You spoke, we listened!
Lots of you have told us that you’d love to have tips and tools to hand to help you with your cervical screening test.
That’s why we’re working on an app that everyone can use to help them feel safe and secure about smear tests.
To get it perfect, we need you! If you’d like to help trial our new app, take a look at the flyer below and click Find out more.
We’ve teamed up with Lujayn Alghamdi, an MSc student at Royal Holloway, University of London, to help with a study on Compassion and Cervical Screening.
Lujayn is interested whether self-compassion, compassion from others and the issue of shame play a role in managing any difficulties experienced during cervical screening. She’ll be using the results collected to inform interventions that could help women attend their cervical screening appointments.
If you’d like to take part in the survey, please read the information sheet about the study first. You can find out more by clicking the link below.
Nicolette Gregg, an MSc student from Royal Holloway, University of London, is running a research study looking at how self-compassion, compassion from others, shame and self-criticism can help or hinder routine cervical screening attendance for women who have been sexually assaulted.
We’re looking for volunteers to help Nicolette research this, in partnership with My Body Back. It involves attending a focus group of 4 to 8 women in June 2019, and we’ll be working to develop theory and practice to help women attend cervical screenings in a safe and compassionate way.
Sound like something you’d be interested in? Just email Nicolette.Gregg.email@example.com to find out more.
We’ve created a series of quarterly workshops for women and trans men who’ve experienced sexual violence. At these workshops, we’ll discuss how you feel about accessing healthcare and give you practical advice on how to feel in control when accessing invasive or potentially triggering healthcare procedures, which many people find difficult.
It’ll be a small group of 15, run by two healthcare professionals, a psychologist or counsellor and a MBB facilitator to take care of everyone.
We’ll talk about things like:
- Cervical screening (smear tests)
- IUD/IUS fittings
- Vaginal examinations
- Sexual dysfunction following sexual violence
- Disclosing to a healthcare professional, e.g. Do you need to disclose? Who do you disclose to? Will it be recorded? Will you be forced to go to the police? Can your medical records be used in court if you choose to prosecute at a later date?
- Colposcopy procedures
There’ll also be plenty of tea and a warm, welcoming atmosphere to help you feel at ease. We hope you’ll join us!
If you’re a healthcare professional and have time to volunteer in London, we’re in need of your help!
Our Glasgow Clinic – everything you need to know
Thank you for coming to see us at the MBB West of Scotland Service. We’re hoping that we can make your experience as comfortable as possible. Firstly, it’s important that you know that throughout the process you will be in control and we will take everything at your pace. There is no pressure to have a cervical smear test during the first appointment. If you feel up to it that’s fine, but if you don’t that’s fine too.
The ethos of our clinic is that – it is every woman’s right to care for her body and health. We know it can be difficult to express what you need during cervical screening, and that’s why we’re here to help with that. We are there to support you and meet your needs. It is your body, and we are simply there to ensure that it is as healthy as possible. Our clinic is within Sandyford sexual health services, Glasgow and staffed only by women. Staff are aware of the effects of sexual violence and we can work with you to make sure that cervical screening happens on your terms, and in the way you choose.
Here is guide explaining what happens on the day you visit us.
Before you come to visit
Think about what makes you feel comfortable and relaxed. It could be anything from your favourite sweatshirt, your favourite music, or a cup of tea. Once you know, have a think about how we can incorporate this into your visit and let us know.
For example, if you have a favourite item of clothing you could wear it to your appointment. You are welcome to bring your own music and headphones to listen to during your appointment. Please do let us know what type of tea or coffee you like, we will have cake and there will be a selection of magazines and newspapers – if there’s anything else you can think of, please let us know.
Please come to the main entrance of the Sandyford clinic, 2-6 Sandyford Place, Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow, G3 7NB. Here’s a map for you.
If you can, please leave plenty of time for finding us. This way you will arrive far more relaxed and less stressed!
When you arrive
When you arrive, please tell reception staff you are here for the MBB service. Someone will show you through to our waiting room, where we provide tea and coffee. You can then come in and have a chat with your support worker. Here, we can discuss what would make you most comfortable. For example, some women do not want the clinician to use particular phrases during screening, do not want to be touched on certain areas of their body, or do not want to be asked certain questions – we will make sure all these needs are catered to. Likewise, there may be certain things you do want. For example, you may want the clinician to tell you exactly what she is doing throughout the process, you can think of a sign so the clinician knows you want to stop the session immediately, you may want to pause or take a break to listen to music during the session. It’s also perfectly ok to feel emotional – we understand that, and you don’t have to apologise for it. The opposite is true too. Some women prefer to cut off completely during the session, and that’s also ok.
