On behalf of Hope 24/7, welcome to our new blog! Our blog will be used to share information about our organization, perspectives on issues impacting our programming and community, and another way to connect with our amazing service users.
This year, Hope 24/7 is focusing on educating the community about reproductive coercion because there is no better way to exercise power and control then over a woman’s body. As a feminist organization, we practice the philosophy: our bodies, our choice.
What is reproductive coercion and why is it important? Reproductive coercion is when a person’s behaviours directly interfere with contraception and pregnancy. It can occur prior to conception, during sex and/or after conception. It includes contraception sabotage, which is hiding/withholding/destroying/removing contraceptives (e.g. throwing away birth control pills, putting a hole in a condom, failing to withdraw in an attempt get pregnant despite the woman’s wishes, etc.). It also includes pregnancy coercion, which is when a man forces his partner to become pregnant or terminate a pregnancy against her wishes. This can include preventing access to abortion services, blocking access to family planning services, forcing an abortion, etc.
Some examples of reproductive coercion:
“We’ve done it before, you can’t say “no” now!”
“You’re not really queer if you don’t like to do this.”
“You only want to wear a condom because you’re sleeping around.”
“A real woman wants kids. That is what women are made for.”
Talking about reproductive coercion is important because homicide is the leading cause of pregnancy-associated mortality, and most of the murders are committed by intimate partners. Even more shocking, 23-49% of females over 15 years old experience sexual and reproductive coercion globally. Women in abusive relationships are: (1) twice as likely to experience reproductive coercion; (2) twice as likely to have an induced abortion; and, (3) three times more likely to have experienced multiple abortions. Twenty-one percent of women are physically assaulted for attempting to get their partner to use contraception. Reproductive coercion impacts the ongoing health and welfare of the victim, resulting in significant physical and mental health issues.
If you have experienced reproductive coercion, or any form of violence, we are here to help. You are not to blame. Whether you want to stay with the abuser, for whatever reason, or not – there is help available.
Stay tuned for more information about reproductive coercion and how Hope 24/7 services can help!