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#561604 - 11/03/09 11:46 PM Childhood Pelvic Exams  
Joined: Nov 2009
Posts: 1
lamplight Offline
lamplight  Offline

Joined: Nov 2009
Posts: 1
I am trying to sort out some thoughts. The whole thing has been brought up by the fact that my doctor has required that I make an office appointment before she will authorize another refill on my birth control. I suspect that she wants to do a pap--can't think of any other reason she would need to see me. On with the story: I have absolutely no idea how common this situation is, but when I was very young (around four or five, I would guess) I was subject to a pelvic exam during a routine checkup. (According to my mother I had been examined before by a different Dr. on account of vaginal infections, but I don't actually remember previous examinations.) What I remember of the exam is sparse and probably unreliable. Up until a couple years ago when I spoke to my parents about it the whole situation was a mystery to me, and this is all I retained of it: I remember being very afraid, being alone in the room with the doctor, I remember being examined and I remember the Doctor asking me strange questions. She asked me if anyone had ever done this to me before, and when I apparently said yes she asked if it was a male, if the lights were out, other specifics. In my memory she turned the lights out and the room was dark while she questioned me, but I have doubts as to whether that is a reliable memory or not. The only other thing I remember is my mother promising me that no one would ever examine me again without my permission. I hung onto that for 17 years until some issues forced me to get a pap. When I discussed the situation with my parents as an adult some blanks were filled in. My mother did not realize that a pelvic would be involved in the check-up. In the exam room the doctor abruptly pulled my skirt down and I flipped, grabbing onto my mother and refusing to let go. The doctor told my mother to leave the room and she did. When the doctor was finished she told my mother that I had admitted to being sexually abused. In the car my mom asked me who had touched me, and I told her I couldn't remember if it was that doctor or the other doctor--apparently I didn't tell the doctor that because I didn't want to hurt her feelings. My mom told the doctor this and she didn't believe her. Around the same time my school informed my parents I was apparently self-mutilating (hitting myself), among other things. It was a frightening time for my parents--it was clear that my father was being suspected, and they thought they might even lose me. After the exam I had frequent nightmares about being abused. Sexual contact sometimes triggered a sickness in my stomach and a feeling similar to homesickness. My relationship with my father deteriorated when I was very young. I stopped hugging him, and I found that being near him made me feel sick. We have just now began to hug one another again. I don't believe I was ever actually abused. I feel that the actions of the doctor confused me, and planted ideas in my head. I do not know exactly what she did, or if it was common practice. I feel silly for being so traumatized over something that wasn't even proper abuse. Thinking about this makes me very angry. Why is it that a doctor can do these things to a frightened child without any sort of consent, but it isn't considered abusive or traumatizing? I did not understand the difference between doctor and stranger as a child. I did not understand the difference between "okay" touching and "molestation". All I understood was that no one was supposed to do that to me but she DID. I am so sorry for rambling. I have not ever REALLY talked about this and I guess I had a lot to say. I hope someone can give me some input. I don't have children right now but I probably will someday... I can't even imagine letting a doctor conduct a pelvic exam on my child, but is that something I will [i]have[/i] to face? Is it unusual for someone to be traumatized from this? Is there a reason that doctor examinations are not traumatizing to other children? Was my situation unique, was the doctor inappropriate, or did I just have an unusual reaction to it?

#561609 - 11/04/09 12:18 AM Re: Childhood Pelvic Exams [Re: lamplight]  
Joined: Sep 2005
Posts: 7,186
Chelle - Marriage Editor Offline
BellaOnline Editor
Chelle - Marriage Editor  Offline
BellaOnline Editor

Joined: Sep 2005
Posts: 7,186
Lake Lanier, Georgia
Originally Posted By: lamplight

Why is it that a doctor can do these things to a frightened child without any sort of consent, but it isn't considered abusive or traumatizing?

Is it unusual for someone to be traumatized from this? Is there a reason that doctor examinations are not traumatizing to other children? Was my situation unique, was the doctor inappropriate, or did I just have an unusual reaction to it?

A doctor should NOT ever have a reason to do a pelvic exam on a child unless abuse is suspsected - and even then there should always be a nurse in the room (or other witness).

