What is domestic violence? Where can I find help if I’m pregnant?

It is not lost on us that October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM), and just last month, a NY native took the nation’s limelight by her disappearance. The search for her ended and has been determined a homicide and is suspected to be due to domestic violence. This breaks our hearts.


Domestic violence is a serious violent crime. However, domestic violence also includes physical and emotional abuse. As a society, we don’t like talking about domestic violence. In fact, domestic violence is often hidden from public view while victims suffer in silence, afraid to seek help or not knowing where to turn.


Yet, domestic violence leaves a ripple effect that goes beyond the abused individual. It impacts immediate and extended family members. It affects children who witness the violence and often become victims themselves. Thus, domestic violence affects our society which is why we need to talk about it.


Although often hidden behind closed doors, domestic violence is more common than any of us would like to admit. In fact, on a typical day, there are more than 20,000 phone calls placed to domestic violence hotlines nationwide. That’s an average of 20 people per minute who are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States. This adds up to 10 million women and men every year.


What is considered domestic violence?

Domestic violence is a pattern of coercive, controlling behavior that is a pervasive, life-threatening crime affecting people. Domestic violence includes physical, psychological, emotional, and sexual attacks and economic coercion used against their partners.


We want to be clear, domestic abuse and violence are not the fault of the victim. But, unfortunately, most abusers will tell or convince their partner that they’re doing this because the victim deserves it or because they’re doing it out of love. This could not be further from the truth. No one deserves to be manipulated, pushed, slapped, hit, stalked, harassed, forced into something beyond their will, or isolated from family and loved ones.


This list is a small number of ways domestic abuse and violence are expressed. This doesn’t account for some of the psychological behaviors that often coincide with domestic abuse, such as passive-aggressive behaviors and mental games and making the victim always feel at fault. Domestic abuse usually starts as something small and grows in violence.


Where can you go if you think you’re pregnant, face domestic abuse, and need help? 

If you or your friend are pregnant, facing domestic abuse, and need help; we can help. At Pregnancy Help, our staff of client advocates is specially trained to help you on an individual basis. Whether your concerns are about abuse, health insurance, housing, maternity leave, or how this pregnancy will impact your career or educational goals, Pregnancy Help offers ongoing support starting with your initial office visit. In addition, our years of successful experience in networking with other community agencies and social services organizations are put to work for you.


To have a healthy pregnancy and baby, you must free yourself of violence — which often takes the help of someone else. Leaving an abusive relationship can be very dangerous if not done carefully. If you are experiencing domestic violence and are pregnant, please find help! At Pregnancy Help, your safety is our concern. To make an appointment, you can call us at 917-725-5157 or text us at 646-734-8185. To make an online appointment click here.


Statistics and References:

Statistics. National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Accessed September 2021. Available from: https://www.ncadv.org/statistics

What is Domestic Violence? The Center for Family Justice. Accessed September 2021. Available from: https://centerforfamilyjustice.org/faq/domestic-violence/

Domestic Violence and Pregnancy. University of California San Francisco. Accessed September 2021. Available from: https://www.ucsfhealth.org/education/domestic-violence-and-pregnancy

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