Just when I think we have heard of every type of abuse against women another type is discovered: reproductive abuse.
Simply put, reproductive abuse is forcing a partner to get pregnant when she does not want to. This topic was covered in the August issue of Time Magazine.
Recent research has shown this type of abuse occurs in the context of an already violent abusive relationship. Abusive men use some of the following means to intimidate and impregnate their partners:
1. Partners may verbally or physically threaten women if they use birth control or seek abortions,
2. The men may throw away or damage birth control pills, etc,
3. They may remove condoms during sex.
4. They may refuse to use condoms and do so in ways that are threatening.
These types of intimidation occur in women whose ages range from 18 to 40 years of age. For the men who are abusive in this way, it is controlling exerting control over their partner that drives them.
Some of the things women can do to prevent these men from tampering with their birth control are: using IUD's, taking birth control shots that last a long time and leaving the relationship.
Clinics across the country are beginning to ask women questions that help identify these victims. They then provide counseling that helps them gain control of the situation. Thus far, the results of this counseling are excellent.
The most effective way for a woman to put a stop to being treated this way is for them to end the relationship. As in so many other situations of abuse, these females often find it difficult to take this type of action. Often, they feel financially dependent on the abusive male, have deep psychological problems that keep them connected to the abuse or feel emotionally dependent.
If you are in this type of relationship, seek help now. The most difficult part of dealing with this is breaking away from the abuse and that is where psychotherapy comes in.
Have you suffered from this type of abuse? Your comments and questions are strongly encouraged. What are your suggestions for how a woman can deal with this?
Allan N. Schwartz, PhD