Pregnancy after sexual assault is more common than you think
Pregnancy resulting from sexual violence is a common occurrence, even though it is hardly ever talked about. In recent years, sexual violence has garnered significant attention, with movements like #MeToo and high-profile cases within the sports and music industries sparking vital discussions about its prevalence in society. While this focus is crucial, one issue continues to be unaddressed: the pregnancies that result from sexual violence, which is an issue that is both underrecognised and extraordinary in its impact. Estimates suggest that in the Netherlands alone, there are between 40,000 to 120,000 women who have experienced pregnancy as a result of sexual violence during their lifetime.
Research consistently demonstrates that the level of support received following a traumatic event significantly influences the development of symptoms and the pace of recovery. The more support you feel after a violent experience, the less likely you are to develop symptoms and the faster you recover. However, when society shies away from discussing a particular topic, especially one as potentially taboo as this, it becomes exceedingly challenging for victims to open up about their experiences and, consequently, impossible for them to feel supported.
Hence, it is imperative that we collectively turn our attention towards comprehending the profound impact that sexual violence has on women and men alike. By initiating open and compassionate discussions, we can shed light on their experiences, highlighting moments of empowerment and vulnerability. Only through these dialogues can we provide the essential support they require to heal and recover.
Elisa van Ee
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