By April Autry
So much is different in our lives after the Kavanaugh confirmation. As a woman, and a healthcare provider for women, it becomes increasingly important to continue my work as an advocate and support for traumatized females.
One of the most difficult and infuriating things to me about the Kavanaugh proceedings was the idea that someone who has experienced trauma, and survived a sexual assault, cannot be believed simply because she may not be able to remember certain details of an event. This makes ZERO sense, and is in fact, medically incorrect and unscientific.
In addition to being a medical clinician, I have also been trained by the human rights organization, Physicians for Human Rights, to do medical and psychological evaluations for survivors of physical, sexual and psychological trauma. I’ve heard the testimonies, and witnessed the physical effects, of countless women, girls, men, and boys, who have been attacked, assaulted, and raped. Most would have probably preferred to stay silent and not try to remember or repeat their stories, be re-traumatized, or even be not believed. So how best can I care for individuals like this and how best can YOU receive the best, safe, trauma informed care.
Trusting someone to take care of your physical health, especially as a woman, is trusting that clinician with the taking off your clothes, allowing that person to touch you, listen to and believe you, answer extremely personal questions, and even invasive physical examination. The provider-patient relationship is such a special one, and must have established trust and truly be a partnership. A relationship in which the provider facilitates patient comfort and decision making, thus empowering her, at every possible point.
It is a hard time for women in America, and especially for survivors, but instead of feeling overpowered, let us summon our strength and make sure we get the support and listening we need.
You are not alone. You are cared about. We believe you. I believe you.
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