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 medical care by
a same-sex medical team. Don't let medical professionals
We have listed some tips on how
you can get a same-sex medical team below.
1.) Be firm about
your wishes for same sex medical team and modesty. Don't let
anyone talk to you into using a male gynecologist.
2.) If you see
that a certain hospital cannot accomodate your wishes for a
same-sex medical care, 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 Diamond)
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.
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
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. **