What’s Birth Rape?

I can’t possibly explain birth rape better than Amity Reed at the f word:

 

A woman who is raped while giving birth does not experience the assault in a way that fits neatly within the typical definitions we hold true in civilised society. A penis is usually nowhere to be found in the story and the perpetrator may not even possess one. But fingers, hands, suction cups, forceps, needles and scissors… these are the tools of birth rape and they are wielded with as much force and as little consent as if a stranger grabbed a passer-by off the street and tied her up before having his way with her. Women are slapped, told to shut up, stop making noise and a nuisance of themselves, that they deserve this, that they shouldn’t have opened their legs nine months ago if they didn’t want to open them now. They are threatened, intimidated and bullied into submitting to procedures they do not need and interventions they do not want. Some are physically restrained from moving, their legs held open or their stomachs pushed on.

 

Birth rape is the violence and assault women are subjected to by those they are trusting to safely care for them while they give birth. It is ignoring a woman’s refusal of procedure. It is anything which in any other situation would be considered assault/battery. It is the culture of intimidation, threats and coercion prevalent in hospitals today, which has even spread to some midwives.

Those who abuse pregnant and birthing women under the guise of care giving need to be called to account. Sadly, most people are unwilling to admit women are routinely assaulted by doctors, nurses and midwives. Women need to tell their stories so that one day these abusers can’t hide behind claims of doing their jobs to avoid the legal and professional repercussions of their abuse.

93 comments on “What’s Birth Rape?

  1. This is what I went thru at bellevue hospital in manhattan. They even went so far as to falsify medical redords, and place a security guard at my door to keep me from leaving and seeking care elsewhere. I ended up having a c-section, in which they dropped the knife, cut my hip and didn’t bother stitching the gash. It is a complete violation of the trust we as women in labor afford those who are supposed to care for us.

    • Don’t forget that after she was born they wouldn’t allow you a breast pump, so now you can’t breastfeed, and constantly ignored your requests for your medicine, which you can not go without.

      I also believe they ignored your request for pain medicine, on top of the medicine which you were prescribed, and I had to track down the nurse 3-4 times over the course of an hour to keep pestering them about getting it done.

      I also believe the staff was making fun of you (and your guests) behind your/their backs, were nasty and snarky with you to your face while pretending to have your best interests in place, spelled your daughter’s name wrong, etc.

      Bellevue is the worst hospital ever.

    • Oh yeah, and the internal stitches from the c-section (that you didn’t want) got infected because they did them wrong and were sticking out of the wound.

    • Hello,
      I am writing a paper for my english class about Birth Rape, up until a few months ago I had no idea that any of this happened. If anyone is interested in telling me your story to get show the impact it has on females. please email me at alisa-marie15@outlook.com

  2. Pingback: Birth Really Does Matter « The Mahogany Way Birth Cafe

  3. There is a HUGE difference between RAPE and the violent intervention that some women experience during childbirth, after such a traumatic experience you have legal avenues available to go to and report experiences to a medical board and others to stop this happening to other women. I am a rape 4 times, incest and torture survivor and believe the psychiatric care l am now on will help me in the years to come, however claiming or associating rape to what is now called BIRTH RAPE is ludicrous. I have no doubt the trauma for these women is very real but find another term for it, it resembles actual rape in no way, shape or form!

    • Many women who have survived “real” rape have said their birth rape was as bad or worse. And the FBI’s legal definition of rape includes having anything inserted in your genitals without your consent, which would also cover vaginal exams, amniotomy and many other procedures. Having it done by a doctor nurse or midwife does not make it any less an act of violence and, yes, rape. I’m very sorry for your experiences, I hope you can find some way to heal,but you don’t get to tell women who have been violated what they can call their experience.

    • I’m an incest, rape and molestation survivor too, and I can think of no better term to define this BRUTAL act.

    • In SA someone can be “raped” by numerous objects, not just by a penis. “Raping” isnt neccessarily sexualy motivated… Birth Rape is a correct term! It cannot be anythin else! Your basic right of choice is taken from you!

    • Objects are inserted into the vagina and severe trauma caused to the sexual organs without consent and, in fact, often against the express wishes of the victim. I’m not sure what part of this fails to fit the definition of rape.

    • Have you ever been birth raped? No? Then how could you make the comparison?

      I’ve been raped a number of times, actually, and recovered quite well. Then I experienced birth rape. I am here to tell you that birth rape is, by far, the WORST sexual trauma I have ever experienced in my life. It was the most horrific experience I have ever had. It broke something inside of me that my “actual rape”s never managed to break.

      Having anything inserted into your vagina against your will is rape. Period.

      In the birthing circumstance (& allow me to point out that birth IS a sexual experience), you typically have an IV in your wrist, an epidural in your spine, & a foley bulb catheter in your bladder. YOU COULDN’T WALK OUT IF YOU TRIED.

      So there you are, restrained and in sheer terror for your life and your baby’s life, with random strangers sticking their fingers and other implements up you without your consent. You have no control. You’re probably exhausted, haven’t had food or water in hours and hours, and they’re telling you if you don’t get this baby out NOW, they’re going to CUT YOU OPEN.

      Explain to me how this is not rape? How is this not sexual torture?

      Shame on you.

      • This is pathetic. When a doctor allows you a certain amount of time to push the baby out, and the baby isn’t coming out, it is a risk for both you and the baby, so in order for the baby to come out they need assistance of tools or a c-section. How is it that you think you know better than a doctor who has spent 10+ years of his/her life learning about their profession, when you on the other hand have had no experience delivering a baby? A woman decides to get pregnant and in order to deliver a baby safely they go to a hospital to be monitored. There are procedures doctors do to make sure that the baby is delivered safely and both the baby and the mother are safe. Having an IV is to deliver you fluids so you don’t get dehydrated, an epidural is to relieve you of your pain, nurses check your cervix to see how many centimeters you are dilated, and in order for that to happen they have to use their fingers. For crying out loud can you get educated please?! So many women complain about so many damn things when in reality, we have it so much better than a large portion of people on this planet!! I am so sick of people rambling about things that don’t matter when there are many more and much bigger problems in this world, be grateful for the shit that you have!!

        • Charlotte, I almost didn’t approve your comment, but you’d just feel like you won if I didn’t.

          I am not the one who is uneducated here. For example, I have had 4 children, 1 by cesarean and 3 at home. I have studied birth for 14 years. I have never had an epidural. I only ever had an IV with my eldest because they were inducing me. Strangely, women have these things called MOUTHS that let them stay hydrated during labour, except in extreme circumstances.

          Cervical checks, like the majority of hospital procedures you mistakenly believe “keep you safe” are not only completely unnecessary (I haven’t had one since I had my first child) but often detrimental. They are certainly not so vital that they need to be done if the mother is saying she doesn’t want one.Please do some research on evidence based maternity practices. You’ll find that most of the things done in hospital are actually the opposite of what the evidence shows is safe and healthy.

          NO ONE is claiming, or has ever claimed, that having a cesarean or cervical exams or an instrumental delivery, in and of themselves, is birth rape. They are, however, if the women has said no. Doctors are not gods and they do not have to live with the consequences if they are wrong. No one cares more about the baby’s health than it’s mother except in extremely rare circumstances.

          Also, you may only be able to care about one thing in the world, but most of us can manage a great deal more than that. This is a major issue, it is a feminist issue, a reproductive rights issue and a basic human decency issue. How a women’s birth goes affects how she parents and it affects the mental and physical health of mother and child. If the health of our next generation isn’t important, I have no idea what is.

