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If you are unfamiliar with the term 'reproductive coercion', it's essentially when another person has more control over your reproductive health than yourself.

Hilary Freeman of The Guardian is now reporting that more women than imagined have no idea that reproductive coercion is a form of abuse.

Studies have revealed that a shocking one-in-four women who attend sexual health clinics report coercion over their reproductive lives, including 'contraceptive sabotage', such as covert condom removal.


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According to BMJ Sexual & Reproductive Health, available evidence about the abusive behaviour needs to be updated to 2017 and widen the spectrum of activities involved to include familial pressure, criminal activity and exploitation within sex trafficking.

As well as not being able to choose contraceptives to use or take control of their own reproductive health, reproductive control takes the form of contraceptive sabotage, such as convert condom removal or needling a hole in a condom. 

Not being able to decide whether to start or continue a pregnancy is a major factor, research shows, and the concept of reproductive control (especially over women's autonomy) by others was first described in 2010.

Women's experience of interference with their autonomy goes back centuries, arguably, but research indicates that younger women are particularly vulnerable, as well as those in the black community and racial minorities.

The practice is scarily common, with women having decisions taken away from them by partners, exploiters or family, invalidating consent.

One-in-four women attending sexual healthcare clinics are reporting persuasive methods, emotional blackmail, threatened or actual infidelity and physical violence predominantly perpetrated by male partners but also criminal gangs.


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Other examples of contraceptive sabotage include; partners lying about having a vasectomy or sterilisation, refusing to wear condoms, forceful removal of condoms, not using the withdrawal method properly, piercing barrier contraceptives or throwing away contraceptive pills.

Condom removal during sex is referred to as 'stealthing', and is now classified as sexual assault. Spiking drinks or food to induce abortion also was mentioned as occurrences.

The consequences are often emotionally difficult to bear; unintended or unwanted pregnancy, higher abortion risk, higher STI rates and emergency contraceptive usage.

Women in violent, abusive relationships prove especially vulnerable to reproductive coercion, but many are unaware that they are being subjected to reproductive control.


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"The degree of control that a male partner can have will vary from mild to extreme. Milder amounts of control may not be perceived by the victim as unhealthy or abusive."

"Women in a long term relationship may become inured to significant levels of reproductive control," the study's authors write.

The study calls on healthcare professionals must play a crucial part in noticing and preventing this horrifically controlling behaviour.



Facebook’s guidelines regarding what sort of content its users can post on the site have been revealed for the first time.

An investigation carried out by The Guardian examined more than 100 internal training manuals, spreadsheets and flowcharts to gain a better insight into how the social networking giant polices its users on issues such as violence, hate speech, terrorism, racism and self-harm.

A source told The Guardian: “Facebook cannot keep control of its content. It has grown too big, too quickly.”

There are concerns about the inconsistency of some policies, in particular, those surrounding the uploading of sexual content.

The documents obtained by the newspaper pointed out several shocking truths about Facebook’s policing strategy including the revelation that videos of abortions are allowed – as long as there is no nudity.

However, the leaked documents also showed the company are taking measures to improve policies, even if it they are only implemented following public pressure.

New guidelines were put in place following last year’s controversy over a picture taken during the Vietnam war that was removed from the site because the girl in the picture was naked.

According to The Guardian, Facebook now allow for “newsworthy exceptions” under its “terror of war” guidelines.

The investigation could not have come at a worse time for the social networking site as it faces mounting public pressure to disallow the publishing of disturbing Facebook Live content such as murders and sexual assaults.

It’s a tricky one for the company as they say they are trying to respect their users’ freedom of expression. 


Another day, another British publication claiming our beloved Irish comedians as their own. 

Ed Byrne and Dara Ó Briain have hit the roads of South East Asia for a three-part travel series, Dara and Ed's Road to Mandalay.

The programme, which kicked off on RTÉ One last Thursday, follows the duo as they mix with locals and visit some of the most exciting locations the region has to offer.

The series made its British debut on BBC 2 last Sunday, and sure enough, The Guardian had a thing or two to say about it the next morning. 

It read, "The increasingly dull and unedifying formula of sending white British men to far-flung places in search of 'strange and quirky' aspects of other cultures."

"The latest are Irish comedians Dara Ó Briain and Ed Byrne who, in Dara and Ed's Road to Mandalay, travel across Malaysia in the first of a three-part series exploring south-east Asia, 'one of the most rapidly changing places on earth'," 

However, the Wicklow native wasn't going to let this one slide. 

The word 'British was later deleted from the online review – but of course, Dara had to get the last word. 



As Brexit officially comes into play today, papers all over the globe covered the implications of the UK leaving the European Union.

The Guardian put together a very fetching front page, featuring Europe as a jigsaw puzzle, with the UK missing.

However, the chunk missing also includes a large portion of the Emerald Isle. 

 This has left some Irish folk very baffled, as ROI areas like Donegal and Monaghan were also removed.

Obviously this was just a slight oversight on The Guardian's part, but of course that didn't stop people making jokes about it on Twitter. 

Counties like Offaly and Cork got an awful slagging, as people joked about wanting to give those away in return for the missing ones. 

Old rivalries we're also dug up, in traditional Irish spirit. 

"Cork raging because they were full sure the Dubs would be away."

"Hopes of 'real capital' status dashed," joked one. 

Others got pretty political with their tweets regarding the missing piece of the puzzle. 

"Hey most of the six counties didn't vote to leave but that isn't stopping the Brits," said another.

However, most people took a joking stance to the whole thing.

Feature image:  Kath Viner/Twitter