Victims of sexual abuse or assault have their
world changed forever. These people who often become patients
feel degraded and humiliated by opposite gender care and traumatized
when this care is performed by strangers.
Sexual assault victims who have post traumatic stress
disorder (PTSD) have the right out of medical necessity to obtain
same gender care. PTSD is a recognized disability.
Not giving it to them is the same as asking a wheelchair bound
patient to get up and walk if they want to be attended to. Patients
with PTSD often have triggers that will elevate blood pressure
and give false readings. Someone coming into the ER under those
circumstances would find it medically necessary to accommodate
same gender care to meet their disability in the event of suspected
heart attack or stroke. For this reason, all hospitals should
always have enough female EKG technicians, doctors, and nurses
to accommodate sexual abuse victims and other women who don't
feel comfortable with male doctors for a variety of reasons.
Patients feeling humiliated will avoid healthcare which is
a serious problem. The medical community needs to be more sensitive
to patient need first and foremost.
Many rape victims who have to come to the hospital after being
raped don't want male doctors to examine them at all. It would
make them go through even more trauma. It is very important
to get evidence of the rape to charge a rapist with a crime.
Some sexual abuse victims have expressed that they feel that
even some female doctors or nurse practitioners have been insensitive
to their needs for modesty. For example, one lady who had been
raped in the past was very upset about the way her pap smear
was conducted by a female nurse practitioner because she left
the door of the examining room open at times and let an assistant
come in. She also had a very short gown that didn't offer enough
privacy. Another woman was upset at the fact that a female gynecologist
didn't close blinds on a window in the examining room.
Contributed By: Belinda Diamond, Writer/Researcher
psycho social aspects of medical care that are detrimental to
sound mental health; patient advocacy training for victims of
If you have problems with healthcare after sexual assault,
you can get