          • First off, “We am not…” are you serious right now?

            Secondly, if the baby dies, because you wouldn’t allowthe doctor to do their job, he would be fired for mmalpractice, and sued 6 ways from Sunday. So yes, in those situations, they are completely responsible for what happens in that operating room.

            So, what you’re saying, is that if your baby is stuck, and suffocating, and the doctor says “I’m going to have to go in there” and you tell them no, because that’s rape, and they were to allow your baby to die because you stopped them, you’d be okay with that?

            Glad you’re not my parent.

          • Part of me thinks you’re trolling, but part thinks you might actually be serious with this nonsense, so I’m giving you the benefit of the doubt. First of all, no woman is going to refuse to allow a doctor to do something “because that’s rape”. It’s the LACK OF CONSENT that makes it rape. I’m not sure why this concept is so difficult. I’m not even going to touch on the more insane idea that any women would refuse a genuinely needed procedure to save her child. Many, many women consent to completely unnecessary procedures because a doctor tells them it’s needed to “save” their baby and they trust their doctor.

            Also, a woman who refuses to consent to a procedure and loses her baby might try to sue, but it would immediately be thrown out because she went against medical advice. So, nice try at scaremongering there. With the rare except of cerebral palsy cases, even women whose doctors seriously abused them and/or injured their babies have trouble getting anyone to take their case so long as both mother and baby are alive and the injury wasn’t the result of actual negligence.

            By the way, it is NEVER a doctor’s “job” to do things to a conscious, competent patient without their consent or against that patient’s expressly stated wishes.

            Fyi, if you’re going to correct something that was obviously a typo in such a snotty tone, you might want to make sure your own post doesn’t have any errors.

          • Anon74 thank you for writing this! You are a superlative writer and I’ve learned a lot here. I’ve always been a feminist but never had children so don’t pay much attention bit you are very eloquent and well informed and I feel so much more enlightened on this issue and your work! Thank you for dealing with dumbass commentators and being a light for other women. Caroline Forbes

        • My doctor wanted to fist me to ‘make sure my previous incision hadn’t opened’ during my vaginal birth after c-section and because I wrote that I would not consent to that specific procedure, she came in screaming at me and informed me I couldn’t tell her what she was allowed to do to MY body. Cervical exams are unneccesary and very little help. I had one done after 6 hours of labor and was only at a 3. I was told I wasn’tprogressing and needed induced. After 3 hours of fighting the doctor and telling her I was exhausted and needed to rest (I hadn’t hardly slept in 5 days because my husband told me he wanted a divorce and I was distraught and couldn’t stop crying. I finally fell asleep and a few hours later went into labor). She told me I was wasting her time and when her screaming and telling me I didn’t know what I was doing, that I had to obey her, that I was going to kill my baby, she finally told me to go home since I was wasting her time and wouldn’t obey her. I had my daughter not even 45 minutes later on my bathroom floor and had a 45 minute drive home that my ex rushed home and I was feeling the urge to push on the highway. We were limited in options on hospitals and didn’t have time to make it to the other either. But that doctor very much abused me. She also threatened to break my water so I’d have to stay

          • I’m very sorry you were treated that way. I wish there were some way to sanction doctors who act like that, but no one seems to care. Hopefully that’s changing with so many speaking out.

        • Charlotte,

          Please don’t assume these women here are uneducated or in-experienced – you have no idea of their background. Educate yourself on the countless experience of many women regarding birth-rape and the countless medics who have testified to having witnessed these.

          I myself had my first child in hospital and was induced against my wishes – a sweep was performed without informing me whilst doing a vaginal examination – then my waters were broken and I was given pethidine. I had only been labouring for a couple of hours and just wanted to be left alone to rest. Swiftly after that the baby came (thankfully no cutting or tearing) then I immediately witnessed 2 midwives pulling on the umbilical cord until it snapped. Thankfully low enough down to then pull it with the remainder of the cord.

          I was so stressed with the events that I wondered if they had damaged the womb with all this rushing and forcing. There was no reason for it other then the fact that it was in the middle of the night and midwives were changing shifts and getting impatient. I wrote a complaint letter and received an apology and reassurance that my womb wasn’t damaged.

          I don’t claim to have been raped – thankfully the one part of my birth plan they did stick to was no male doctors or staff. If men were involved in any of these actions, I would have felt violated. I put it all down to poor judgement and haste from the midwives – but I count myself amongst the lucky ones – it wasn’t as peaceful as it could have been – but it could have been so much worse. Please read theunnecesarean.com and educate yourself!

          Regarding this service that you defend in terms of these types of violent interventions – let me testify that my following two births were at home, no time to get to hospital – both in under an hour without painkiller, midwife, no cutting, no tearing, just joyful and without stress. Women after all – have been designed to birth children – with or without an education. We are grateful to the medical profession – but they are assistants, not mothers or life-givers.

        • You need to read and learn things before you write about them.. Did you not know that a woman’s body naturally pushes out the baby eventually even if she were to not push or in some cases gentle pushing is needed. If hospitals weren’t so impatient to get the baby out and free up a room then our bodies would be able to naturally birth at our own correct speed. Your body and baby know when it’s time in most cases unless you are at risk for something that would cause complications..

          • My pelvis is fused. I was the survivor of severe sexual trauma as a child but had no idea that I had sustained an injury that had caused this until my pregnancy. So I had no idea I was at risk, luckily there is some sort of timetable for labor to be seen as not progressing normally. All womens bodies can not “push out a child” at any speed. My child is alive due to medical intervention, I would have labored until death had this not been the case not to mention the likelyhood that my child would have been stillborn. It was other women who made it seem as if I had somehow failed or that my childs birth was any less miraculous because I required a c-section.

          • No one here objects to required and consented to medical interventions. We’re against forced, non-informed, non-consensual interventions, especially those which involve insertion of any fingers or objects against the will of the woman.

        • Ok im young and i havent been raped or have had these experiences…. But my best frien who is only 15 and pregnant was birth raped… And when someone anyone drives a fucking tool or hand or fingers or anything while your laying helpless on a bed with wires and tubed sticking out of u…. It is rape… Sure thet do need to stick thier fingers in to measure and to help… But why dont you Charlotte go gt pregnant and go and experience it for your self… If YOU were more educated of rape then u would have had a different view…

        • Charlotte, your comments are pretty ill informed and obviously not formed, from traumatic experiences, like so many of the women who posted here. You’re advice is for people who have experienced trauma to shut up! I believe you may do well to become educated and informed with life experience and maybe realise that medical intervention can be brutal, in situations where it is delivered by people who don’t care for the well being or future of the patients.

    • Please remember that rape is rape, and just because you’ve survived a certain kind of rape, or multiple kinds of rape, doesn’t mean you should downplay anyone’s idea of rape. To me that’s like saying male rape isn’t ligitament- rape is rape, whether it’s a rape you’ve experienced or not. And if someone feels that they were raped during their experience with birth, than we need to to have empathy. I’m a rape survivor myself, and multiple forms of molestation, and what I’ve learned is to never downplay someone’s trauma. My trauma may be different than yours, but it’s still a daily struggle for me to cope with, and to call someone’s rape illegitimate because you haven’t gone through it, is simply rude to me.

