Abuse During Pregnancy – A Serious Issue
Abuse during pregnancy is not an easy topic to consider.
In a public health survey of Grey Bruce residents in 2003, only 10% of people believed that pregnancy increased the risk of a woman being abused by her partner. For most people, it is unthinkable. We know, nonetheless, that 40% of the women who experience abuse will experience their first episode during pregnancy (StatsCan, 1993). For those already in abusive relationships, the abuse tends to increase in frequency and severity during the course of the pregnancy.
There are many physical and emotional changes that occur during pregnancy and sometimes it can put stress on an intimate relationship. These changes involve normal adjustments that many couples make. Abuse is different. Abuse is a crime. Abuse is not about stress or alcohol abuse or poverty or addiction. It is an attempt to exert power and control over a woman.
Abuse often begins as emotional abuse – put downs, humiliation in front of others, threats, isolation and attempts to control where a woman goes and what she does. Physical abuse may include hitting, slapping, biting or shoving, among other things. It may involve the destruction of property and sometimes the refusal to allow a woman access to health care. All forms of abuse are harmful.