[Holy Hormones Honey! It appears that the objectification of women’s bodies takes place even during childbearing – a sacred time in a family’s life – especially for the mother and child. Can you imagine how traumatized the mother and the newborn must be during a birth rape? Wonder if this has any bearing on the increasing anger violence in the world. I think many women can relate to some sort of uncomfortable treatment during labor or when their legs were in stirrups.]
Is “Birth Rape” for Real?
By Bonnie Rochman
October 5, 2010
Giving birth is not a modest affair. After a lifetime spent covering up your privates, there they are, front and center, splayed out for any ole doc or nurse to see. As part of this no-holds-barred experience, aforesaid doc or nurse occasionally plunges an instrument (not of the musical variety) or his/her hand into an expectant mom’s vagina, feeling for the moment when new life is about to burst forth. That’s what they get paid to do.
At least in my own labors, I was always forewarned of the impending probing. But sometimes, according to writer Amity Reed, a woman isn’t asked permission. Sometimes, a woman isn’t treated respectfully on the L&D ward. When that happens, she feels violated, a sensation Reed controversially calls “birth rape.” In a post on Salon.com by Tracy Clark-Flory, Reed explains the phenomenon: “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.”