  4. At first I thought that rape was a strong word for this. Then I thought of what I had to endure during childbirth and slightly avoid the same thing when it came to forceps by a male dr that was not my OB. I felt like he was a pervert and the way he presented himself was very unprofessional and I did not want him down there any longer. So I got rid of him, do YES I can see how this is a firm of rape, some stranger trying to convince my OB to shove a foreign object into my Vagina to “get the baby out”. It’s scary and he wouldn’t say why. So yes it seems to me that that’s a form of rape….. I told them that that was not an option, so c-section it was, after fighting the c-section for an hour. It’s really disappointing when you can’t give birth the way you’ve planned and it’s esalarming to find a strange man that youve never met staring at your crotch touching you and wanting to shove an object into your vagina to get the baby.

  5. Anon74 firstly have the decency to list your name as l have if you choose to reply to my comments, secondly l am Not disagreeing that what these women are experiencing is not a traumatic event just that another term could be best served to describe it, l stand by my earlier comments and will continue to do so. The survivors of these traumatic events should get together and solidify their complaints especially if it is happening at a few particular hospitals and those associated doctors. Get help for the emotional trauma they are experiencing as l have for my problems, Perhaps they could get together as a support network to help each other and that their partners could also go to to understand how devastating it was and continues to be in their lives. Finally l wish them all well with their lovely bundles of joy both now and in the coming years.

    • I’m anonymous because this is my site and after my husband received death threats for a far less controversial site, I choose to protect my family and remain anonymous.

      There is a difference between birth trauma and birth rape. Birth rape, in most cases, fits the FBI’s recently revised legal definition of rape http://blogs.justice.gov/main/archives/1801

      “The penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim.”

  6. Lady…you sound very close-minded, and I am a rape and incest, molestation survivor, my dad beat my mom to a pulp my whole entire life, you are not the only one in the world that has been through crap. I’m sure you are damaged by what has happened to you, but so are these women, and they have gotten to together to create a term for what has happened to them. Doctors have shoved forceps into these women against there will, gave epistomy’s the wrong way, didn’t stitch up there body’s correctly, all of these things are against these women’s will. Not having a caring doctor in a labor situation can lead to all types of problems and buturing of the female organs, I know these women happen to be very much suffering the same as a rape victim, they most likely blame themselves, have repeated flashbacks of the pain and not being in control of the situation just like rape victims. One friend of mine was forced to puch a 9 pound baby out and she can’t even laugh or sneeze, or she will urinate on herself, not to mention how the husband acts after not just the change in weight but the change in sex when things don’t go right. Other things can happen too, like vaginal and uterine prolapse, why don’t you do some medical research and get an idea what that is like, or how about rectocele. I am a medical student and I can’t even imagine how much pain, and the after math of what these women go through, not to mention body disfigurement. This is the name that women have come up with that have suffered malpractice in their labor. I think if you have suffered alot you should be a little more sympathetic, it is really self-centered to be like, “Oh that’s not like my situation.” I don’t think that is right, you should educate yourself on things that can go wrong with labor, focusing on anothers suffering can help you take the focus off your own, focusing on what happened to only you will only make your situation worse, as victims ourselves we have to look at the bigger picture and realize we are not alone and we can all stand together in sufferings as women and help one another. God Bless All

  7. And..It looks like they are coming together to make a support group right here on line, and I support birth rape victims, and all rape victims in the road to recovery.

  8. Whilst you are certainly entitled to your opinion, so too am l entitled to mine. I choose to disagree with you and that is the bottom line. And no l am Not closed minded about what these women have been through, if you had read through what l said fully it was Not to deny what had happened to these women only to find something else to call it.

    • My first ever birth experience was a traumatic delivery during which the OB shoved my daughter back inside of me after her head was already out… twice. Imagine that, if you can. She was pushed. back. inside.

      The room was full of chaos and my daughter was eventually ripped out of me, dead. She was over 12 pounds, and everyone was focused on getting her to breathe and come back to us. When the swarm of people left the room – including my husband, to be with my daughter – the doctor came back in. We were alone. Without warning he shoved his arm up my vagina and into my body. He was elbow deep, ripping placenta from my the walls of my womb. He did it aggressively, without warning, and when I cried out and gasped out a question about what he was doing he informed me that I was not a ‘typical’ delivery. He didn’t warn me, prepare me, try to be gentle (I felt his watch under his gloves), or otherwise make any attempt to behave remotely humanely towards me.

      I was ALONE IN A ROOM WITH A MASKED MAN ELBOW-DEEP IN MY VAGINA. I was terrified, traumatized, and left with damage that is still here 9 years later. Could you please tell me, in your expert opinion, what happened to me in that room? I am brand new to this term, birth rape. It offends me. It hurts my feelings. It speaks to my PTSD and my physical scars… but what else do you call what happened to me? What do you call a man tearing around a woman’s vagina and womb without warning, without consent, without witnesses to the medical necessity?

      Eight weeks later the same man, at my postpartum visit, sliced my scarring open the entire length up the inside of my vagina, and then BURNED it with a cautery knife. Once again, he had no consent. (Only an ‘exam’ was consented to.) He gave no warning. He used objects to violate my intimate places. Please, woman. Please, you who knows… tell me what I went through. Tell me I was not medically raped. Tell me what this is.

      But let me warn you of this; changing the term to fit your own personal comfort level doesn’t change what happened. It won’t undo the trauma. The scars won’t go away. I won’t suddenly be able to hold my own urine. I won’t stop being deathly afraid of vaginal exams and pap smears. Changing the term doesn’t change anything for me, or for you, or for any other woman. I hate the term rape. I have seen what rape does to a person. Given the definition, however – (pay attention to that… to the definition, NOT your discomfort ) – I do not know another word for it. If you do, please enlighten me… and God bless you if you can.

      • I am so sorry for your experience. It sounds horrific. If you feel up to it, please file a complaint against him. Even if it doesn’t immediately make a difference (it should result in immediate termination and charges as far as I’m concerned), it will go on his record and further complaints will eventually end up with him getting fired. It’s likely he already has complaints and your report may be all that’s needed.

        I hope your daughter is ok now, that you have supportive family/friends and that somehow you find a path to healing from your horrific experiences.

        • Anon74, she stated in her post that her daughter is NOT okay…that her daughter died during the birth. Just read more clearly next time.

          • I did read that, Shon, I was just hoping that they were able to revive her baby. I know of several women who have had babies who were technically dead at birth who were revived.

            I apologise deeply for any pain I may have caused if this was not the case.

          • I apparently replied under the wrong comment a minute ago. Sorry!
            They did bring her back, but with lasting damage. The recovery was extensive. I apologize that I did not word that more clearly. I was in such shock from reading the article that I did not articulate well. She is a beautiful, growing girl. I did try to get this put on record for that doctor but he had not recorded the birth the way it happened. He put it in very different terms, which is itself quite upsetting. I did leave my feedback online so that women going to the site at least know to look up the maneuvers he used on us before going to him.

          • I did start an online support group for us. It is on Facebook – Traumatic Birth Stories and Support. There are so many women who come out of birth feeling traumatized and violated. It is truly upsetting.

      • I feel for you! I too had a horrible forceps delivery and my baby was ripped out of me. She was sick for a few weeks, even turning blue on me once, but healed and was healthy after that. I lost a lot of blood, broken tailbone, uterus felt like it was falling out of me and severe lacerations. My doctors partner delivered me and he was nasty and mean like it was my fault my baby had fetal distress during the labor. I went to my doctor for my 6 week check-up and he came in the room all kinds of pissed off. I didn’t know what his problem was. He rammed a speculum up me and I didn’t even feel healed….horrible pain. Then he tells me I could resume having intercourse and storms out and slams the door in my face. Short version of a long story. I felt like it was birth rape and have had 38 years of PTSD for it. Went to a wonderful women doctor for my next two deliveries and never experienced anything similar to the first monsters. I think some of these doctors just take these types of birth complications out on a women, I think that’s what happened to me. Forget doctor do no harm….they even do more harm than there would have been.

