Denver, CO — For Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains is bringing attention to the impact that intimate partner violence (IPV) can have on reproductive health. About one in four women and one in nine men experience IPV, a pattern of abusive behavior within a relationship in the form of physical violence, sexual violence, and/or stalking. Reproductive coercion is another way that someone may try to exert control over their partner, and can include interfering with birth control methods, coercing a partner into having unprotected sex, impregnating a partner against their wishes, or controlling the outcome of a pregnancy.
At Planned Parenthood, our staff, volunteers, activists, and providers are proud to support survivors and work toward preventing intimate partner violence through providing education on consent and healthy relationships, screening for IPV at more than 600 health centers nationwide, and offering vital health care services and resources for survivors.
“Health care providers see firsthand how intimate partner violence harms individuals and can threaten their reproductive health and autonomy,” said Whitney Phillips, Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains spokesperson. “Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains believes that every person deserves to have safe and healthy relationships. Our staff is trained to screen for abuse and can make referrals in a safe setting. We are committed to connecting our patients to the resources and care they need to take control of their health and recovery.”
Women who experience IPV are also more at risk for HIV, often because abuse makes it difficult or dangerous for them to negotiate boundaries, including around condom use. In addition, more than half of women with HIV have experienced IPV; for many, abuse comes after they reveal their status. IPV can also be a barrier to accessing regular treatment, putting these women’s health at even greater risk. The clear link between HIV and IPV makes it imperative that health care providers are equipped to recognize IPV and address a full range of reproductive health issues.