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September 24

Hiding birth control from boyfriends

Filed under: News,Psychology — posted by Breakup Girl @ 10:51 am

We know that getting teens to use birth control is about more than providing guidance counselors, or hockey moms, with fishbowls full of condoms. We know that there are a great deal of complicating factors, such as the fact that some teen girls feel they want to get pregnant. But what few people may realize is this: some teen boys not only want their girlfriends to get pregnant but, in some cases, are doing what they can to force them to.

Here’s part of a recent press release from the Family Violence Prevention Fund:

“Last week, one of the nation’s top violence prevention organizations launched an unprecedented new initiative to raise awareness about a kind of abuse that is rarely discussed, but has severe consequences. The Family Violence Prevention Fund’s (FVPF) kNOw More initiative examines the reproductive health consequences of sexual coercion and violence, which include unintended pregnancy, HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections, miscarriage, infertility, coerced abortion, and a range of other serious health issues. kNOw More is designed to start a dialogue about the birth control sabotage and reproductive coercion that many teens and young women face, and help draw the link to the reproductive health problems it causes. /snip/

“The intersection of sexual violence and reproductive health is largely unexplored,” FVPF President Esta Soler said. “With this initiative, we are overcoming stigma and raising awareness about the many women who, while dating or in relationships are forced into choices not their own through rape, sexual coercion or because partners prevent them from using protection. These women are at risk for sexually transmitted infection, unintended pregnancy, HIV, and more. Some suffer miscarriages when they want to carry pregnancies to term. Others become mothers before they are ready. Still others lose their fertility. We are creating a space for women to share stories, and raising awareness among those who may be at risk as well as their friends, policy makers and others.”

The kNOw More Web site features stories from women who have experienced abuse, including reproductive coercion, in many forms [Warning: Not light reading. — BG]:

Jessica says: “I became pregnant less than four months into dating him. He refused to give me funds to purchase birth control, and always refused to use condoms after we became exclusive… I had minimal options. When we decided to continue the pregnancy and marry, the overt abuse started within days of our wedding; it continued throughout the marriage. He was verbally, emotionally, financially, sexually, and physically abusive to me. He would videotape me during vulnerable moments, after abusing me verbally to the point where I was in hysterics, or try to video tape us against my wishes while having sex. He would always refuse my attempts at birth control.”

Carollee started dating a 32-year-old man when she was 19. Things went well at first and they began to sleep together. She was on birth control pills; however, she noticed that whole rows of pills would disappear. When Carollee called her boyfriend on the disappearing birth control, he responded that he “knew” she wanted to have his child. Carollee also noticed that he was sabotaging the condoms.

Kylie writes: “When I first met my ex, he never wanted to use condoms. He did want me to use the ‘morning-after pill,’ I’ll admit. I was quite young and didn’t know how to stand up for myself, so I became pregnant after coerced sex. For the next four years, I stayed with my ex for the sake of the baby, suffering the most horrific kinds of abuse — physical and emotional. His ‘reason’ for abusing me? Because I ‘trapped’ him through pregnancy. Although the only thing I’d been doing since the pregnancy was begging him to let me leave, he threatened to kill me, the baby, and my entire family if I ever attempted it.”

To learn more — and to do more to stop sexual violence and coercion — visit www.knowmoresaymore.org.

Also see BG’s primer on dating violence here.


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