  9. This is all very horrifying, and just shows how careful women need to be when choosing their doctor for their birth. They should also have a loved one with them that they can trust.

    • They did bring her back, but with lasting damage. The recovery was extensive. I apologize that I did not word that more clearly. I was in such shock from reading the article that I did not articulate well. She is a beautiful, growing girl. I did try to get this put on record for that doctor but he had not recorded the birth the way it happened. He put it in very different terms, which is itself quite upsetting. I did leave my feedback online so that women going to the site at least know to look up the maneuvers he used on us before going to him.

  10. In my opinion, yes it would be traumatic. However all I would concerned about is getting the baby delivered safely. I, as a woman, would not care if someone slapped me or told me to shut up. Again at that point I just want my kid born healthily and if there’s no time to talk then so be it.

    • How misinformed you are Anon22. You dont care about being slapped about when in labour as long as the baby gets out. IT ISNT NECCESARY TO SLAP A WOMAN TO GET A BABY OUT! You SHOULD care.

      Why should it be ok to slap a woman who is in labour when it is a crime to slap a woman if she is standing at the kitchen sink?

      If you do not educate yourself a little better about the birth process and what happens in the maternity system you will quite likely end up damaged goods yourself. Who in their right mind says it is ok to beat me and abuse me at the most crucial and vulnerable time in their life? Do you not think that violence against a pregnant and labouring woman is also violence against her unborn child? What decent minded human being abuses an unborn child? What decent human being advocates physical, emotional and psychological abuse pf a labouring woman and her unborn child.

      Its a bit like saying its ok to force a woman to have sex against her will because after all she wanted to go out on a date and you dont care about being slapped around a bit as long as you got your date. That is called ‘date rape’ – it is STILL rape.

      Please do yourself a BIG favour and do not get pregnant UNTIL you have done some serious homework – for your own sake and that of your future children.

    • anon22 Are you actually a woman though? If you are, you have some growing up to do. Just because you are in need, does not entitle you to be abused. With that mindset how would we treat children, the elderly, the sick? This is utter nonsense, and extremely dangerous advice.

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  12. Wow, society has come so far with their audacity… I understand how one could be victimized by a brutal attack, whether it is rape, incest, molestation, or assault of any sort. But to sit there and say the “doctors, nurses and hospital staff” as a whole are vicious sex fiends (mind you, the intent was not sexual in nature) that are out to get you and humiliate you is just ignorant. I apologize for my strong words but I will not apologize for expressing my opinion. Also, while you are looking up the FBI’s definition of rape, why don’t you look up the classification as well. They are not holding women against their will and “attacking them with foreign objects.” They are bringing a life into this world the best way they know how. Let’s see you go have a baby on your own, no medical staff, and have that baby come breach. What are we going to do when all of these new terms and “crimes” prevent us from having any sort of medical care when we need it… Like we already have seen? I am NOT saying that women, men and children haven’t been victimized by ANY doctor or medical staff, what I am saying is quit throwing all medical professionals in the same category! Using a phrase like “BIRTH RAPE!” is meant to catch your eye, just as it did mine. Don’t let these catchy phrases rule your thought. If you are really this passionate about this topic, do some real research without bias. Don’t let all the bad people in the world cloud your vision and prevent you from seeing good in the world. I’m sorry for all the victims in the world, but please don’t make it EASIER to become a victim by lowering the threshold.

    • They are not holding women against their will and “attacking them with foreign objects.”

      Actually, they are. I’ve heard far too many stories of women screaming “NO!” while medical staff, and sometimes even their partners at the orders of medical staff, are forcibly held down while being penetrated by fingers or amniohooks or other medical instruments. I really don’t understand how people do not understand that this is rape. The motivation of the staff doesn’t matter. In no other profession or branch of medicine would you get away with ignoring the refusal of the person who hired you.

      Let’s see you go have a baby on your own, no medical staff, and have that baby come breach.

      Thanks, I have. 3 times. No breech babies,but I was prepared for that and know several women who have birthed breech babies either accidentally or on purpose with no professional. it actually amazes me that any women who have experienced birth rape return to the medical profession for any reason, much less birthing.

      Also, I don’t believe I’ve ever said or even implied anything about the medical profession as a whole. A very dear friend works as an L&D nurse and I know of many other nurses, and even a few doctors, who work to empower birthing women and respect their choices. There is, however, a very paternalistic culture in medicine that causes far too many to not only think they know better, but to also think that gives them the right to force procedures on people who refuse. OB’s are particularly bad for this behaviour, probably because all their patients are women and our society has a history of infantalizing women and believing we are incapable of making informed decisions about ourselves and our children.

    • Actually they are attacking us. I was held on the bed screaming no while my doctor and 2 nurses took turn shoving their whole hand in me to “get rid of the lip” that my cervix had left. I was later “allowed” to push through it.

      Because of what they did to me it took me weeks to connect to my son and i was not able to have an extended breast feeding relationship with him.

      I have been raped. Being birth raped was much more awful. I hope I never have to live through thst again.

        • Oh JustLostNow, that has made me well up big time. I felt the same way. My daughter was everybody else’s baby but mine. What they did to me took her away from me. I was then left to try and pick up the millions of tiny shattered pieces and try to put the impossible puzzle back together and somehow care for a child that really wasnt mine at all.

          I dont know how you get beyond that feeling and I wish I could tell you how and make it better for you but I dont know how. I can only suggest that you fight to find a councellor who will help you get well and work through what has been done to you so you can connect and so that if you choose to have another you will not be carrying the baggage of this birth experience. Please dont wait any longer. You may well have PTSD and that often comes with depression. This can be repaired with the right help.

          I was able to some extent to block it out but I was dramatically changed. I could never go back for another child (i wanted a whole bunch of them) and I do not trust the medical profession which could of course have a detrimental affect on my health outcomes. Neither could I stand to be around women who went back to have another baby. I couldnt understand how they could do that – not realising that not everyone went through what I went through. I didnt realise until many years later that I had subconsciously dropped all my friends who had more babies. I walked out on a doctor once who suggested that I better get a hurry on if I was going to have more kids. Well I guess ob/gyns and their midwife wives get treated like kings and queens when they have their babies. The trauma can have lasting affects on you, your family and your future life.

          Please dont wait to get help, you deserve better and your son needs his mother and he needs her to be well and connected. Watch him, he is probably trying desperately to connect with you as much as you want to connect with him. Mothers are the most important people on the planet.

          I can say though that my daughter is grown now and we are joined at the hip. We have a very good relationship and have a bond that wont be broken. I have never and will never tell her the story of her birth but she has realsied it was not the happy event it should have been.

          I truly wish for a speedy recovery for you,

          (( )) to you.

    • Rape, in whatever setting, is about control and power and not so much to do with sex. So no, hospital staff are not all sex fiends but they are about power and control. Power of another human being, power over a woman at her most vulnerable and indefensible, control over her body and her baby, control of hospital schedules and protocols, control of funding and costs and things that have nothing do with bringing a baby into the world.

