For Sexual Abuse Victims
Many sexual abuse victims don't want opposite
sex doctors or nurses to do intimate procedures on them or see
certain parts of their body. Many sexual abuse victims are further
traumatized when they have male gynecologists. The medical community
definitely needs to work to be more sensitive to sexual abuse
victims' needs. Remember that you have the right out
of medical necessity to obtain same gender care. Don't
let medical professionals intimidate you.
We have listed some tips on how you can get the
same gender care and modesty you desire below.
1.) Be firm about your wishes
for same gender team and modesty. Don't let anyone talk to you
into using a male gynecologist.
2.) If you see that a certain
hospital doesn't have the same gender doctor, you should check
into going to another hospital not too far away.
3.) Always remember that you
are in control and that you can refuse treatment. For example,
you find out that your female gynecologist will have a male
assistant with her as she does a pelvic exam on you, tell her
no that you will not have the pelvic exam with him present at
all. If she refuses to accommodate your request, leave and don't
let her do the pelvic exam on you.
4.) Tell the medical providers
that based on your life experience you find it degrading and
humiliating to be subjected to opposite gender care and refuse
treatment. Put it in writing. Get a letter from a licensed psychologist
stating that exposing you against your will is an assault and
that you are competent and that your healthcare decisions are
supported by the therapist. Make sure you find a psychologist
who is sensitive to your needs and agree that you should be
able to get the same gender care. (Contributed By: Belinda
5.) You have to be vocal and
assertive when exercising your needs. Always speak up if you
are uncomfortable with something. For example, if you are in
an examining room that you don't feel has enough privacy and
if they won't accommodate your wishes don't proceed with the
exam or procedure.
6.) Remember that nobody can
force you to do anything that you don't want to. Putting your
needs in writing and having doctors acknowledge your needs not
only gives you the best shot at getting what you need, but they
also will respect you. You can use this sample
letter to give to your docor and nurse. One lady
who was sexually abused by medical providers gave it to the
nurse in a sealed envelope and ask that she read it, along with
the physician. She also did extensive research on two providers
before going to them to make sure that they would be respectful
of her wishes. She got excellent responses on both occasions.
She was pleasantly surprised and noticed a significant difference
when using this letter compared to not using it and trying to
explain things verbally.
Special Thanks to Belinda Diamond, Writer/Researcher
psycho social aspects of medical care that are detrimental to
sound mental health; patient advocacy training for victims of
sexual assault who has contributed to some of the information
on this web page.
** Check out the testimony
of a sexual abuse survivor Medical Patient Modesty helped to
take steps to ensure she had an all-female staff for the birth
of her baby. **