Dear Doctor: Letter From a Survivor of Sexual Trauma to All Medical Professionals

From ACEs Too High, a blog about Adverse Childhood Experiences, here is something that most survivors of sexual abuse have a need for: “Dear Doctor: A Letter from a Survivor of Sexual Trauma to All Medical Professionals,: by survivor Carol L. Chandler.

Because of the profound shame of abuse, the topic of how health care can remain very difficult for survivors of sexual abuse is seldom discussed, it seems. Yet, strategies exist for seeking health care. And, importantly, there are more and more doctors who seek to be sensitive — yet, it remains for us to articulate what we need to them.

This letter is brief but powerful. On the one hand, it may be triggering because it cuts so close to the pain of enduring medical care following abuse, but, on the other hand, this letter can be printed out in full by any abuse survivor struggling with anxiety about going for any annual exam or procedure.

Indeed, any abuse survivor meeting a doctor for the first time may find this helpful to have in hand.

Opening excerpt:

Dear Doctor: As a medical professional you have taken an oath to do no harm, but there are ways in which you can hurt your patients without even recognizing you are doing so. What seems to you as a simple exam may cause injury to those who have been victimized by someone’s touch. This is a subject that we, survivors of sexual violence, have been meaning to discuss with you for some time now, but your authority can be more intimidating than you may know….

For the full letter to the medical profession, click here.

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