      You do not have to have intended to cause harm to actually cause harm. If they cut off your leg by accident they still cut off your leg. So if they traumatise a woman and leave her with PTSD it doesnt matter what they were thinking when they did it, the thing is mostly they weren’t thinking at all, and if they were it was about themselves, about their schedule not the baby’s. At NO time is it EVER ok or even necessary to physically, emotionally or psychologically abuse or violate a woman to bring a baby into the world. NEVER. RAPE IS RAPE. If you knew what you were talking about you would know that this behaviour is absolutely counter-intuitive to bringing a child into the world safely. If you have children at some point in the future, prepare yourself and prepare yourself well because yes doctors and nurses use all sorts of techniques, including, humiliation and degradation, to coerce patients into complying with their wishes.

      And for your information, women are taking legal action against medical staff for abuses experienced during childbirth, hospitals are taking action against medical staff who are abusive bullies. Women ARE delivering babies safely at home. If you had an ounce of research under your belt you would know that healthy women with a healthy pregnancy are actually safer having their babies at home than in a hospital. Scientific research has proven it to be so.

    • Cteevee33, I am a perinatal nurse and a PhD student writing my dissertation on this subject because we nurses see it ALL THE TIME. I appreciate that you are trying to be fair to medical professionals, but as one, please let me tell you that this happens. A lot. Please please please do not diminish the pain and trauma of the women who experience obstetric violence. I won’t. I promise that. It happens more in some hospitals than others. In the hospital where I work, women are given no choices, their biological processes are not respected and the outcomes for the woman’s genital integrity and long term damage are quantifiably worse than in better hospitals. There are doctors who do not care. At all. They are impatient with nature’s process. And yes, as a woman who has been raped by a penis, I do think this is rape, too. In any context when a person inserts fingers, instruments or anything else into a woman’s vagina, especially forcefully and without explaining it to her the trauma is very similar and it meets the legal definition of rape. The physical consequences are worse. Here’s an example: There are docs in my hospital who will shove both hands into a vagina BEFORE the baby has descended into the vagina. When nothing is wrong. Why are they doing it? Because they can. And the severity of injuries which this causes is truly grotesque. And utterly unnecessary. The doctors who do not do this do not have the same horrible outcomes. THe women don’t know what is happening, so they think the baby caused the tear. No. Rape caused it.

  13. i know this is happening , this happend to my sister and i witness it as well, My sister was verbal abuse and the nurse that was suppose to help her was fustrated and took it out on her, the other sister physically push a pregnant women on the bed while she is in so much pain and all she wanted was to stand to ease the pain, these incidents happends in our local Hospitals like kalk broumer, Groote Schuur and most of all at retreat Maternity ward, Gud there the nurse are just plain rude, it is like they treat you like a nothing, But yet these people get away with it

  14. When I had my fourth child, I had a male doctor, though I had had a female for my previous births. I had had an episiotomy for all three births so obviously had a thick scar from those incisions. Having no anesthesia of any kind, I had horrendous burning and kept trying to pull my legs out of the stirrups all the while asking the doctor why I was burning so bad. It turned out I was tearing and he was just letting it happen. Can you imagine how thick that skin was after being cut and sewn three times!?! He had the audacity to tell my husband, “I thought she could do it”, as if I had some control over the flexibility. He totally ignored me as if they were my audience!

  15. I’ve been raped. I’ve been molested. I’ve been hurt and thrown away. I am a survivor who is still healing after 10 years of sexual trauma that ended 13 years ago. And all I feel for anyone who says they’ve been raped is heartache and compassion. I have nothing but sadness and hope for your healing, and I’m shocked that anyone on here could have the audacity to tell you whether or not you were raped. From one survivor to another, may you find peace and healing from this awful attack on what should have been one of the most beautiful days of your life. xo

  16. I was held down and had objects and body parts shoved into my vagina while I was fighting and screaming as loud and as long as I could. I had bruises on my arms and legs from being forcibly restrained. After this was done, my abdoman was cat open while I was strapped down to a bed screaming and crying. Would you call this rape?

    It happened at a hospital after a home birth transfer. It was done by health care professionals. It was rape, but it was birth rape because I was in labor at the time. In the end, I came home with a baby and PTSD.

      • Thank you. I’m 8 years out with a lawsuit (which I won) and countless hours of therapy including EMDR under my belt. I still can’t drive by the hospital without a flashback. There is no better word to describe what happened to me and countless other woman than rape. Rape is about control – violation of bodily integrity is the way this control is exerted by they rapist.

  17. why can’t you simply call it ‘birth trauma’? rape has a sexual connotation that should not be applied to insensitive doctors–unless of course they actually rape their patients.

    • Birth trauma can be caused by a difficult birth. Shoulder dystocia, cord prolapse, exceptionally fast labor etc. Birth rape involves the violation of your body against your will.

    • A birth can be traumatic without being birth rape. Why should women who have been violated have to change how they refer to something just because it makes others uncomfortable? Survivors of both “real rape” and “birth rape” have said that they were equally bad or that birth rape was worse. By LAW inserting anything in a person’s genitals without their consent is rape. Even if that person doing it is a doctor, nurse or midwife and tries to claim some “medical” excuse for their behaviour.

      Survivors should not even have to add the clarification of birth to it. Read the stories. If it was anyone but a medical profession who committed these crimes, you would never remotely attempt to claim it was anything other than rape.

    • ;slkdf;kajsdf! This is not about the doctor – it is about the victims and their sexual/reproductive organs! What they experienced towards the most intimate parts of their own bodies. Just because you become pregnant and give birth does not mean you automatically have no say over how your body is treated. Particularly since you have to deal with the damage to your own body and mind afterwards.

  18. There is no denying the horrors that certain doctor have committed on patients, but i think that labeling this “birth rape” ignores the larger issue at hand.
    The problem is doctors not doing what is best for the patient and going against their wishes and that is a problem that all patients can face, not just women who are giving birth.
    Perhaps an organization that dealt with corruption in the medical community would be more helpful then one that just focuses on women who give birth and ignoring people who are affected by this issue who do not give birth, (men, women who don’t wish to have children, male to female transgendered.)

  19. My deepest sympathy to any victims of horrible doctors but what is labeled here as birth rape seems to be a form of medical malpractice. Medical malpractice is a problem that affects women who are pregnant, women who aren’t, men and transgender individuals.
    Perhaps a more inclusive term like “medical rape” who work better in terms where the medical malpractice involves violating the wishes of the patient in any situation.
    I feel in our patriarchal society, women who give birth are given more respect then women who don’t, which is ridiculous. A women has the choice to not have children and the implications of the wording “birth rape” implies that people who don’t give birth aren’t affected by this, which is also ridiculous.
    Fully respect and support your cause, thank you for making me more aware of this issue.

  20. It is rape. It is as real as “conventional” rape. Just because the rapist wears a white gown it does not make it any different from any other vocious rape happening in a dark alley. I am a survivor of both “conventional” and birth rape, and found birth rape the far most vicious and traumatic of both. It was horrendous, and having my child present inside me while it happened makes it all the worse.

  21. whatever you call it…birth experience can be both physically traumatic and emotionally so. There is sometimes a coldness/insensitivity/lack of compassion amongst practicioners when they provide care for multitudes. Women are always imposed upon in this delicate position of vulnerability. My first child, there was conversation about the politics of the day, a nurse and relative pushed down on my stomach rather than let me raise up from supine position, and I was asked what did you expect..did you think it would be easy. Pelvic trauma from childhood rape which had not been medically addressed contributed to other difficulties with the childbirth and postdelivery care was negligent probably enough to file malpractice. Women rarely talk about these things because these topics don’t fit into polite speech that we are trained to engage in I wish I had not been enslaved into such a submissive mindset when I was younger so that I could have advocated for better care in the process and in care afterwards. Noone listens.

