5 things you should know about reproductive coercion

Reproductive coercion is when you manipulate someone in order to control or have some sort of power over their reproductive health. It is a form of sexual abuse and often involves manipulating someone into pregnancy, forcing someone to get an abortion or knowingly putting someone at risk of sexually transmitted infections.

It can go from emotional abuse to threats and even physical violence. It is quite common for people not to be aware that it exists, so here are the 5 things you should know about reproductive coercion.


Stealthing is the act of removing the condom during sexual intercourse, without the knowledge and consent of your partner. It’s a form of sexual assault because your partner agreed to have safe sex, but their consent was revoked when the condom was removed without their permission.

Stealthing is dangerous because it exposes both partners to STIs, as well as the possibility of an unwanted pregnancy. This kind of sexual violation also damages trust in the relationship.

Lying about being on birth control

Being dishonest with your partner about being on birth control is problematic and another form of reproduction coercion because you give your partner the impression that they’re safe from an unplanned pregnancy.

Sabotaging birth control methods

Things like poking holes in the condom, or throwing away your partner’s contraceptives without their knowledge is also reproduction coercion. 

Forcing your partner into having an abortion

In relationships that are healthy, partners discuss the possibility of having children and at times, they might not agree to certain things, which is normal for every relationship.

What is not normal – and should not be accepted – is forcing your partner or making them feel guilty for keeping the pregnancy.

Forcing your partner into a pregnancy

If your partner isn’t ready for a child, then it is best to respect that decision and revisit it in the future. An ongoing discussion about reproducing should continue between partners, but it always has to remain respectful and civil, in order to prevent abusive tendencies.

You being ready to have a child whilst your partner isn’t, doesn’t mean that you have to go to the extremes to produce a child because it will definitely put a strain on your relationship.

Realising that your partner is sexually manipulating or abusing you can be really difficult. Not only has your trust been broken, but there is a complete violation of you as a person. It also violates your rights to make healthy decisions for your future. If you are in a situation where reproductive coercion is taking place, I encourage you to speak up and seek help.

Here are places you can turn to if you need help:

TEARS Foundation

TEARS Foundation provides access to crisis intervention, advocacy, counselling, and prevention education services for those impacted by domestic violence, sexual assault and child sexual abuse. Confidential services are provided to all victims at no charge!

Helpline:  *134*7355#

SMS: *134*7355#

Landline: 010 590 5920

Fax: +27 (0) 86 520 0316

Email: info@tears.co.za 

Website: www.tears.co.za


Speakout is a non-governmental organisation that offers rape emergency information, services, advice and links.

Visit their website on www.speakout.org.za

Also remember that if you or a friend need advice or help, you can contact me here on Ask Choma, send me a Facebook Message, a Twitter DM, or a WhatsApp Message (071 172 3657).