With October being Domestic Violence Awareness Month, it is only fitting that we look at some of the issues at hand. One disturbing fact is the high rate of abuse during pregnancy.
Pregnancy is a supposed to be a joyful time—a time of peace and safety. A woman’s preoccupations turn to her unborn child, toward the next generation. She hopes to raise a healthy child.
For many women, pregnancy marks the beginning of a turbulent and violent time. It’s estimated 1 in 6 women will be abused during pregnancy. A large percentage of abused women reported that the abuse started at the onset of their pregnancy. Even more alarming—as the murders of Liana White and Laci Peterson suggest—homicide during pregnancy now surpasses automobile accidents and falls as the leading cause of death.
Pregnant women have a higher risk of experiencing violence during pregnancy than they do of experiencing problems such as high blood pressure, gestational diabetes or premature rupture of membranes.
The incidence of violence in pregnancy may range from 4 to 17 percent. These figures may significantly underestimate the problem, as many women do not report their experiences of violence.
Pregnancy….. while it’s cause for excitement and elation; it causes stress in any relationship. In many cases, it’s a trigger for domestic violence.
Although leaving an abusive relationship is a positive step—both for you and for your children—it is nevertheless a difficult one. It should not be a decision you make alone: you will need the support of people trained in helping victims of domestic violence.
Health Resource Center on Domestic Violence 1-888-792-2873