Violence and control can take many forms and can lead to unwanted and mistimed pregnancies, and unwanted abortions as well. While unplanned pregnancy and abortion are common they are even more common for women who experience violence and control.
Sometimes experiences of violence and control can make it hard for women to feel safe about talking to their sexual partner about contraception or asking them to use a condom.
- Are you afraid to talk to your sexual partner about contraception?
- Does he/your sexual partner support you using birth control?
Some types of contraception needed to be talked about or agreed upon each time you have sex, like condoms, diagrams, withdrawal and fertility awareness methods (not having unprotected penis-in-vagina sex when you are fertile). If you are worried or afraid to talk to your sexual partner about contraception then there may be other types of contraception that would help you take control of your body without having to talk to your sexual partner about it each time sex might happen.
All women should have the right to decide if and when they become pregnant. You could choose a contraceptive that gives you control over your own body, and reduce your risk of unwanted or mistimed pregnancies. Types of contraception that give you more control include implants, injections and IUDs. You can read about your contraceptive options over on this page.
Some violent and controlling people see getting a woman pregnant and making her have child as a way of keeping them under control. This is called reproductive coercion and is a form of domestic violence. They may put pressure on a woman to become pregnant when she does not want to be or does not feel right about it. They may mess with her contraception in order to get her pregnant and they may try to stop her from having an abortion when she wants one, to pressure her to have one when she doesn't want to.
- Do you feel okay talking to your partner about if or when you might want to get pregnant?
- Has he/anyone ever hurt you, or threatened you or made you feel bad because you didn’t agree to get pregnant?
- Has your sexual partner tried to mess with your birth control, for example has he thrown away or hidden your contraceptive pills or thrown away or damaged a contraceptive device, such as condoms or your diaphragm?
- Have you ever felt you needed to hide contraception from your sexual partner so he wouldn’t get you pregnant?
- Has anyone ever made you feel afraid or threatened you if you didn't do what they wanted you to with a pregnancy - either to end it or to continue it against your will?
Every woman should have the right to decide if and when she becomes pregnant. You may be able to choose a type of contraceptive you feel safe with, that others will not know you are using and cannot mess with. Explore your options here.
If you're pregnant now and are trying to make a decision about whether to end or to continue that pregnancy, you might find it useful to visit our Making a decision page, which includes some questions around violence and control. If you're in Queensland, you can also get in touch with us to talk over your options with a qualified counsellor.
There's a brochure here about reproductive coercion that you might also like to print out for yourself or for someone else, if you're concerned about the presence of reproductive coercion.