Monday, December 6, 2021
American Indian and Alaska Native Women's Experiences with Sexual Violence, Reproductive Coercion, and Reproductive Health
Authors Elena Giacci, et. al. have published a study in the Journal of Women's Health titled Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence, Reproductive Coercion, and Reproductive Health Among American Indian and Alaska Native Women: A Narrative Interview Study. The study is full of insights and contributions, some of which are excerpted here (internal citations removed).
Recurring theme of silences and secrecy were described in the context of racism, historical, current, and intergenerational trauma. Women's reproductive experiences were shaped by silencing and shame regarding violent experiences, which they linked to histories of marginalization of their communities. Specifically, women described inadequate and limited access to sexual health education and services. This, combined with negative family and community responses to abuse, led to lack of care seeking for reproductive health needs. Inequitable access to confidential health services and ineffective service agency responses (including law enforcement) reflect ongoing neglect of AI/AN communities. Legal and judicial responses, in turn, are complicated by pervasive challenges of placing blame on female victims while tribal, state, and federal lack of collaboration perpetuate the epidemic of “Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.”
To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study to explore RC among AI/AN women. Few studies have directly examined reasons for the disproportionately high rates of unintended pregnancy among AI/AN women. Most research related to unintended pregnancy in AI/AN communities has focused on adolescent pregnancy and sexual risk among youth. Similar to non-AI/AN women, RC occurred in the context of emotional, physical, and sexual abuse by partners who also interfered with contraceptive use and care seeking. Some women perceived that their partners were actively trying to impregnate them against their wishes, and described partner and community influences on keeping pregnancies they did not want.