This type of exam is traumatizing to adults s yes, it is goig to be horrible for children. It is one of the main resaons rape victims d not come forward. They feel as if they are being raped all over again.

The docotr should have gotten your mother's consent - or , if your mother was suspect, the police or child service should have been called in.

I would highly recommed you seeing a counselor to talk about all of this. It sounds like a lot of memories are trying to break through right now - and they are getting jumbled up. A counselor can help you sort through them.

Just know that you are not alone, and it is not your fault.

Michelle Taylor
Marriage Editor
#561614 - 11/04/09 01:28 AM Re: Childhood Pelvic Exams [Re: Chelle - Marriage Editor]  
Joined: Oct 2005
Posts: 576
Kelli Deister Offline
Kelli Deister  Offline

Joined: Oct 2005
Posts: 576

First of all, welcome to the forum!

I completely agree with everything that Michelle said above. I have never heard of a child having to have a pelvic exam; however, if there is abuse suspected, then I suppose the child may have to go through the exam. I do know that someone should have been in that room with you and the doctor. If your mother was not allowed in the room, for whatever reason, there should have been another female in that room for the exam.

Pap smears and pelvic exams are very difficult for most women, but especially for survivors of sexual abuse. It can certainly be traumatic for any survivor of sexual abuse. I also recommend that you find a therapist and talk it through. It seems the memories are indeed breaking through and it would greatly benefit you to begin to speak them out, bringing them to the surface, as well as any emotions you may be feeling.

#561619 - 11/04/09 02:05 AM Re: Childhood Pelvic Exams [Re: Kelli Deister]  
Joined: Jun 2009
Posts: 69
freemenow Offline
freemenow  Offline

Joined: Jun 2009
Posts: 69
Hi Lamplight, I would like to offer my support and understanding and welcome you!:) I am very sensative to this as well. I am not sure why but gyno stuff just puts me through the roof. I have wondered if I have suppressed memories. I gringe over certain sexual conversation too. I was exposed to some things I will talk about later. Young girls only have these exams when they become sexually active, are examined for abuse or medical issues not typical of a small child. My daughter had a similar experience but I was in the room,a nurse and it was for suspected abuse. She was terrified. You help me to realize I should try and talk w/ her about her ordeal. She was only 3:( It is very sad. I am sorry that as a child you were violated this way! I believe you can heal this pain quite a bit if not all. Maybe it is something we learn to live with over time. Time has a way of helping us ajust w/ the right support:) I need a lot of it:) I have many other triggers as a result of trauma like yelling hitting and mind games. I have to comfort myself alot and speak kindly to myself within my mind:) I am in therapy. This forum is very helpful. We are glad you are here:) I write what ever I want,when ever I want. It is a safe place to be:) Take care,Lisa

#786317 - 10/05/12 04:12 AM Re: Childhood Pelvic Exams [Re: lamplight]  
Joined: Oct 2012
Posts: 1
uncertainty12 Offline
uncertainty12  Offline

Joined: Oct 2012
Posts: 1
soo.... when i was little, I was a bed wetter and i remember, i was about 7ish and my mom took me to the doctor and he did a pelvic examination on me and he was touching me and just feeling around. He told her it was to make sure nothing was wrong but I remember feeling weird about it, even though I turned to my mom and told her it tickled and laughed because i could tell she was mad about it and i didn't like it when she was upset. Every now and again, like lately, I've been thinking about it and its upsetting to me now. I've done extensive counseling and worked though a lot of issues from my childhood. I kind of feel like this is what is left at the bottom of the barrel. The last rotten apple and I don't know what to do about it. I am 27 now, but i am unable to have a normal relationship with men. I've never had a boyfriend, never been kissed, etc. I am untrusting and have issues with...a lot of things...sometimes I have nightmares about being raped...I don't know what i'm supposed to feel about this, or if I should even justifiably be upset...but I am unsure if bed wetting justifies a pelvic exam on a 7 year old. I guess if i knew with certainty that he was legitimately checking for something that would make me feel better, but as far as i know and feel about the whole situation, because i remember how i feel...this was not right.

Moderated by  ELS - Child Abuse Editor 

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