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Little Pricks: Reproductive Coercion on the Rise

September 01, 2013 2 min read

It's called 'reproductive coercion' and sadly, it is not that uncommon. A study of 641 OB-GYN patients discovered that a disturbing 16% of the participants had been with partners who tampered with their birth control or pricked holes in condoms.

The research was conducted by Brown University. Doctors and experts believe men resort to these measures in order to exercise control.

At first, researchers thought reproductive coercion was limited to low income women who were subjects of domestic violence, and while many of the victims of this particular form of control are in fact from this socio-economic group, lead researcher Dr Lindsay Clark says the issue extends to a much larger scope. Dr Clark commented, 'What is striking is that reproductive coercion affected women of all socioeconomic levels and educational backgrounds,' she said, '[It] doesn’t just affect poor and uneducated women.'

However, not all men resort to these tactics out of pure malevolence. Dr Elizabeth Miller, an assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of California, suggests that, “Some have an intense desire for a nuclear family, and many who had experiences of a dysfunctional family home want something better.”

Still, it’s sick. Dr Miller goes on to say that some other young men, “want to leave a legacy . . .Gang-affiliated young men want the status that comes with having babies from multiple women.”

Whatever the motivation, the study's results show the number of incidence of reproductive coercion are increasing. In the last 3 years, the reported incidence has increased almost 12%.

Of course, reproductive coercion is a 2-way street. Women are quite capable of doing it to men as well, and the reasons behind the act are not any more excusable.




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