October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month and although this is not a topic we wish we had to address, it is unfortunately a very important topic impacting many people, including many of our local Fort Worth and Tarrant County locals.
“Of the 921,799 women living in Tarrant County, 276,539 have experienced or will experience domestic violence in their lifetime.” That is approximately 30% of women in Tarrant County. (SafeHaven of Tarrant County)
Family Violence (or domestic violence) is defined as
when one family or household member (including a dating relationship of any age) physically harms or emotionally abuses another family or household member. A spouse or a partner, a man or a woman can experience family violence. Family members, such as children who witness family violence, are also considered victims. Family violence can take different forms such as:
- Physical abuse (hitting or using a weapon).
- Sexual abuse (rape or any unwanted sexual contact).
- Emotional abuse (threats or humiliation).
- Financial abuse (controlling a person’s money without their permission). (Texas Health and Human Services)
A victim of violence and abuse is NOT at fault.
Please know that it is never the fault of the victim of violence/abuse. Violence and abuse is never okay, no matter the circumstances or the people involved. Abusers blame their victim for their actions and never take responsibility. This is a control tactic which can keep the victim in an abusive relationship eliminating or prolonging them from seeking help. While a victim may feel hopeless, they DO have rights and options.
Pregnant? You need support and options
If you think you are pregnant and experiencing violence, call Women’s Choice to help with free services and to help guide you to other resources in your area.
At Women’s Choice, we wholeheartedly believe that you need a safe and confidential place to get the facts, services, and get your questions answered in a private pressure-free and judgement- free medical environment. If you’re experiencing an unplanned pregnancy and looking for abortion information, we can help. We offer free pre-abortion screenings, including: a lab quality pregnancy test, a limited ultrasound, and STI/STD Education & Referrals.
Due to the cycle of abuse, violence/abuse will usually increase over time. If you think you are pregnant and you are in an abusive relationship, you are even more at risk for further abuse. You have options and you need to know them.
Effects of Domestic Violence During Pregnancy
If you are being hurt or threatened by your partner while you are pregnant, you have a higher chance of:
- Injury to your uterus
- Miscarriage, stillbirth or premature baby
- Getting a dangerous vaginal infection from forced or unprotected sex with someone who has an infection
- Increased first and second trimester bleeding
Violence also increases your baby’s risk of:
- Weighing too little at birth
- Having trouble nursing or taking a bottle
- Having sleeping problems
- Being harder to comfort than other babies
- Having problems learning to walk, talk and learn normally
- Experiencing lasting emotional trauma
- Being physically and sexually abused
- Being hurt during a fight
In order to have a healthy pregnancy and baby, you must be free of violence and fear. If you are experiencing domestic violence, it is important that you contact your healthcare provider for help. There are a variety of community resources available that will help you develop a safety plan for you and your baby. (University of California San Francisco)
Make an appointment today or call us at 817-409-8849 with any questions. Our licensed medical staff is here to help.
Here are additional confidential resources for you or someone you know that may be experiencing domestic violence. REMEMBER: if you think you are being watched, clear your browser and its history after leaving websites. Your safety is always first.
Family Violence Fort Worth
SafeHaven Tarrant County
Domestic Violence and Pregnancy. University of California San Francisco. Accessed September 2021. Available from https://www.ucsfhealth.org/education/domestic-violence-and-pregnancy
What is Family Violence? Family Violence Program. Accessed September 2021. Available from https://www.hhs.texas.gov/services/safety/family-violence-program
Start By Believing. SafeHaven of Tarrant County. Accessed September 2021. Available from https://www.safehaventc.org/gethelp