Physical Spouse Abuse in a 28-Week-Pregnant Woman: A Case Report
In some relationships, pregnancy is a risk factor for intimate partner violence (IPV). We present a case of a 34-year-old, 28-week-pregnant woman who was admitted to the emergency department with multiple traumas due to IPV. Her husband had hit her with a power cable after abusing methamphetamine. There were multiple ecchymoses and lacerations on her body. On questioning, the patient revealed a low socioeconomic status. The couple had been married for five years, and the abuse began 11 months earlier, after the husband became addicted to methamphetamines. In this instance of abuse, the husband was suspicious of the wife’s pregnancy and believed that the child had been fathered by another man. Her husband’s methamphetamine abuse had resulted in previous incidences of non-physical IPV, but, in the present incident, the combination of abuse coupled with partner jealousy resulted in physical abuse. During admission, there were no significant changes to the patient’s health, and the fetus was deemed to be healthy and unharmed. After discharge, the patient decided to divorce her abusive husband. Screening and counseling for interpersonal and domestic violence is especially recommended during pregnancy to protect the mother and her fetus. In Iranian civil law, IPV is regarded as “osr-o-haraj” or severe and intolerable hardship, and women may cite it as grounds for divorce in cases such as spousal drug addiction and certain forms of spousal abuse. When intimate partner assault is repeated and petition for khula is presented to the courts, the court can order the man to divorce his wife and, if he refuses, the court judge can grant the khula without the husband’s consent.
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