Yasamin Kusunoki

Arab American Women's Reproductive Health Project

Small Fund Research Project

Intimate partner violence (IPV) affects approximately 25% of women nationwide, and manifests differently across cultures. Consequences of IPV include higher rates of unplanned pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Though the Arab population in the United States is rapidly growing, there is limited knowledge on how IPV influences this community. We are proposing an investigation of IPV (physical, sexual, and psychological abuse) and reproductive coercion (RC; a male partner's attempt to pressure a female partner to become pregnant or to interfere with contraception). We will work in partnership with the Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services (ACCESS), a community organization in Dearborn. The aims of this pilot study are: 1) to examine prevalence and consequences of IPV and RC on the reproductive health of Arab American women, and 2) to identify the role of cultural and religious norms in shaping beliefs and attitudes regarding IPV, RC, and reproductive autonomy through a needs assessment via surveys and semi-structured interviews. The proposed community-based needs assessment on IPV, RC, and reproductive autonomy is novel in its focus on Arab American women. The proposed study will be the impetus for future studies that investigate community norms around IPV and RC, and future interventions that address reproductive rights, autonomy, and health among Arab American women.

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