Conference addresses how domestic violence affects pregnant women, families

Local News

Healthy Baby Network is partnering with Willow Domestic Violence Center to address domestic violence, especially how it affects pregnant women and their families.

“What aren’t we doing and how can we address this so that the next generation of women in 20 years are standing here saying, ‘me too,” said Lauren Deutsch, director of Health Baby Network. “People talk about domestic violence and people talk about pregnancy, we didn’t feel that there were enough people talking about them together.”

Deutsch said domestic violence during pregnancy has topped about 10 percent in the City of Rochester. That’s why they talked about the danger assessment procedure.

“It’s a way to help victims and providers talk about risk about danger, help a victim understand what level of risk they’re at,” said Deutsch. “Things that not all of us would think about — Does he check your phone? Have you been stalked? Does he have your email password?”

These were all signs that Vanessa Santiago was experiencing.

“I felt like the person just wanted to make sure that I didn’t understand the value that I was supposed to hold in myself so I could always think of myself as less,” said Santiago. 

She was in this relationship for over five years and they had two kids together, hoping it would fix the relationship. She was still abused during pregnancy. It wasn’t until an incident with her youngest son that she decided to reach out for help. 

“The resources just started coming in from one way or another,” said Santiago. “I just needed to understand that I was worth way more than what I was settling for.”

Now she’s a domestic violence survivor. 

“I want other people to know that they don’t have to go through this kind of stuff,” said Santiago. “That they could just open their mouths and that if they could just trust even a provider if they need to because they could give you the resources that you need.”

Click here to learn more about Healthy Baby Network. To learn more about Willow Domestic Violence Center, click here.

If you need help you can call the Willow Center’s hotline at 585-222-SAFE.

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