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.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.
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.
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.