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Sabotaging birth control – sinister new face of sexual violence

Washington, Jan 25 (Calcutta Tube) Researchers have unmasked a new yet sinister face of sexual violence against young women and teenage girls.

Male partners force them into pregnancy by damaging condoms and sabotaging birth control efforts, acts linked with physical or sexual violence, known as ‘reproductive coercion,’ says a new study by a University of California-Davis (UC-D) team.

‘What this study shows is that reproductive coercion likely explains why unintended pregnancies are far more common among abused women and teens,’ said Jay Silverman, study co-author and associate professor at the Harvard School of public health.

‘This study also highlights an under-recognised phenomenon where male partners actively attempt to promote pregnancy against the will of their female partners,’ said study leader Elizabeth Miller, assistant professor of paediatrics at the UC-D Children’s Hospital, who also found that risk of unintended pregnancy doubled among such women.

Conducted between August 2008 and March 2009 at five reproductive health clinics in Northern California, the study involved 1,300 English and Spanish-speaking women aged between 16 and 29 years, who responded to a computerised survey.

They were asked about birth-control sabotage, pregnancy coercion and intimate partner violence. Questions included: ‘Has someone you were dating or going out with ever told you not to use any birth control’ or ‘… said he would leave you if you would not get pregnant?’

‘Has someone you were dating or going out with ever taken off the condom while you were having sex so that you would get pregnant?’

Approximately one in five young women said they experienced pregnancy coercion and 15 percent said they experienced birth control sabotage, said an UC-D release.

Over half the respondents or 53 percent said they had experienced physical or sexual violence from an intimate partner. More than a third of the women who reported partner violence, 35 percent, also reported either pregnancy coercion or birth control sabotage.

These findings were published online in the January issue of Contraception.

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