Monday, April 6, 2009

Dating Violence and Reproductive Health

Created by: Jillian

Prior to working for NARAL Pro-Choice Connecticut and the State Legislature, I was a Child Advocate at a Sexual Assault Crisis Center. I was responsible for counseling children and adolescents who had been sexually abused, raped, or who were referred for counseling because their parents were shocked by their sexual behaviors.

Time and time again, I met young women who had sex with their boyfriends without using a condom because to use a condom meant that they didn't trust their boyfriend. Talk about sexual coercion! I know this type of behavior to be true of many college age couples as well.

In a recent article by RH Reality Check, two studies are highlighted that show that relationship or dating abuse can have reproductive health consequences, including unplanned pregnancy and exposure to sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV/AIDS transmissions. Also, girls who are victims of violence from dating partners are four to six times more likely than non-abused girls to become pregnant.

Enough is enough! We need to educate young women and men about healthy relationships and their bodies from a young age. What we need is comprehensive, medically accurate, and age appropriate sex education.

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