  22. I am a survivor of incest, molestation, work place sexual assault, four rapes, and one rape attempt by someone who I thought was a protector.

    I can safely say that Birth Rape is as real as it gets and right up there with my incest rape. I’ve been in prison as well for standing up for what I believe in and going against this chauvinistic society, and the things I had to endure in there (rape, beatings, and TORTURE) are nothing compared to Birth Rape.

    This needs to get out.

  23. I was raped and have a 13 year old son from that rape. I had already been through so much at only seventeen years old, that the birth of my son only further traumatised me. I was forced and held down by nurses and my doctor, then literally fisted by my dr as I cried and screamed. The fetal heart rate wasn’t down, my son was healthy with no complications. As you lie there with strangers all around you that don’t care about covering you up, or mutilating your private parts without consent. It’s the birth, not the rape that has stuck with me over the years. It’s what’s fuiling my obsession to read about this online in a desperate effort to find someone that understands how I feel. I’m now 31 and pregnant with my husbands and my little girl. I’m 8 months and fully intend to labor at home until the baby is practically crowning. Our insurance won’t cover home birth. But no matter what the consequence, I won’t go to the hospital until the very end. Is this what medical society wants? Women handling things themselves again like a flash back of abortions with coat hangers back in the day when abortion was illegal? Because that is where it’s headed if they don’t get their hands off us and let our bodies do what they were built to do. Rape is a perfect definition. Just like there is “anal” rape, “vaginal rape” …this is medical rape & any woman that has had both or all three would not disagree with the term for medical rape, or they are lying and just want to be dramatic and opinionated.

  24. I’m not one to blame everything on sexist men, but in this instance of childbirth the shoe fits. The medicalization of childbirth started back when men wanted to take birth out of the hands of women and out of the home so they could have money. Anyone who forces you on your back, touches your private area or does ANYTHING to you in any sexual way without your consent has committed a sexual crime against you. Birth is sexual. It is our private body that is being invaded and no medical professional should do anything without the woman’s consent. People have the legal right to refuse medical treatment even if they are dying yet somehow women aren’t even people anymore with basic dignity and rights when they enter a hospital to labor. I believe birth rape is real and anyone who doesn’t needs to wake up. It is not good for a woman to be on her back in labor anyways as it makes labor more difficult and painful and goes against gravity. Yet the medical profession places a woman’s feet in stirrups, restrains her on her back, slices her open and forcibly holds her legs back. If that isn’t rape please inform me exactly what is! It is the same as someone holding a woman down and forcing her legs apart to shove a penis inside her! Both acts are sexual, personal and involved the invading without consent of the woman’s private body. The mother and child would be healthier in almost all cases without that interference so there is no excuse for it whatsoever.

    I had a home birth and my midwife never touched me but once when I asked her to check my cervix. She and her apprentice were nice and very calm. They didn’t talk to me and they were only there when I asked them to be and needed them. I was never touched at all. The truth is women should not be touched when laboring or birthing. As long as there is a soft place for the baby to land and someone near by to make sure mother and child are safe all will be good. Look at other cultures. The women are active or even dancing in labor then squat over a specially prepared place to give birth when they are ready. Until recently men were not allowed to be near childbirth. Or at last most used to until the last few decades. Another thing is that a woman needs privacy. I only had two females around me. My husband was not there and I don’t think any father should be. Absolutely nobody knew I was in labor but my midwife, her apprentice and my husband (who of course purposely left but stayed close enough in case of emergency). Birth should be left to women. Women need peace and solace in labor. Because of the privacy I received I labored peacefully and the birth itself did not even hurt. I was shocked when I looked up and realized my midwife had already caught her. I was just so at peace in my own little world I just went with my instincts and it was so amazing.

    Bottom line, the medicalization and masculinization of childbirth has cause many women to be emotionally scarred for life. That and the Western belief in Christianity that has indoctrinated us that childbirth is a painful curse put on a woman leads to birth being viewed negatively and in return it is a negative experience for too many women. Birth is sexual and nobody should ever touch a woman without her consent.

    • Firstly, I also had a homebirth for my first, and planned one for my second, which didn’t end up happening. My homebirth was somewhat like yours–My midwife hardly touched me, but stayed close enough to help with anything I needed, and only my midwife, myself, and my husband were there. I do think that the husband should be there, myself. However, don’t kid yourself into thinking all labors at home are nice. My son’s was 20 hours long, and I would have gladly shot myself in the head had I had a gun the pain was so intense. I do believe homebirths are better than hospital. I do not like people touching me, and it would make me furious if any of these stories had happened to me. My second child was born in a hospital after only 10 minutes of being there, and even with an easy birth, the hospital STILL managed to make the 1 night stay miserable by telling me my blood pressure was high (no duh….Just pushed out a baby…yea it’s should be really LOW, not like I’ve been pushing or anything…) and insisted on checking in on me (waking me and the baby up) every hour on the hour. MISERABLE night. It’s nothing next to what the women on here have experienced, but it goes to prove that even with the simplest, least complicated birth, the medical community just CAN’T leave you alone–they HAVE TO DO SOMETHINGGGG! Also broke my water as the baby was coming out, and clamped the cord immediately, which we SPECIFICALLY told them NOT to do. They can’t HELP but interfere, they just CAN’T keep their hands to themselves.

  25. My midwife inserted a pill called cytotec (an alcer medication, that also increase contractions) inside me vaginally without my concent, I found the dissolved tablet on a tissue which I used when going to the toilet. I do believe I was birth raped with this cheap horrible drug which nearly cost my my babies life.

  26. My mother in law moved in with us, we were living their florida house. She told me I would have a Dr/Midwife present and prenatal care or I could get out of her house with my 2 kids at 36 weeks pregnant. I hadn’t been working because we moved there when I was pregnant, so I had no money of my own. My partner was all, “I’d like to let you leave, but I’m afraid you’ll never come back”. I was a foster kid, so I had no one to run to. I cried my eyes out and opened my legs. They tell me I should be grateful.
    My first daughter, and my second, were unplanned teen pregnancies; I dealt with the pregnancies and the infant care so much more easily. This baby was planned and I don’t really want to look at him. I don’t feel like he’s my baby. She chose his birth. She rearranged his nursery and my bedroom while I was in labor. She kept calling him “her” beautiful baby son. I can’t bond with him. I attachment parent and exclusively breastfeed. I still can’t bond with him. So much more than is described here happened. It feels like I malfunctioned, but somewhere in me I know I’ve seen farm animals do the same. Fuck with them and they abandon their young. He’s almost 7 months old now. I’m about to take my daughters and leave my perfect planned baby with his dad. He’s not mine. He’s just not. It doesn’t feel the same at all.

  27. In my own personal opinion medical rape it a term that I would use.

    I was forced to do a pap / pelvic exam while restrained. Afterwards the two doctors sexually abused and raped me.

    I struggle with memory loss after the pelvic exam.

    I consider them both forms of rape. I’m not saying one is worse than the other. I would never say one is worse than the other.

    Personally I felt like I was fighting for my life and mental health when I was raped. When I was having the speculum forced inside I felt violated, confused, and medically abused.

