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Old 12-04-2012, 07:31 AM   #1
jaybird83
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Talking possible injuries

I'm writing a story and have a few questions. The main character, who is a 20 year old girl, is abducted by two men that are in a mob family. She is missing for 2 months and she is also pregnant but doesn't know it yet (she is 8 weeks along). one of the men is violent and abuses her physically to find out information. I'm not going to have her sexually abused, just to clarify. what I want to know is possible injuries she could sustain that wouldn't cause her to lose her baby. Also is there specific tests doctors perform on people who are abducted? Help is greatly appreciated.
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Old 12-04-2012, 10:28 AM   #2
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Physical abuse doesn't have to be beatings and stuff. He could wake her up every five minutes for two months straight, break/dislocate fingers, tear off fingernails, withhold food, pull hair, etc.

As long as he avoids any direct blows to the abdomen the baby should be okay. Withholding food isn't ideal, I'd avoid withholding water though. Dehydration does bad things to pregnant women.
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Old 12-04-2012, 02:56 PM   #3
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Can you be 8 weeks into a pregnancy and not suspect the condition?

Just askin'.
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Old 12-04-2012, 03:26 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jaybird83 View Post
I'm writing a story and have a few questions. The main character, who is a 20 year old girl, is abducted by two men that are in a mob family. She is missing for 2 months and she is also pregnant but doesn't know it yet (she is 8 weeks along). one of the men is violent and abuses her physically to find out information. I'm not going to have her sexually abused, just to clarify. what I want to know is possible injuries she could sustain that wouldn't cause her to lose her baby. Also is there specific tests doctors perform on people who are abducted? Help is greatly appreciated.
Outside of your sexual assault kit, there aren't any specific tests, no. Someone can take evidence if there is any contact evidence, like fingernail scrapings, but aside from that, cops will photograph injuries and dr.s will treat them. If there aren't injuries,

As above, there are tons of injuries - very few would cause someone to miscarry, though lots of people do for no or minor reasons, so... Do what you will to her, kind of. Even kicking her about is probably ok that early, except in the general physical trauma sense. I mean there's no 'whapping someone right there will definitely cause a miscarriage.'
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Old 12-04-2012, 03:31 PM   #5
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Can you be 8 weeks into a pregnancy and not suspect the condition?

Just askin'.
Yep. There are plenty of cases of women who didn't know they were pregnant until they gave birth.
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Old 12-04-2012, 07:28 PM   #6
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Quote:
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Yep. There are plenty of cases of women who didn't know they were pregnant until they gave birth.
That's pretty rare, though. If your periods are regular, you'd have to suspect something when two of them have gone missing. There are usually other symptoms, too. Not necessarily the cliched vomiting and fainting, but things like sore or tender breasts, an odd sense of smell or taste, mood swings, fatigue, etc.

If you want to accurately depict a pregnancy, I highly recommend getting a book on pregnancy and researching the subject thoroughly. Don't rely on what you've seen on TV, because movies tend to go for the melodramatic, not realism. My husband gave me a few odd looks when I got The Baby Bump, but it helped me with my second novel. My first novel also had a pregnant MC, but it was set in the 1880s, so I referred to Hints to Mothers, which is a Victorian pregnancy manual. (It's also available online for free, here. Fascinating stuff!)
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Old 12-04-2012, 10:06 PM   #7
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Does the perp know the girl is pregnant? If he doesn't, why would he avoid striking her abdomen?

A very effective way to get "information" out of someone is waterboarding. Granted, the victim will likely admit to being her own grandmother if they think it spares them further discomfort because it just feels so very, very uncomfortable: water goes into your nostrils even if you hold your breath, your mouth fills with water, and even when you swallow it, you can't draw breath because of the wet towel over your face. A person can panic very quickly and this method of torture is particularly devastating to a person's psyche and can trigger permanent mental problems.
Waterboarding leaves no marks on the body so if the bad guys need to have the girl look like they haven't harmed her, that might be one way to go about it.

It might be useful for you to download Kubark (it can be found as a PDF in google), an old CIA interrogation manual which also includes advice on how to use "enhanced" interrogation methods (mental/psychological/physical torture). Someone already mentioned food and sleep deprivation and there's also things like stress positions, sensory deprivation, particularly loud/abrasive sounds at high volumes etc. etc.
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Old 12-04-2012, 11:08 PM   #8
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Broken fingers, pulled hair, hits and cuts to the face, burns etc. are painful without being dangerous to the pregnancy.
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Old 12-10-2012, 08:31 PM   #9
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Quote:
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Yep. There are plenty of cases of women who didn't know they were pregnant until they gave birth.
I wasn't regular until after my two pregnancies. Routinely I'd go to the doctor at fifty days into a cycle and be given hormones to induce my next period.

