Prevention Strategies for ParentsThe Connection Between Dating Violence and Pregnancy

daughter having an open discussion with her mom

Teen girls in physically abusive relationships are three and a half times more likely to become pregnant than non-abused girls.

Teen mothers who experience physical abuse within three months following delivery are nearly twice as likely to have a repeat pregnancy within 24 months than non-abused teen mothers. Though these statistics focus on female victims and male aggressors, males can be victims as well with female partner aggressors.

Terms and Abusive Actions to Know and Talk About With Your Teen

Reproductive Coercion

Reproductive coercion involves behaviors aimed to maintain power and control in a relationship related to reproductive health by someone who is, was, or wishes to be involved in an intimate or dating relationship with an adult or adolescent. This can include:

  • Attempts to impregnate a partner or become pregnant against the other partner’s wishes
  • Controlling outcomes of pregnancy (including forcing a female to get an abortion, or to remain pregnant)
  • Coercing a partner to have unprotected sex
  • Interfering with birth control methods (including poking holes in condoms)

Sexual Coercion

Sexual coercion includes creating a feeling, situation or atmosphere where emotional and physical control lead to sexual abuse or rape, or a victim feeling that he or she has no choice but to submit to sexual activity with the perpetrator. This can include:

  • Repeatedly pressuring a partner to have sex when he or she does not want to
  • Threatening to end a relationship if a person does not have sex
  • Forcing a partner not to use condoms
  • Intentionally exposing a partner to a STI or HIV

Birth Control Sabotage

Birth control sabotage is the active interference with a partner’s contraceptive methods. This can include:

  • Destroying or disposing of contraceptives
  • Impeding condom use (including lying about whether the condom is actually on during sex)
  • Preventing birth control access or use
  • Threatening physical harm for contraception use

Talking Points & Tips

Here are some good questions to start a conversation about dating violence and pregnancy with your teen:

The following are some good resources with statistics, definitions, types of birth control, and dating violence and pregnancy information: