A sad but not surprising study shows that young women whose partners are controlling also face risks of physical and sexual abuse.
According to HealthDay News, researchers at Columbia surveyed over 600 women ages 15-24 who visited a reproductive health center, and found that a full 68% had experienced at least one instance of controlling behavior from a partner. Types of control included trying to keep the women from seeing family or friends, and forcing them to ask permission before seeing a doctor. And for almost 30% of women, controlling behavior came along with some other form of abuse — for 11% physical violence, for 10% sexual abuse, and for 9% both. Says study author Dr. Marina Catallozzi, "this awareness of the high rates of controlling behavior and the overlap with relationship violence, particularly for young people, may affect how they view health care provider-based screening and how honestly they might answer screening questions."
That is, not only does the study show that trying to control a partner can be a red flag for relationship violence — it also underscores a real difficulty in helping abuse victims. The same people who abuse their partners are also likely to prevent them from talking to family, friends, or healthcare providers. The study authors say "carefully crafted, repeated, and novel screening to improve identification, referral and treatment" are necessary to combat this dual problem. Also illuminating: experiencing controlling behavior from a male partner was linked with feeling uncomfortable asking him to wear a condom. Of course, people with controlling partners are probably uncomfortable asking them about lots of things — but this is also more evidence that if a guy's a jerk about wrapping it up, it may be time to run.
For Young Women, 'Controlling' Partner Often Abusive, Too [HealthDay News]
Relationship Violence Linked To Controlling Boyfriend [PsychCentral]