The Hotline recently conducted a survey of callers to learn about the extent of abuse called “reproductive coercion.” Reproductive coercion is defined as threats or acts of violence against a partner’s reproductive health or reproductive decision-making.
The survey found that 25% of the 3,169 callers who agreed to participate in the survey reported that they had experienced this form of domestic and dating violence. Callers reported that their partners would not allow them to use birth control or sabotaged their birth control method by poking holes in the condoms or flushing pills down the toilet. Some callers even reported having to hide their birth control. This type of sabotage leads to unintended pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, and can be used as a trap to control their partner. These abuse patterns were apparent in callers’ comments, such as:
- “I better be pregnant, or I’m in trouble with him.”
- “He refuses to use a condom. I’ve bought them and he throws them out.”
- “He has tried to talk me into having a child. He told me he wanted to keep me from leaving him.”
- “He admitted to me and the psychologist that he intentionally got me pregnant to trap me.”
- “My sister was 14 years old when she became involved with this abusive guy, and when she was 15 his mother wanted grandkids so he coerced her into getting pregnant.”
The survey questions and response rates were as follows:
- Has your partner or ex-partner ever told you not to use any birth control (like the pill, shot, ring, etc.)? – Of the 3169 callers who responded, 25% said yes.
- Has your partner or ex-partner ever tried to force or pressure you to become pregnant? – Of the 3166 callers who answered this question, 25% said yes.
- Has your partner or ex-partner ever taken off the condom during sex so that you would become pregnant? – Of the 3103 callers who responded, 16% said yes.
- Has your partner or ex-partner ever made you have sex without a condom so that you would become pregnant? – Of the 3130 callers who responded, 24% said yes.
As a result of this study, The Hotline is focusing on training advocates on how to identify and support callers who experience reproductive coercion.
Read our press release to find out more about the study.