Women's perceptions of how pregnancy influences the context of intimate partner violence in Germany

Heidi Stöckl, Frances Gardner
Culture, Health & Sexuality 2013, 15 (10): 1206-20
Intimate partner violence during pregnancy is receiving increased attention because of its high prevalence and health effects. Still, little is known about women's perceptions on how their pregnancy influences the context in which intimate partner violence occurs. We conducted 19 in-depth interviews with women who had experienced intimate partner violence around the time of pregnancy. Women clearly perceived pregnancy as a turning point, because it created new expectations and a feeling of being overwhelmed. This led to violence by reducing women's acceptance of their partner's unemployment, alcohol abuse and lack of relationship commitment, or by increasing women's vulnerability because they felt too young to raise a child alone. Pregnancy also led to violence by bringing back childhood memories or by taking attention away from their partners. Understanding how pregnancy influences the context in which intimate partner violence occurs is important to provide abused, pregnant women with the services they need.

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