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Community Health: Education, Prevention and Inspiration

Empowering people to make healthy, respectful and responsible choices.

Reproductive and Sexual Coercion

Posted by Tammi A. Tannura -

Reproductive coercion is the manipulation of a partner's sexual decisions related to contraception and pregnancy. There are three forms of reproductive coercion: birth control sabotage, pregnancy coercion and pregnancy pressure.

 

In birth control sabotage, the perpetrator may interfere with the female partner's birth control methods for the purposes of causing a pregnancy. Examples of birth control sabotage may include withholding birth control pills, removing female contraceptive methods such as the vaginal hormonal ring or the hormonal patch, not using a condom, poking holes in a condom, or not withdrawing the penis before ejaculation when it was agreed upon to do so.

 

Pregnancy coercion involves threats or violent acts when a female partner does not comply with her partner's wishes to terminate or continue a pregnancy. Injuring a female partner in such a way as to cause a miscarriage is an example of pregnancy coercion. Pregnancy pressure, on the other hand, is a type of reproductive coercion in which the female partner is pressured to become pregnant when she does not want to.

 

Lastly, sexual coercion is the use of psychological pressure or threats to convince a partner to have intercourse or engage in other sexual activities when they don't want to. Sexual coercion may also include intentionally exposing a partner to a sexually transmitted infection.

 

In one nationally representative sample, approximately 1 in 4 women reported being coerced into sex at some point in her lifetime. Of those women, 1/3 reported being sexually coerced when they were 15 years of age or younger.

 

If you or someone know needs help, please contact the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN) at 1-800-656-HOPE or check out their website at http://www.rainn.org/

 

Sources:

Reproductive and sexual coercion. Committee Opinion No. 554. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Obstet Gynecol 2013;121;411-5

Intimate partner violence and reproductive coercion. Fact Sheet. Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Inc. 2012.



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