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Unexpectedly Pregnant and Questioning if It Was Consensual

Did you know that April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM)?  Let’s face it- sexual assault is a weighty topic.  Talking about it openly doesn’t always feel comfortable.  However, the importance of engaging in healthy, shared dialogues around this subject cannot be overstated. Perhaps that’s why the theme for SAAM 2024 is, “Building Connected Communities”.

It’s vital to learn the signs and symptoms of sexual violence, so you know how to identify it when it occurs- which happens far more often than most people realize.  According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC), a staggering 53%+ of women and 29%+ of men state that they’ve experienced “contact sexual violence.”  Sexual assault isn’t always easy to recognize.  Maybe you’re questioning if this dynamic has appeared in your own relationship with your partner.  Perhaps you’re coping with an unexpected pregnancy, and you’re not sure if the encounter was fully consensual.  If this describes where you find yourself today, read on.

Acknowledging sexual violence (or the possibility of sexual violence) isn’t easy.  Neither is navigating an unexpected pregnancy- especially when the pregnancy may have resulted from nonconsensual sex.  Avenue Women’s Center exists to walk this pregnancy journey by your side.   We’re an early pregnancy center and limited medical clinic that offers free and confidential services, such as medical-grade pregnancy tests and options consultations.  Our goal is to equip individuals with the information, resources, and support they need to take confident next steps.

Learn more about Avenue Women’s Center!  We’ve been a trusted provider of early pregnancy support in Chicagoland since 1981!

Defining Sexual Violence

The National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC) refers to “sexual violence” as, “an umbrella term that includes any type of unwanted sexual contact- including sexual assault, harassment, and abuse.”  The NSVRC notes the following examples/forms of sexual violence:

  • Rape, sexual assault, sexual harassment, or sexual abuse
  • Unwelcome sexual touching
  • Showing one’s genitals or nakedness to others without their consent
  • Sharing sexual images of someone without their consent
  • Using unwanted sexual words or actions around someone without their consent
  • Sexual exploitation or human trafficking

Take a moment to reflect on these forms of sexual violence.  Some of them are really common and can sometimes be written off as, “no big deal.”  Have you experienced any of these during an interaction with a partner or someone else?  Perhaps you think you may have had sex with someone without giving your full consent.  (This could have been any situation in which you didn’t or couldn’t say a clear, “yes” to sex).  If this resonates with you, it’s critical to walk away from potential danger right away, and reach out for support.

*The legal definition of “consent” may vary somewhat depending on where you live.  Check out this article from The Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (RAINN) to learn about how different states define consent.  If you’re a minor, your situation will include some unique considerations.  Sex with an underage person is illegal, even when both individuals seemingly agreed to it.  A minor cannot agree from a legal standpoint.

Getting Help

Your safety is the highest priority.  Reaching out for help may seem intimidating, but getting support is the best step you can take.

*If you believe that your safety or someone else’s may be at risk, contact local law enforcement or call 911 immediately. 

*If you believe that you may be experiencing sexual assault, consider reaching out to a sexual violence resource like The Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (RAINN).  Check out their resources page or call them at 800-656-4673.

Our caring staff at Avenue Women’s Center is available to process this unexpected pregnancy, and all the circumstances surrounding it, by your side.  We’re committed to making your experience of sharing your pregnancy story as calm and comfortable as possible.  We promise to listen excellently, take your experiences seriously, and respond with empathy- never judgment.

Implications for Your Pregnancy

Once your immediate safety needs have been met, it’s important to take the time that you need to absorb the news of your unexpected pregnancy and access reliable information.  You have multiple pregnancy options and supportive resources available to you.  Learn about them by connecting with Avenue Women’s Center!  Our expert pregnancy consultants and nurses are here to equip you with everything you need to feel informed and empowered for your own best pregnancy outcome.  Women often have more time than they realize to process a decision for abortion, adoption, or parenting before some of their options become unavailable.  A limited medical ultrasound can clarify how far along you are, so you know how much time you have to consider an option like the abortion pill (which is FDA-approved through 10 weeks).   We provide no-cost, confidential scans at Avenue so all women can access this information, no matter what challenges they’re facing or how limited their current support networks may be.

*Avenue Women’s Center is limited in its scope of services.  Our focus is on providing first-step pregnancy services.  We are not a sexual violence resource center.  However, women’s safety is our highest priority, and we’re fully committed to helping people who are facing sexual violence connect with the local resources they need to protect their health and well-being.

As overwhelming as your circumstances may be, it’s possible to 1) find the help that you need, and 2) make an informed pregnancy decision with confidence.  Our caring staff at Avenue is here to partner with you in this process.  We’d love to be a part of your personal support network during this hard season of life and beyond.

Call, text, chat, or email to schedule an appointment!  We accept walk-ins too!



The information provided here is general in nature.  It is not a substitute for a consultation with a medical professional. Before any medical procedure, it is imperative that you discuss your personal medical history, risks, and concerns with your doctor. If you have questions during or after a procedure, your doctor should be immediately contacted. Avenue Women’s Center is not an emergency center.  If you are experiencing severe symptoms, such as bleeding and/or pain, seek immediate medical attention.  Contact your physician, go to an emergency room, or call 911.