  28. I had my first child at home, so Thank God, I did not have to go through anything like this. My second was several weeks early, and out of fear that her lungs were not developed, we went to the hospital and I had her within 10 minutes of arrival, so nobody had time to fu** with me. She ended up being just fine, and I got out without anything at all. I avoided hospital births specifically to avoid anything like this. I don’t do pap smears, I don’t like IVs, I don’t like catheters, I refuse the idea of a C-section, I didn’t want an episiotomy, I didn’t want pain meds. I was lucky to avoid all of the above. Also, I get focused when in pain or angry, so I was literally able to FILL OUT AN ADMISSION FORM while pushing. NOBODY was gonna tell me I couldn’t make my own decisions. Screw ’em. Also had my cousin there to intercede and back me up in case anything went wrong.

    • I’m so sorry these experiences have happened to you. I am an obstetrician and very much in favour of leaving women to labour peacefully without interference wherever possible. If any intervention looks likely, I am very careful to counsel ladies very specifically about what I might need to do before I do it. There is a careful balance in appropriate consent without causing unnecessary alarm. Unfortunately things can move very quickly in labour and that can be quite overwhelming. In these circumstances I do go over events afterwards to help answer any questions the lady or partner may have, and this best practice that everyone should be following. I would be devastated if anyone felt as some of you do after a birth I’d assisted. Unsurprisingly I’m a huge advocate for women making informed choices. Please don’t tar all medical professionals with the same brush.

  29. Since you are an OB, you should discuss with labor nurses about handling patients roughly. I’d say most of the abuse in maternity wards is done by labor nurses, rather than OB/GYNs. My OB was not even in the room with me when a labor nurse held me down and shoved her hand up my vagina. She did this very forcefully, I asked her to stop and she wouldn’t. I wound up having a C-section, which I wasn’t opposed to, but the next day two female aides came in my room and forced me to stand up out of bed even though I was in extreme pain. I am going to the hospital again soon for another C-section and this time I will be taking down the names of every healthcare worker who enters my room for any reason.

  30. The sad fact is that PEOPLE are bent to do evil…even the ones that THINK “yes but NOT me!” …this issue like SO SO many other issues is full of legitimate complaints while at the same time full of crap also. Many things like this obviously fall through the crack of being either criminal or right simply because there are just SO SO many situations and people involved that it can easily become virtually impossible to have a system that is able to prevent criminal abuses of professionals. People (not just women about to give birth) are SO often just not in the right frame of mind to make their own decision of what is best for them health wise…you can hate that fact and vehemently argue about it until the cows come home and at the end of the day, as a statement in general, it is going to stand solid as a RIGHT general statement….when someone is in a motorcycle wreck with compound fractures etc, they are IN SHOCK and very well might NOT make their own decisions…hate if you want to or whatever but if someone with their tibia jutting out of the skin bleeding profusely decides they are going to stand up and walk (typical of the terrible decision making ability of someone in shock) , I personally am going to violate this person’s right to make his or her own decisions and am going to physically restrain them against their will… they can cry lawyer or rape or whatever but I am going to do FOR THEM exactly what I would WANT them to do for me if our roles were reversed. Now I am sure everyone here can apply the thinking of this situation to OTHER medical situations…where professionals have to deal daily with people who ar physically NOT in a state to make their own best decisions…is this going to be abused ever? Of course it is! There are incompetents in EVERY occupation where it is like a SIN that they even have the job they have! But look how complicated the situation is in general! How hard it is to improve on! How utterly IMPOSSIBLE it is to “fix” so no one violates another person in what really truly would be “criminal”! In the mix is a VERY significant number of people that are whack jobs and TOTALLY incapable of being honestly reasonable …people that are a 24/7 PAIN IN THE ROYAL ASS for ANYONE that has to deal with them! Which is why I say that a lot of the legitimate things people know needs to be addressed, need to be fixed once and for all just are not going to ever be…it is part of the very sad state of affairs of living in this world with PEOPLE…PEOPLE who are bent to do evil on SOME level at SOME time …it’s just a daily fight to keep from being a victim…that’s a given …but then there is also the opprtunity each of HAS to at least WANT to make things better for those we are dealing with…to WANT to be honest and upright…to WANT in our hearts to NOT be part of something evil but rather part of something good…whether we even really understand what IS best, at least there is the choice to WANT to have a right heart…no? WHO stops anyone from choosing that “want to”???

    • I’m approving your comment because I think you’re trying to be fair, but there are some major issues. We have laws and requirements to determine if someone is in their right mind or not and we have those for a reason. Pregnant people are competent to make medical decisions for themselves and their babies unless a court, not an OB, decides otherwise. If someone is incapable of giving or refusing consent, their support person is the next person in line to decide. If there is no support person or legally designated medical decision maker, then and only then do medical people get to make decisions for someone else.

      Given that pregnant people are competent to make medical decisions, those decisions, including informed refusal, are required to be respected by the medical professionals around them. If the medical professional strongly disagrees, they can attempt to verbally convince the person to change their mind. Medical professionals don’t get to violate people to do what has already been refused.

      Someone in shock after an accident is not even remotely the same as someone in labour.

  31. I think it is a correct observation that something need not be sex to qualify as rape…I am not a woman but whenever anyone has violated me even not physically, it is LIKE a form of rape…which no doubt is why all the physically sexual terms get applied to ALL the violating that people do to one another. As a related aside, I HATE the way certain types of theft and fraud are categorized as “non violent” and “white collar” crime that the law typically handles with kid gloves as though they are not REALLY the bad dangerous criminals ….But personally? I would RATHER be held down and sexually violated or tortured somewhat THAN to have someone defraud me out of having the means to feed my family! IF someone commits a “non violent white collar” crime against a family which ultimately lands them IN THE STREET? THAT is violent! As violent as a rape would be to many people! I mean everyone is different with what they deal with but my point is that it all goes way beyond what someone might judge looking at it from the sidelines…a person knowingly violating another person without their TRUE best interests AT HEART honestly? It already is moving right into the same qualification as assault and rape and defraudment…SHAME ON THE WICKED!! Shame on mankind that we put up with what we do! Shame on everyone of us that make light of other victims simply because ” it does not apply apply to ME” …which boils down at various times to SAME ON ME! and shame on YOU too!….

