence and girls who should say no, none of the women mentioned the role of sexual and relationship violence or birth control sabotage in teen pregnancy rates. There was also no mention even by pro-abstinence panelists that boys should say no or be expected to prevent pregnancy when they say yes.

At January 26, 2010 5:31 PM, OpenID lefemmeferal said...

Hi, thanks for posting this, I cross posed it to my blog. I'm kind of new so I wasn't sure how to backlink except to post a link to the front blog page.

I agree with the above commenters that we almost NEVER hear about men in these instances of unplanned pregnancy. When I was growing up, I often heard the phrase "she went and got herself pregnant" to describe a young woman who got pregnant. As if the dude who helped out had NO responsibility, whatsoever.

We always hear of women of trying to "trap" men with pregnancy, even after the men admitting that they had unprotected sex and expected the woman to shoulder the responsibility of reproduction.

The disparity IS clear. Men absolutely need to take responsibility for their part, and people SHOULD be asking "well where's the father" the next time they see movies, news stories, and such about young mothers and the tragedies that sometimes occur with unwanted pregnancy.

At January 27, 2010 4:50 PM, Blogger JENNIFER DREW said...

Totally agree with all the above comments because always the male's role in impregnation is missing. Clearly none of these unintentional pregnancies occurred without direct male participation, but the media obviously believes and promotes the myth of conception being the woman's sole responsibility.

However, when a woman and man freely decide to have a child suddenly the foetus becomes the 'man's child' and the woman is defined as 'having the man's child!' Wrong - since no woman has a man's child rather both sexes are involved and it is always the woman who gives birth to her child. The man is the father of a child, since he does not conceive or 'give' his child to a woman.

But our patriarchal system was never logical but instead consistently ignores male rsponsibility when such invisibility deflects attention away from male accountability and rsponsibility. Women are never accorded this pseudo privilege but are always subject to criticism and attempted male control, since women are not autonomous human beings but are viewed in relation to men.

male control.


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