I dial the number anxiously and I dial ahead of the prompts because I’ve called enough times already to know to dial 6 for appointments.
I’ve already called the Cancer clinic at my local hospital twice this week, this time I was calling to ensure that the receptionist at the clinic had followed through with my requests from my Monday conversation with a different receptionist. My appointment was today, yet I was filled with dread at the idea of going because I had this sneaking suspicion that although I had requested a female Gynecologist already this week that they wouldn’t be following it through.

A woman answers, “Gynecologist Cancer Clinic , how may I help you today?”

“Hi, so I have an appointment today and have actually already called up about this but I just wanted to check who my Doctor is today and confirm my request?”

“Oh of course” she replies cheerfully and asks me my details to confirm my appointment.
I wait silently and listen to her fingers rapidly type my details in.

 I’m requesting a female Gynocologist because over the last two weeks I have been suffering from panic attacks, anxiety, suicidal ideologies, disassociation and depression, I have been numb to my life for 2 weeks because of sexual abuse perpetrated by what we now believe was carried out by not one but possibly two seperate males.
In my memory I am young (Maybe 7-8 or 9) there is a man, and he is violently shoving his penis into my mouth, I am trying to shake my head back and forth to deter him while I am lying down with tears streaming down my face, I can feel the once warm tears pooling in my ears and I clamp my teeth closed while he tries to force it in, my saliva and what ever else is gathering in stringy globs at the sides of my partially closed mouth.
I am weak, I am small, and he is too strong for me to fight and it is too dark to see who it is.
This memory is not like the others, my original abuser was never violent with me as far as I knew, and I always knew it was him, this one is different.
I don’t know who he is, but what I do know is that who ever it is, is much rougher than I was used to. When I took this to my therapist he said “if it were him you’d know”. And now when I think back… I could have been anyone.

Now I don’t know about you but I believe  a memory where I am struggling in the dark as a child while crying with someones penis being forced into my mouth is a good enough reason not to want a man looking inside my vagina today. Okay? Thanks.

“Okay Antanika, your appointment is at 1:50 and your Dr. today is Dr Tom Gyno”

“Oh” I answer her, feeling the fury bubbling inside my chest.

“I called earlier this week and asked for a female Dr and the man I spoke to said I shouldn’t be a problem and that he would see what he could do”….

She’s quiet for a moment and then says robotically “Well, we always have a female registrar on with the male doctors at all times…”

I was silent, my throat becoming thick and the tears are headed straight for my eyes.
I wasn’t about to take this.

“I only ask you see because I am a survivor of sexual abuse and I have had a really full on week of it all and I can’t have a male Doctor, not today. Not this week.” I say, as sternly as I can without being a demanding bitch.

“Oh, well we always have a female registrar on staff and in with the appointments, so you have no need to worry”…

“So I can’t have a female Doctor today?”

“Well no you’re in with Dr Tom Gyno but he will absolutely have a female registrar in with him at all times…”

Well thats great, because there was a woman down the hall way where I was sexually abused for all those years, so that means nothing to me and my heart drops because I know she’s not listening to me at a time where she should be. I feel like she isn’t seeing how important this is to me. And while I am sure it is out of her hands, it is important that she ensures that I am booked in with a female, for obvious reasons. I even requested it at my last appointment 6 months earlier for my next appointment, which is now.
If I can’t have a female Gynocologist at my request then just bloody tell me so I can find a new one myself.

“When you get here I encourage you to come to the counter and one of the registrars will come talk to you about this, it will be kept quiet so not to embarrass anyone…”

Embarrass? This isn’t embarrassing for me…this is infuriating for me, I want to yell down the phone at her.

“Okay? So there is no chance of me having a female Dr today?” I ask again

“No , but the registrar will stay with you throughout the time…” she repeats.

I get off the phone and walk outside to my husband.

“Nope” a sigh as I flop onto a chair.
He’s mad, he’s searching the net to try and find rules surrounding this but comes up short. I’m anxious, tearful and frustrated, they’re still expecting me at my appointment and I just can’t do it, not today.

It shouldn’t be this big a deal, it shouldn’t even be something I have to worry about. I shouldn’t have to act like a brat to get what I want, I shouldn’t even have to write about this because this shouldn’t be a thing.

If they just gave me an appointment with a female from the beginning as I requested, all of this hurt and frustration could be avoided.
I wouldn’t have to fear my appointment to make sure my pre-cancerous cells haven’t come back, pap smears are awkward enough as it is without throwing a dose of sexual abuse triggers into the mix.
I’ve been to this clinic about 5ish times now and I’ve requested a female every time and not once has anyone followed through with this.
This is important to me and to my healing yet, I am not being heard.
My voice isn’t being heard.
Do they expect women like me to just deal with this?