  32. As a child, I was finger raped by a pedephile. I didn’t know what happened to me, I was very young and I only knew it was bad. As an adult, I was birth raped by my OB/GYN’s S.C. I didn’t have a name for what happened to me 38 years ago at my first childbirth, now I do. I didn’t have a name for the dark cloud of depression that would come over me when I had to drive past the hospital or the doctor’s office my rape took place in. It is strong wording, that reflects strong emotional scarring left because of cruel and insensitive health care professionals. My doctor was on vacation and his partner delivered me. The doctor never spoke to me the entire labor filled with fetal distress and other complications. When I finally felt I had to push, they held open my legs like I was a wishbone (I thought I was going to break) and started rushing me to delivery because I think the fetal distress had gotten much worse. I was given a saddle block spinal and strung up in some kind of contraption. Next, I felt the baby being pushed back up me and turned, it was excruciatingly painful, then the baby shot out of me like a bullet. My husband told me the doctor used forceps to turn the baby and how she shot out of me. Baby was crying and color looked pretty good from what I could see, but they got her out of their quickly after the APGAR. As the doctor sewed me up for an hour, I asked him how many stitches there are, since I had to go home and take care of this new baby. He very snarly like a mad dog said there where an average amount. Really?????? He could have at least had a tiny bit of empathy. I felt like death, I could hardly breathe I lost so much blood. After the saddle block wore off, my entire pelvis felt kinda numb, like it was run over by a truck. My tailbone was broken, my uterus felt like it came out with the baby and was pushed back up and I walked by shuffling my feet from the lacerations. I was never iced, took two days to get a donut to sit on for that tailbone pain. Which probably only added to the swelling and brusing, imagine standing on a broken ankle for two days. I was cold and the hospital didn’t have blankets, so I was told. When I took a shower the next day in the hospital, I felt as if I was washing the violent birth off of me. I remember how the warm water felt so good on my sore body and how weird to feel such an emotion like a rape victim washes away the rape. I’ll never forget that!!!!! I was left out of there in 3 days and the only thing the doctor told me was not to have sex for 6 weeks. No problem with that advice!!!!!! Trying to take care of the new baby and heal from that birth was horrible and I rested as much as I could. I went to my original doctor for my six week check-up. Another horrible experience. He came in the room all kinds of pissed off. Didn’t even ask how the baby was doing even though she had a recovery of her own I had to deal with. The baby did not feel good. She even started turning blue once and didn’t move like a newborn should. It was a very hard delivery on her too!!! I should have left the exam at that point, but I trusted in my doctor and got ready for the internal exam. He carelessly rammed a speculum up me. I felt raw and unhealed and was in excruciating pain. He got done quickly, I sat up, he grab my folder and said I could resume having intercourse and stormed out the room and slammed the door in my face. I sat there in a state of shock and asked myself if this really happened to me. Was this real? I was in another place mentally, I’m not sure where that was. I limped over to my clothing and threw them on and left. I couldn’t speak. I was hysterical driving home and bleeding from the exam when I got home. I’ll end this story now. There’s more to it but, the rest is not that important. Birth Rape????? We need to call it something strong, something that reflects 38 years of PTSD from the experience. I did go on to have two more children and never experienced anything even similar to this experience. This is what happens when your health care professionals are monsters!!!!!!!!!!

    • I am so, so sorry for what you experienced. I’m glad you were able to have better experiences with your other children, but I know it never erases the abuse.

  33. I’m currently 3 1/2 weeks postpartum. I never knew what birth rape was, though I was molested and raped in childhood, and was so shocked when the on call doctor disregarded everything I said, belittled me, and didn’t guide me so I wouldn’t tear.
    First of all, I’d been having contractions for 2 months without dilation (thanks to build up of scar tissue from rape) and since my waters hadn’t broke, they sent me home numerous times. I was embarrassed but understood, though I didn’t like being the joke if the hospital because of how often I came in during my third trimester.
    My water broke on my due date. My OB swore to me I would “just know” when it broke, and when I was having “real labor contractions”. My water was leaking so slowly over the course of 48 hours, I had no idea until I came in on Oct. 7th and they did an exam and checked for fluid (only because I said I had barely more discharge than before). The contractions I felt for weeks before delivery felt EXACTLY like the ones I had right before pushing!
    I wasn’t dilated even 1 cm, so (against my pleas) they hooked me up and started pitocin. I went into labor shock, where I feel okay but my body is shaking uncontrollably, and they gave me a sedative. Then, the nurses threatened that if I didn’t get an epidural then (at 3 cm) I wouldn’t be able to get one at all. I was terrified of a natural birth so I agreed.
    At this point I’ve been in active labor 20 hours, the doctor came in, attempted to break my waters while I was so drugged I couldn’t stay awake (without even asking or telling me) and almost no fluid came out, I was nearly out without realizing for days. They gave me penicillin to help my baby stay healthy, then the doctor left.
    Around 9 cm the epidural started to wear off. I could feel my legs but not my hips. I asked if they could refill it, they said “no, you’re going to have to feel yourself push”. Okay, I could understand that. I’m not one for confrontation, especially in dealing with professionals who I thought cared about my wellbeing. At 10 cm the meds had COMPLETELY worn off. I was in so much pain. Earlier the nurse inserted a catheter and promised she’d remove it when I started pushing. SHE LIED.
    She made me push for nearly an hour and a half without removing it, each time I asked she said “Just two more pushes and I’ll remove it.” “Just three more pushes!” over and over. It was miserable, I could feel everything so I didn’t see a need for the catheter. I was even able to walk RIGHT AFTER delivery. She removed it 5 minutes before the doctor came in.
    So the doctor comes in after I’d been pushing for an hour and 45 minutes. I was begging him to help me get him out, I begged even for a c-section. He tells me “Nope. You need to do the work, it’s your baby.” I finally get my son’s head out, it was 14 in in diameter, and (I’m 18, just to mention, I don’t have experience in birthing babies and what to do except push the head out) the doctor starts yelling at me to keep going, I had accidently left my son stuck at the chest inside me, his arms were tucked up near his neck, and I was making him suffocate. I cried and pushed (with no help from the on call doc, who let me deliver him sunny side up) and then my request for the delayed cord clamping was ignored, the doctor had my husband cut it then instead of LETTING ME DELIVER THE PLACENTA, he forced it out by harshly pulling the cord, less than 2 minutes after having my son. The placenta (that I wanted to save and capsulize) came out in three large chunks due to him ripping it out of me. I wanted to die I was in so much pain. I was bleeding much more than I should’ve and almost needed a blood donation to save me. The doctor then began shoving his fists deep onto my swollen and throbbing stomach (while I was still on pitocin, so still having contractions) to force the clotting. I screamed and BEGGED for more epidural, only knowing that as the meds I could have) and he laughed in my face. I finally was at my limit and whispered “give me drugs, or STOP PUSHING ON MY STOMACH.” He then said I couldn’t have an epidural, since the baby was out. I told him I would take anything to stop the pain. He had a nurse give me a shot of some meds in the thigh while he gave me internal stitches.
    I was miserable, then they told me I didn’t have to pee even though I KNEW I did, I got up on my own and walked to the bathroom to discover I couldn’t go without a catheter after pushing with it in so long. They made me sit in a wheelchair even though it hurt worse than walking, and as the lullaby music came on over the speakers (to announce a baby was born) I sobbed all the way to my room. I didn’t get delayed clamping, skin to skin contact, guidance on when to push and how to do it correctly, and was pressured to get an epidural too soon, denied pain meds for 20 minutes, had my placenta yanked out of me without permission, then not even allowed to WALK though I was able to. It was a violation of my body, my rights, and caused so much physical pain I couldn’t nurse or hold my son for an hour. After my son was tested positive for high risk jaundice, the nurses also ignored me completely and gave him formula (though I could’ve pumped milk) and a pacifier which I didn’t want him to have at 24 hours old. It was such a horrible hospital stay. If I decide to have another child, I’m looking at midwives and birthing centers as alternatives.

  34. Peri-natal nurse, Thank You for advocating for your patients that have gone through unnecessary, cruel and even criminal procedures giving birth = birth rape. I understand the position your in about losing your job. Say something about the pillar of the community doctor and get fired. They would never treat their wife, sister, daughter or colleague’s family like that. All women giving birth deserve respect. Sometimes, things happen quickly and there is no time to discuss every little thing that’s happening, but there’s plenty of time afterwards to talk with a patient. The physical trauma heals, but the trauma in one’s mind never goes away. Good Luck with your paper and thank you once again for your empathy and compassion for the humane treatment of birthing mothers.

  35. I gave birth at night at the hospital on a sunday. My doctor wasnt there and a young intern student attended me. After I gave birth and the placenta came out he put his fist inside me and pushed his arm until I screamed to stop! He also shoved his fist in my anus saying he was putting “everything back in place”! No more kids for me!

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