Violence against women is an important public health and human rights issue that should at the forefront of political agendas in the United States and internationally. Contributions for this article are compliments of our resource partners and Alex Young & Kristen Faith, BTS Blog Writer.
5 Facts About Domestic Violence During Pregnancy 
- In the United States in particular, Native American and African American women have an especially increased incidence of pregnancy IPV.
- Younger women, those who are not married, and women from minority groups are also at increased risk for pregnancy IPV. Many reports have identified an association between younger age and pregnancy IPV.
- Some national survey reports suggest a nearly double risk of pregnancy IPV for women under 20.
- Similarly, single women are at increased IPV risk during pregnancy compared with married women.
- Based on findings from research like that presented above, some researchers have estimated that every year in the US, over 300,000 pregnant women experience IPV.
“I realized that I needed to get help and get out of the relationship when I voluntarily admitted myself into a local Psych Hospital,” said Alexa. This was following the day she attempted to kill herself, which was rooted from having an abortion only days prior.
Alexa and her ex-boyfriend dated on and off for a year prior to finding out they were expecting. He refused to wear protection and pressured Alexa to be the “responsible one” during their intimate moments.
One day, she missed her period.
Together they went to a local pharmacy to purchase a pregnancy kit. Initially, he was really supportive and then the test came back positive.
“My ex-boyfriend was on heroin when we found out we were expecting. He told me he needed time to process this and would reach out to me when he was ready to talk.” Alexa hadn’t heard back from him in over a week and was very concerned about her then-boyfriend. To her surprise, she found out he attempted to overdose and was then admitted to a drug rehabilitation facility.
After finally “catching up” with her ex-boyfriend, he said, “If you have this baby I am going to kill myself.” Alexa experienced many forms of manipulation during the course of their relationship. Her ex-boyfriend gas lighted, stalked, brainwashed, controlled, held secrets, isolated, and verbally abused her to name a few common forms.
In February of 2016, Alexa recalls walking into a local pregnancy clinic [alone] and feeling afraid, defeated, confused and conflicted. As she sat in the waiting room, she replayed her relationship with her abuser and tried to figure out where they went wrong.
Up until the final moments before her procedure, Alexa was devastated and wanted to keep her baby. “I wanted to feel protected so I could keep this baby with the understanding that he couldn’t find me.”
The procedure was traumatizing for her. “Knowing this was my baby, I was so shattered.”
Following the procedure, I went to his house.
“All he was concerned about was did I get it [done]…” She added, “Once I told him yes, he said he couldn’t be with someone who was reckless with birth control. Then, he broke up with me.”
When she went home, she sunk into a very deep depression.
Three days later, Alexa attempted to take her life by overdosing on Xanax.
She then voluntarily admitted herself into a local hospital.
The greatest thing Alexa learned from rehab was how to regain her voice. Seeing how strong the women in the empowerment groups she attended gave her the strength she needed. Hearing their stories and seeing those same women wake up every day and continue to smile made her fight that much harder. Alexa understands that her abuser does not have the power to affect the rest of her life.
“Know that you have more strength than you could possibly realize,” she said. “And even when you feel like you can’t get back up you can.” This year she is competing in the Miss California USA Pageant. She wants to use this opportunity to impact anyone who may be suffering. This competition will allow Alexa to further broadcast the resilience of women.
From suicidal to activist, Alexa’s unyielding strength and evolution has made her a new woman, with the aspiration to change lives.
Visit us next week for another survivor article on Power and Control.