You hear the story or some version of it often enough: a woman tries to get pregnant to control their partner. But new studies show that, more often, it is men who seek to control their girlfriends through reproductive coercion. Men hide or flush pills, poke holes in condoms, or simply refuse to use birth control.
In a recent article in The Nation, Lynn Harris looks at recent studies revealing the prevalence of reproductive coercion. Of 1,300 women aged 16-29 who visited Northern California reproductive health clinics, 53% of those who were sexually active reported physical or sexual violence. One in five were victims of pregnancy coercion; fifteen percent endured "birth control sabotage."
"Teen dating violence" — of which reproductive coercion is a significant aspect — "is an urgent, silent epidemic." According to Break the Cycle (a nonprofit that advocates for healthy young relationships through education, legal and crisis help, and policy advocacy), though one in three teens are involved in a relationship with abuse, sadly, over two-thirds never reveal the abuse to anyone.
Harris stresses that with the right education (for both teens and doctors) and resources, reproductive coercion be significantly reduced. And while reproductive coercion includes forced abortion as well as pregnancy, birth control sabotage and coerced pregnancy is certainly a contributing factor to rising teen pregnancy rates.Doctors should be trained to recognize signs of an abusive relationship; young people need to be taught what constitutes a healthy relationship and how to exit a bad relationship. Harris reports that new and more innovative programs are cropping up to fight relationship abuse; with $25 million in federal funds earmarked for such programs, we could see a boost in aid and awareness.
lunes, 28 de junio de 2010
Otro punto para la agenda
nota de Change.org