Study: Pregnant Women Prone To Violence

SPOKANE — The murder of 27-year-old Araceli Camacho Gomez of Pasco has brought to light a startling statistic: Pregnant woman are more vulnerable to violence than many might think.

In Gomez’s case, 23-year-old Phiengchai Sisouvanh of Kennewick has been charged with stabbing Gomez to death and then cutting her unborn child out of the womb. The baby is in critical condition at Deaconess Hospital.

Gomez’s story is not an isolated one. An eight-year study by the American Journal of Health says that homicide was the leading cause of death among pregnant women in the United States.

Judy Burgad of the YWCA says one reason why pregnant women are victims of homicidal violence is their vulnerability.

“What we do see that happens when woman are pregnant is sometimes the partners feels like he’s losing control over her. So we do see an increase in battery and domestic violence in pregnant women,” Burgad said.

High profile cases like the murder of Lacy Peterson by her husband Scott, the murder of Lance Corporal Maria Lauterbach by a fellow Marine and just this week the murder of 23-year-old Army Specialist Megan Touma have all brought to light this grisly trend across the country.

“On average there are about 5,200 women a year in our state alone who have experienced some type of physical violence during their pregnancy,” Judy Burgad said.