Health Resource Center Helped Noreen Control Her Own Destiny

Side view of a young woman with a ponytail

Domestic violence is not always physical.

The Health Resource Center on Domestic Violence (HRC), a Family and Youth Services Bureau grantee, established that reproductive coercion was common among survivors of domestic violence and the health consequences were serious.

Noreen, a survivor of domestic violence, shared that asking questions about reproductive coercion really helped her understand her partner’s behavior as part of the power and control she was experiencing in her relationship.

“My boyfriend wanted to have babies and settle down. He didn’t want me to use birth control,”   reports the 23-year-old woman that sought HRC’s services. “Every month he asked, ‘How come you aren’t pregnant? It’s been two months.’ I feel I can’t have a say in this relationship.”

Noreen had to take birth control behind her partner’s back. “I can’t even close the bathroom door because he says ‘You’re taking the pill. Keep it open.’ It’s a lot of pressure,” she said.

Noreen believes that if the center had not asked those questions about reproductive coercion she would have not realized the abuse. “I wouldn’t have thought of what he was doing as part of him maintaining control in our relationship. I really wouldn’t,” Noreen points out.  The National Health Resource Center on Domestic Violence supports health care practitioners, administrators and systems, domestic violence experts, survivors, and policy makers at all levels as they improve health care’s response to domestic violence. 

The HRC supports leaders in the field through groundbreaking education and response programs, cutting-edge advocacy and specialized technical assistance.

The HRC also offers a wealth of free culturally competent materials and in-person trainings that are appropriate for a variety of public and private health professions, settings and departments.  For more information, visit Futures Without Violence.