1 in 5 women and 1 in 59 men will experience sexual assault in their lifetime.
We often equate romantic relationships with consent — leading to the common misconception that sexual abuse cannot happen between individuals in dating relationships and marriages. But this is far from the truth. In fact, over the past two decades, there has been a growing body of research drawing the connection between relationship violence and poor reproductive outcomes for women — including unintended pregnancies, HIV and AIDS, and serious injury.
The symptoms and signs of this type of relationship abuse are often hidden from plain sight. To maintain power and control in the relationship, abusers may use reproductive and sexual coercion to interfere with their partner’s reproductive health, resulting in hidden and often undetected forms of victimization.
How do you know if you may be experiencing abuse?
- Does my partner make me have sex when I don’t want to?
- Does my partner mess with my birth control or try to get me pregnant when I don’t want to be?
- Does my partner refuse to use condoms when I ask? Am I afraid to ask my partner to use condoms?
- Does my partner tell me whom I can talk to or where I can go?
- Am I afraid my partner would hurt me if I told him I had a sexually transmitted infection and he needed to be treated, too?
- Has my partner made me afraid or physically hurt me?
If you answered YES to any of these questions, you are not alone. It’s important to seek help. Safe Space has a team of trained advocates who can support you through your journey at 919-497-5599.