A Qualitative and Quantitative Approach to Understanding Sexual Violence During Pregnancy

Raquel Kennedy Bergen, St. Joseph's University

This paper explores women's experiences of sexual violence during pregnancy. 625 women at a large obstetrics/gynecology practice completed a questionnaire about their experiences of violence and pregnancy. Findings include that 23% of the women had been physically, sexually, or emotionally victimized by their partners during pregnancy. 7% of the women in this study experiences sexual abuse during pregnancy. The types of sexual violence those women experiences and the effects of the violence on their pregnancy outcomes are discussed through an analysis of these data. In-depth interviews conducted with 10 women about their experiences of sexual violence provide more detailed information about how women experience changes in violence during pregnancy, how they respond to sexual violence, and the wide range of effects of sexual abuse on their lives.

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Updated 05/20/2006