Victims of domestic violence frequently include expectant mothers, particularly those seeking abortions. Counseling these women on breaking the cycle of violence can play a significant role in the outcome of their pregnancies.
Victims also include post-abortive women. Until these women (and their partners) are provided with post-abortion healing, they are likely to remain trapped in cycles of violence.
Domestic Violence is more or less defined as a pattern of intentionally coercive and violent behavior toward an individual by a current or past intimate partner. It can include:
- physical abuse, from shoving to physical attacks
- sexual abuse
- psychological abuse with verbal intimidation (humiliation, harassment, threats)
- progressive social isolation or deprivation
- economic control
It is reported that 3.4 percent of American women-that's almost 2 million-experience domestic violence each year.
One in four women will experience abuse by a male partner at some point during their lives. According to researchers:
- 22-35 percent of women seeking hospital emergency room services,
- 14 percent of women seeking medical urgebt care facility services,
- 25 percent of women attempt suicide, and
- 25 percent of women seeking psychiatric care
Forty to 60 percent of battered women are abused during pregnancy and these women are four times more likely to have miscarriages than non-battered women.
Eighty-seven to 95 percent of women abused during pregnancy report that they had been abused previously.
Pregnancy is high-risk period during which violence may begin or escalate, harming the preborn child as well as the mother.
Women experiencing violence during pregnancy often obtain minimal or late prenatal care. They are at increase risk of having poor weight gain, anemia, infections and preterm labor; of bearing a low birth weight infant; and experiencing postnatal depression.
Domestic violence is also a significant problem among women seeking abortion:
- 27-39 percent have a history abuse,
- 22 percent have a history abuse in the preceding calendar year,
- 8 percent are experiencing abuse in the current pregnancy.
These figures may not accurately reflect the true number of abuse women. After all, abusive males frequently accompany their partners to medical visits because control and domination are central to such relationships.
The number of unwanted or unplanned pregnancies and abortions is higher among women experiencing domestic violence. Women who have been abused report relationship issues as the primary and most frequent reason for seeking an abortion.
In fact, though, all the evidence shows that abortion, when it is done to "save a relationship," almost never works. Most unmarried couples sever ties shortly after an abortion and even married couples are often drive apart by an abortion.
Violence begets violence. Not every case of domestic violence is caused by the trauma of abortion; nor does every abortion lead to domestic violence. However, it's no coincidence that the number of abortions and the number of domestic violence cases have risen together over the last 25 years.
abortion breeds anger, resentment and bitterness toward the partner who was not supportive or ignored the mother's desire to keep the baby. Often there's tremendous pressure to conceal one's true feeling of grief or guilt.
Many women, as well as men, report post-abortion problems such as:
- feeling of grief, helplessness and guilt;
- increased levels of irritability, anger and rage;
- increased tendencies toward risk-taking, self-destructive and suicidal behaviors.
The increased tendency toward violence is exacerbated by the dramatically increased rate of drug and alcohol abuse subsequent to abortion.
Women who become more rage-filled after abortion are more likely to become the victims of further violence. While such women are more likely to initiate the violence, it's the men who cause more physical injury because they have greater physical strength. In that case, a typical reaction includes women resorting to the use of household weapons.
Guilt-ridden, post-abortive women may be more likely to use their partners as means of self-punishment. Those who are suicidal but afraid to deliberately harm themselves are more likely to become involved with violent men and provoke attack upon themselves.