Blogger Series #7: Health Over Stigma

Continuing our Blogger Series as a part of our Health Over Stigma campaign unmarried women from all around India are sharing their stories/experiences related to the stigma we face in regards to our body, sexual health & desires. It is only through starting an open and safe dialogue can we end the stigma and normalize these conversations. Read more about our Week of Action here.

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“I visited a gynaec when my period was late even though I’d been careful and used protection. I used a pregnancy test which was negative but I was scared and paranoid and I just wanted to double check. I scheduled an appointment randomly at a clinic nearby as I didn’t have any recommendations from anyone. Unfortunately for me it was an elderly doctor who was extremely rude, condescending and intrusive. She started asking me personal questions such as whether I was married, if not, how long have I been with my boyfriend, how many times we’ve had sex unprotected (he’s the only one I’ve slept with in my whole life and the same with him), whether my parents know. I was visibly squirming as I asked her why she was asking me all this. She ignored me, and went on to tell me that if I have sex I should be prepared to get pregnant and get STDs (even though I’m monogamous and so is he) and that not having sex is the only ‘solution’ to avoiding doubt. She started asking me when I plan to marry him and whether my parents should be told about this. I still didn’t get an answer as to why I hadn’t got my period on top of being so stressed. When I asked her to do her job and tell me what the reason for my delayed period could be OTHER than possible pregnancy she said she could not help me further.

It was the most unpleasant experience I’ve had with a doctor my whole life. I went for a second opinion to another doctor at a different hospital who was much younger, but faced the same. She was more interested in the fact that I’m not married and sexually active than in prescribing me the meds necessary for inducing my period, since it was established that I wasn’t pregnant. I finally lost my temper and contacted the hospital feedback team and informed them the doctor had no business behaving this way to a patient who needs care, and that she had better do her job and not judge. After a lot of apologies from their marketing team, I finally met a gynaec whom it was a pleasure interacting with. She allayed my fears and concerns and prescribed a pill to me that would regulate my period and act as protection in addition to condoms. I think doctors need to realize it’s not their place to bring in their personal biases on to the table when interacting with us. Being sexually active outside of marriage is not a crime and it’s high time this mentality was done away with.”

 

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