Why pregnancy can intensify violence in an abusive relationship

Andrea Grinage and Laura Wallen are both recent cases of Maryland women police say were violently attacked by their boyfriends.

WASHINGTON (WUSA9) - Andrea Grinage and Laura Wallen were both violently attacked by their boyfriends and both were pregnant, according to police.

While these cases may leave us shocked and horrified, domestic violence experts say, sadly, they're not surprised. If you add pregnancy to an already abusive relationship, many times, the violence can get worse.

WUSA9's Debra Alfarone interviewed a female friend who escaped two abusive relationships. She's now a single mom, and says the only thing she wants to do is save a life.

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She doesn't want you to see her face nor know her name but she wants you to know her story. She explained what her first abuser used to do to her.

"Calling you bad names and cursing you out, we had an incident where he threw things at me and pushed me out of the window," she said.

She walked away from that relationship with nothing but the clothes on her back. She got into another one, and become pregnant. She managed to leave that relationship too. I asked her why. She explained,"I felt if I don't leave now, something worse might happen I'm pretty sure that this could've ended up somewhere in that area.

She's referring to Andrea Grinage and Laura Wallen. Two woman from different backgrounds. Both were pregnant. Both had boyfriends arrested for unthinkable crimes of violence against them. Debra's friend says she wishes she could have told both one thing, "There's like this little gut feeling that you get inside, listen to that."

If you are in an abusive relationship, there are two times when experts say the conditions are ripe for violence to intensify:

1. When you try to leave

2. When you're pregnant.

Experts say it is important you have a safety plan, and hotline operators can help you develop one.
Debra's friend shares the red flags she saw and originally ignored.

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"Enclosing you off from family and friends, there's financially and then there's checking your phone," she said.

She also talks about the honeymoon stage.That's when an abuser apologizes and says it'll never happen again.

The victim forgives, and things are fine, for a while. Experts say if someone abuses you once, odds are it'll happen again.

Debra's friend says, "Still leave, still leave. If it happens over and over and you have to leave."

The National Institute of Health says as many as 300,000 pregnant women every year in the U.S. will experience domestic violence. It doesn't matter what your race is, how much money you have, or where you live. And they say that number represents just the people who report it. There could be more.

The majority of women who experience physical violence during pregnancy have been physically abused by their partner before, according to the World Health Organization.

If you are need help, or are not sure if the relationship you are in is a healthy one, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233. 1-800-787-3224 (TTY).

© 2017 WUSA-TV


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