Once, I went to interview an OB as I was getting ready to start fertility treatments (my first needed conception help). I mentioned that I was fifty days out. Well, the new doctor ran a pregnancy test and guess what. Perhaps I should have known.

If you skipped a pill and didn't realize, you might not know. For some people, early symptoms are few.
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Old 12-14-2012, 09:00 AM   #10
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Well she was abducted a few days after conceiving. She also isn't aware of how long she has been missing. though she has had morning sickness for 2 weeks. In my experience i was almost 2 months along before i knew i was pregnant. It's different with every woman.
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Old 12-14-2012, 09:01 AM   #11
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thanks for all of the posts they have been helpful. Keep them coming!
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Old 12-14-2012, 10:44 PM   #12
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Well, if she was abducted right after conceiving, it's possible that she just thought any symptoms of pregnancy that she noticed were the result of the stress/abuse during abduction.
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Old 12-15-2012, 12:20 AM   #13
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As someone else has said, I think the abdomen/stomach is kind of like the first place you're going to hit.

If you want to avoid the risk of losing the baby, have the criminals or the torturer be a bit of a "gentleman" - someone who wouldn't physically hit a woman but would do things just as nasty. Psychological humiliation might be your best option if they're not actually trying to get information from her. They can take a leak on her, force her to sleep naked, tell her they've killed her family...

If they do need to extract info from her, then waterboarding, slaps, light choking, and broken fingers might be best. If worse comes to worse she can be raped, but that's just awful and I wouldn't write about it lightly.

Also, keep in mind that the first two and a half months of pregnancy are very delicate!! Plenty of women miscarry on their own during that time window - so the sole stress of being kidnapped could make her miscarry.
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Old 12-15-2012, 01:37 AM   #14
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Does it have to be violent torture? Can the abductors be trained (former) pros?

Journalist Christopher Hitchens went through a well controlled waterboarding experiment and he was totally unharmed when he threw in the towel, literally, before an umpire could count to three two. I think your girl won't need further and more serious torture before she tells everything.

Granted, your girl won't have physical abuse marking, but she may shudder vigorously and throw up every time she sees a rope or near water or a bench? She may never drink clear water or may not drink any liquid from a bowl or a bottle?
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Old 12-15-2012, 09:13 AM   #15
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Well, if she was abducted right after conceiving, it's possible that she just thought any symptoms of pregnancy that she noticed were the result of the stress/abuse during abduction.
That's what i'm going with.
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Old 12-15-2012, 09:15 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by T. Trian View Post
Does the perp know the girl is pregnant? If he doesn't, why would he avoid striking her abdomen?

A very effective way to get "information" out of someone is waterboarding. Granted, the victim will likely admit to being her own grandmother if they think it spares them further discomfort because it just feels so very, very uncomfortable: water goes into your nostrils even if you hold your breath, your mouth fills with water, and even when you swallow it, you can't draw breath because of the wet towel over your face. A person can panic very quickly and this method of torture is particularly devastating to a person's psyche and can trigger permanent mental problems.
Waterboarding leaves no marks on the body so if the bad guys need to have the girl look like they haven't harmed her, that might be one way to go about it.

It might be useful for you to download Kubark (it can be found as a PDF in google), an old CIA interrogation manual which also includes advice on how to use "enhanced" interrogation methods (mental/psychological/physical torture). Someone already mentioned food and sleep deprivation and there's also things like stress positions, sensory deprivation, particularly loud/abrasive sounds at high volumes etc. etc.
Neither prep knows that she is pregnant.
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Old 12-16-2012, 04:40 AM   #17
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Mrs. Gault is on a 23-day cycle and has been known to skip one from time to time. In those cases, perhaps it is easier to be pregnant and not know it. Also, there is a TV show dedicated to this, so it must happen often enough that one cannot say, "Obviously she is pregnant if she is late".
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Old 12-16-2012, 05:19 AM   #18
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The uterus is well protected by the pelvis at 8 weeks - being punched/kicked could happen without ending a pregnancy.

Just a point of clarification: conception happens at 2 weeks, because pregnancies are dated from the beginning of the menstrual cycle, or two weeks prior to ovulation if cycles are wonky. So if she's been held for 2 months then she's more like 10 weeks pregnant, and symptoms could be getting stronger, tummy bloating, etc.

It's quite plausible that someone could get fully through the first trimester thinking they're under stress, though, given the circumstances.
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