On March 16, 2016, Sevonna M. Brown wrote that although sexual abuse of black women in America is very common, those who face miscarriages as a result are not met with trauma-informed care, even though they are highly in need.
In America, 60 per cent of black women have been through sexual abuse before 18, whether attempted or completed rape, and doubtless there are far more cases than that because only one in 16 women report, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. Sexual assault can lead to serious reproductive problems when women are not treated and cared for properly.
According to Brown, instead, women of color are “put on trial” for losing their children. And because safe abortion care had long been denied to black women, when the survivors of sexual abuse face a miscarriage and look for medical care, they face judgment, pity and maltreatment that revives their memories of sexual assaults, and are traumatized again by the doctors, nurses and staff who are supposed to help and protect them.
Brown believes this reproductive violence is connected to the fact that historically black women were never treated as well as white women in clinics. This injustice is not same as sexual violence, but is harmful to women and traumatizes them just the same.
There has been corporate media coverage about black women being sexually abused and about black women having a high rate of infertility but, until Brown’s report, there hasn’t been reporting on how sexually abused black women experience reproductive problem and then are re-traumatized when they look for medical care.
Source: Sevonna M. Brown, “No Plan B: For Colored Girls Who Pursue Holistic Reproductive Care When the Emergency Room is Not Enough.” Women’s E-News, March 16, 2016, http://womensenews.org/2016/03/no-plan-b-for-colored-girls-who-pursue-holistic-reproductive-care-when-the-emergency-room-is-not-enough/
Student Researcher: Cheryl Lu (University of Regina)
Faculty Evaluator: Patricia W. Elliott (University of Regina)