I’ve been disillusioned by Intactivists for a while now. Not because I disagree with genital integrity. I don’t. Obviously. I resonate heartily with motivations to abolish genital mutilation for all genders. The right to genital integrity is a natural component of the right to bodily autonomy. But I hold deep contempt for tactics that mimic […]
On August 18, the Annals of Internal Medicine published an article, called, “Our Family Secrets,” which highlighted two stories of medical sexual abuse of women in order to explore the culture of patient abuse. The piece ends with the author stating, “I know this is my silence to break.” And in doing so, the thousands […]
We all know the onus isn’t on women to behave, act, or dress a certain way in order to not be raped. Yet, because the dominant culture has yet to fully insist that men be held accountable for their actions, many of us generally take certain precautions in an attempt to keep ourselves safer. Which led […]
The bloody scenes of women are always suspect. Our insides, the things our bodies expel – the mucous, the shedding, the clots and clumps of uterine lining and pre-formed babies. We must keep it neat. We must follow the rules. ………………………. “I can’t find you. For three days you’re consumed…. I don’t know where you […]
It’s no secret that no one really cares about women’s safety. Especially not when there’s a fetus at stake. One only needs to look at the current standards of care in birth to see how little we care about women’s health…
I’m excited to offer this introductory conversation into “Activism in the Birth Room” with Aimee Brill of Doula Trainings International. As Aimee and I started brainstorming about how to be sure to package this content in just the right way, we found that there are really several parts to this discussion, all of which deserve their […]
The statistical disparity is telling. Birthing folks are not offered support for their choices. Forced cesareans are the extreme examples of the brutal birth culture of slapping women around until they mouse-up or shut up or say, “yes, sir.” But there are countless other ways birthing people endure harsh treatment, from forced vaginal exams to forced separation from their babies to everything in between. One woman’s gruesome, filmed, forced episiotomy from last year highlights this rampant culture of mental abuse and hospital-sanctioned rape. She’s having trouble finding a lawyer to take her case – even with the damning footage. Because the baby is okay. And apparently slicing a woman’s vagina twelve times like she’s a swath of fabric on the counter at JoAnn’s isn’t a mutilating enough injury. What does this say about the established value of women in the judicial system? Did we ever actually come off the shelf as baby-making containers?
Women have held their place as an inhuman conceptual idea – one that is clothed in the dirty rags of one’s imagination so as to maintain a believable discourse. Society, at large, feels the need to leave it that way because as soon as we begin to actually listen to women’s stories and experiences it becomes complicated. We can no longer maintain our pretend image of what kinds of women make certain choices. We have to begin to acknowledge that choices are personal, that women are best positioned to know what is best for themselves and their families, and that women, alone, should be held with the responsibility and right of making their own healthcare decisions.
In looking back, will we see a history that illuminates the boldness of folks with a uterus – one defined by insistent non-compromise? Or will our struggle be laced with concessions, excused by ourselves and society, named baby-steps and progress and forward thinking?
We can’t eliminate gender-based violence, while we ignore the way we usher so many women into parenthood on the heels of violence, itself.