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. …
Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust is here.
Sarah Graham: Feminism, journalism, literature, culture, life, love, and interviews with interesting women. Twitter @SarahGraham7