My husband isn’t even allowed down there for pleasure at the moment, so why the hell would I allow a man I don’t know down there? Just because a woman is watching doesn’t change the fact its a man shoving a thing inside me and uncomfortably opening up my vagina. And It’s that I’ll worry he will do something to me, its the fact that it’s a man.
Don’t get me wrong I have no issues with men being Gynocologists, even most other women don’t even mind being seen by a male Gyno. (See a study on preferences in Gynos here. )
I even had a male midwife and I had a male obstetrician for one of my pregnancies and at the time I had not been dealing with the trauma of my childhood and wasn’t as sensitive as I am now. I also had met these men on various occasions throughout my pregnancy before they delivered my child.
But that doesn’t change the fact that now, for me, its not okay.

Throwing any kind of sexual trauma survivor who’s struggling with that sexual trauma into a room with a man they haven’t met to stick  an object inside her, after requesting a woman is asking for issues. Issues that can not be solved by placing another woman in the room.

I am done putting my boundaries aside because its easier for someone else. I am done feeling like my issue with this is not important enough to have my requests followed through with.

Sexual abuse or not, what are your experiences with this?

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12 thoughts

  1. I want to rip this monster apart. And when will people in the medical field stop being so ignorant?! The day is here that all medical professionals, down to administrative people, should be trained in what trauma is and how to respond.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree they absolutely should.
      It wouldn’t be hard to.

      Don’t worry me too, if only I knew who he was? Lol… I kid let’s be honesty that guy would get away with it too.

      Like

  2. Omg. Those people suck. I would never have a male doctor of any type. Fortunately, no one has ever questioned this decision of mine. I even have problems with female gyn doctors and female dentists. A male one could totally do me in mentally. I’m so sorry that this happens to you.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I always see a female and the same one. I used to write down what I needed to say because others can be so insensitive that my emotions would tend to make me speechless. I give you great credit for not tearing someones head off. How did you remain so courteous?

    “No, I need a woman doctor. If it isn’t booked with a female physician I won’t be coming.”

    And on the day of? “Not a woman doctor? Cancel and re-book a woman doctor as I requested. I made it very clear what my need were.”
    They don’t need to know why either if you’d rather not share why. There are many many women who have not had terrified childhoods who only see a female doctor so requiring one is very usual. Just say what you need, expect and require. If not honored, cancel even if it’s an hour beforehand saying your needs were ignored.
    It is true that the squeaky wheel gets the grease. Demand (politely), don’t ask. State positively that if it isn’t a woman you won’t be coming and that you expect a call if something changes and you will re-book.

    You are doing everything right. If they don’t pay attention and don’t follow through with your clear instructions, then the booking mess-up or late cancellation is on them…and I’d tell them that.

    For years I had to always write these things down first because others upset me so. But that is also the beauty of the phone because I could work on speaking up with a bit of safety having to deal with a voice not a person in the present. When a voice is stolen such as mine was, and when all people become threatening and I feel fearful of them, it is like moving mountains getting my voice back. I still can’t speak up for myself in vulnerable times with ease. I tend to clam up.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. On top of a history of childhood sexual abuse, I was assaulted by a male doctor, during an exam. So yeah – I ALWAYS have to see a female doc for any pelvic exams, Pap smears, etc. It’s not an option! If it means I wait a little longer to get an appointment, then I wait. But there is no way I will ever be able to have a male doctor for these appointment!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I am so sorry you are experiencing this so often! They definetely need to be trained appropriately to be more empathetic towards sexual trauma! I had a bad experience with a male Gyno, although my ex boyfriend was there at the time..Since then, I have never felt comfortable anywhere near a male doctor. Hugs to you! I feel your frustration.xx

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I felt terribly for you as I read this. I’m in disbelief and appalled by the ignorance of this medical office; their manner of handling the situation was very uninformed, to say the least. I wonder what could be done to bring their errors and misinformation to their attention. A letter? (if you have the energy for this, or perhaps someone else who lives in the same vicinity as you could take up the issue).

    I’ve not come across this level of ignorance in my efforts to look after my health. I plan for and request female practitioners for every kind of health intervention whenever I can — I’m just more comfortable that way. To your credit, I think you handled the situation very well. I hope you can take a moment to breathe…. and search for and find a female practitioner who is right for you (I know that’s not always easy).

    Sending you a ton of support!!

    A.

    Like

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