We have all heard stories of emotional and physical abusel, but there is another type of abuse that is on the rise that is rarely reported on. Reproductive coercion is when a man verbally or physically threatens the woman he is with if she tries using birth control during sex. The man may also purposely damage condoms or other forms of birth control in an attempt to impregnate a partner.
According to a report from Time magazine, reproductive coercion is on the rise and more common than most people think. This type of abuse usually occurs in relationships that have already been emotionally abusive. Professor and researcher on the issue, Elizabeth Miller, says “It’s another way a male partner tries to control a female partner. Women say their partner tells them he wants to leave a legacy or have them in his life forever.” It is thought that this type of abuse may be more common now because women depend less and less on men to support them, making abusive men feel more insecure.
Through Miller’s research and a recent study she conducted, it seems there could be a fairly easy way to help women dealing with reproductive coercion. Miller conducted her study at four family planning clinics with about 900 women. In two of the clinics women were simply asked whether their partner had ever tried to force them to get pregnant. If a woman answered yes to this question she was offered advice on how to use a more fail safe birth control method like IUDs and Depo-Provera shots.
The women who were asked about this type of abuse in the family planning clinics saw a 70 percent drop in the rate of subsequent pregnancies involving reproductive coercion. Just being asked the question seemed enough for a lot of the women to wake up and take a stand. In the clinics where women were asked these questions, 60 percent of them left their relationships afterward because “it felt unsafe.”
What do you think about the latest research concerning reproductive coercion?
Do you think it should be mandatory that clinics ask about a patient’s history with this form of abuse?