Cervical screening after sexual violence, by @SarahGraham7

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Many people find being invited for and having cervical screening (a smear test) uncomfortable and distressing. But if you have experienced sexual violence, you may find it particularly traumatic or distressing.

If you feel this way, you are not alone. We recently did a survey with survivors, where almost half said they had not attended cervical screening because of their experience of sexual violence.

Cervical screening can feel both intrusive and intimate because of the physical position the test is done in and the medical equipment used. This means it can trigger flashbacks of the things you have been through, or evoke physical and psychological responses, like a panic attack, dissociation, or freezing. Many survivors are anxious about having to disclose their experience to a healthcare professional. …

 

The full article is here.

Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust is here.

Sarah GrahamFeminism, journalism, literature, culture, life, love, and interviews with interesting women. Twitter @SarahGraham7

Smear tests: an intersectional look at why we don’t attend, by @PhilippaWrites

Cross-posted from: Philippa Willitts for Global Comment
Originally published: 26.01.18

Seven years ago, I collected stories on Twitter about surprising things that people had had said to them during a smear test and published them. From one woman who was recognised from being on TV to others being complimented on their cervix, it is clear that inappropriate comments are far from unusual.

Others experienced colleagues of the doctor or nurse, including students, attending without permission or even entering the room during the course of the examination and, although many people in the discussion were keen to point out that smear tests are usually painless and quick, it was clear that they are not painless enough, or quick enough, for many.

Anyone who has suffered the indignity of a gynaecological examination knows the score. At best, it’s a bit awkward but essentially fine; at worst, it’s humiliating, painful, damaging and triggering. It can cause physical injury, it can lead to misgendering and it can cause psychological trauma. At least one person I know have even had her GP tell her to skip smear tests in the future because the potential benefit of detecting cervical cancer does not weigh up against the trauma to her mental health that she experiences whenever a speculum is involved in her care. …

 

First published at Global Comment. You can find the whole text here.

 

Incurable HippieMad, disabled, feminist, radical, angry, lesbian, pacifist, warrior, geek, flower-power chick… About hippie blog? Somewhat neglected but still well loved. Bits and bobs from a British glasses-wearing, sweary, fat, disabled, atheist ex-Catholic, anti-capitalist, pacifist feminist lesbian with eclectic tastes. (@PhilippaWrites)

 

Photo: Pan American Health Organization/Creative Commons via Global Comment

Justin Trudeau is not a feminist superhero by @LK_Pennington

Cross-posted from: Elegant Gathering of White Snows
Originally published: 12.04.16

Justinjustin-trudeau-yoga_650x400_71459338988 Trudeau is a feminist. We all know this since he says it every single time he’s interviewed. The media is obsessed with this narrative and Trudeau is regularly accused of ‘trolling the internet’ for posting pictures which revel in hyper-masculinity.

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Much of Trudeau’s appeal is that he is a conventionally attractive white male who does yoga, charity boxing and loves kids. Almost as much as Barack Obama does. This is not ‘trolling the internet’. It is part of a deliberate campaign of image management – just like every other politician on the planet. David Cameron taking up yoga would not make him a better prime minister – nothing can compensate for the destructive and deeply misogynistic and racist policies that the Tory party has developed. Likewise, an attractive prime minister who enjoys a photo opportunities with babies – of the human and panda varieties – does not automatically guarantee good policies or even a commitment to feminism.
Read more Justin Trudeau is not a feminist superhero by @LK_Pennington

9 Signs you may be living with childhood trauma – and what you can do about it via @WomanAsSubject

Cross-posted from: Woman as Subject
Originally published: 04.09.16

After I left home at 18, it took me a while to figure out that I was damaged. I had assumed my upbringing was normal and had no idea that I had spent years being traumatised by the violence and abuse I suffered at the hands of my father (which you can read more about here). I first discovered the concept of therapy at University when a friend recommended I went along. Talking about your problems was not something that working class people did and I don’t think I had any idea what counselling was. 20 years later, and I’m a qualified counsellor and have been working with trauma for many years. In the process I’ve learnt much about both the immediate and long term effects of childhood trauma and have unwittingly discovered a lot about myself.

Experiencing a single traumatic event such as an accident or the death of a parent may lead to the development of PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) which you can read more about here, but this article is more concerned with what happens when you are repeatedly exposed to traumatic events as a result of living in a violent or abusive home. This can cause you to live with the effects of complex developmental trauma which may become so embedded that you consider them a part of your personality. You may be experiencing the effects of complex trauma without realising. You may even have been told that you have a personality disorder (borderline or schizoid) which might add to the feeling that there is something wrong with you. 
Read more 9 Signs you may be living with childhood trauma – and what you can do about it via @WomanAsSubject

TRIGGERED BY MY VACUUM CLEANER – A RANT ABOUT ABUSE OF WORDS

Cross-posted from: Extreme Crochet
Originally published: 20.02.16
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We live in an era where the terms ‘triggered’ and ‘trigger’ are no longer used to describe the experience of someone with PTSD but that of any one who can’t handle words or situations that make them feel uncomfortable. I thought I’d set the record straight on this as I’m sick of this word being used out of context. I’m also pretty pissed off that the *special snowflake* community has turned a way of me being able to express my trauma, into a laughing stock.

I have never been formally diagnosed with PTSD, I’ve had therapy and been on courses for PTSD but never had the box ticked. It seems it’s an exercise in hoop jumping before they’ll do this. I’m in no doubt that I have PTSD and neither have the people who have been involved in my care. ‘Triggers’ was a word that I quickly came acquainted with and it was useful to know.

 


Read more TRIGGERED BY MY VACUUM CLEANER – A RANT ABOUT ABUSE OF WORDS