We will discuss relaxation and breathing techniques to see if this could help you with the examination. The clinic is about tailoring things so they are right for you. You are in control throughout the whole process and we are there to support you.
Once you and your support worker have finished, they will speak to the clinical staff to make sure they know what your needs are. . You can also have a chat with the nurse or doctor before you decide whether to go ahead with the smear at that visit.
The clinician will ask you some questions about your health, relevant to taking your smear. We will make sure everything goes at your pace and do everything in the way you have requested. Please don’t feel under pressure to have the whole smear taken immediately. It is fine if you want to stop halfway – we will stop.
After your session
You are welcome to stay in our waiting area and help yourself to more tea and magazines/newspapers. You don’t have to leave straight after your appointment, only when you feel ready to.
If you need to book another session with us we can do that for you.
Once you have had your smear, this is sent to the Scottish Cytology laboratory who will send the results to your GP and arrange a letter to come out to your correspondence address.
If your results are normal then we will see you in a few years for your next smear! , If you require further examination (colposcopy)we will refer you to your local service.
Any questions, just ask us.
After attending your session with us, please do something nice for yourself! We know that for many women, it’s difficult to even get to the stage of booking their cervical smear test – so please be proud for booking, attending, and looking after yourself in the way you deserve. Please let us know at any stage if you have any ideas for how we can improve our service. We’d love to hear from you.
Thank you for coming to see us at the MBB Clinic – we hope we can make your experience as comfortable as possible.
The first thing we’d like you to know is that you’re in control throughout the process. We’ll take everything at your pace and there’s no pressure to have a full cervical smear test during your first appointment. If you feel up to it, that’s fine. If you don’t, that’s fine too.
We know it can be difficult to express what you need during cervical screening, and we’re here to help with that. It’s your body, and we’re simply there to help you make sure it’s as healthy as possible.
Our clinic is at Mile End Hospital and staffed only by women. Our team members are fully aware of the effects of sexual violence and ready to work with you to make sure that your cervical screening happens on your terms.
Here’s a list of our clinic team members. The first name in each list is our lead practitioner, and the others attend whenever their schedules allow.
Nursing and Research
On the day
Here’s a guide to what happens on the day.
Before your appointment
Think about what makes you feel comfortable and relaxed. It could be anything from your favourite jumper, album or the perfect cup of tea. Once you know, have a think about how we can incorporate this into your visit.
If you have a favourite item of clothing, it’s a great idea to wear it to your appointment. You can also bring your own music and headphones and listen to whatever you like during your appointment. Do let us know if you have any particular teas, coffees, cakes, magazines, newspapers or anything else you’d like us to bring in for you.
Just to let you know, although the MBB Clinic is staffed only by women, there are male members of hospital staff working elsewhere in the clinic space and in the building generally, so you might see them on the day.
Before your appointment, there’s a registration form you’ll need to fill out with your GP details. Please click the link below, print the form and fill it in to bring with you. This allows us to let your GP know you have had your smear test and send them your results, so they’ll stop sending you letters about being due for a test.
If you can, please leave plenty of time for finding us. This way you will arrive more relaxed and less stressed!
When you arrive
When you arrive, you’ll be met by two of our volunteers, who’ll make you a cup of tea or coffee. There’ll be a welcoming space for you to sit down with a magazine or newspaper, or whatever makes you feel comfortable.
You can then come in and have a chat with our doctor and psychologist. Here we can discuss what would make you most comfortable. For example, some people don’t want the clinician to use particular phrases, touch them on certain areas of their body or ask certain questions – we’ll make sure all these needs are met. Likewise, there may be certain things you do want, like the clinician telling you exactly what she’s doing throughout the process, to stop what she’s doing if you make a certain sign or to take a break at any time. It’s also perfectly okay to feel emotional – we understand that, and you don’t have to apologise for it. The opposite is true too. Some women prefer to cut off completely during the session, and that’s absolutely fine.
We’ll also discuss relaxation methods, breathing techniques and take you through our aromatherapy kit to see if this could help you feel relaxed. Our clinic is about tailoring things so they’re right for you.
After your appointment
You’re welcome to stay in our waiting area, help yourself to more drinks and treats and stay for as long as you like! We’re happy to keep you company (or leave you in peace) until you feel ready to go.
If you need to book another session with us, we’ll do that for you. If not, we’ll send your sample to our lab and, once we have your results, we’ll send them straight to your GP, who’ll let you know the results. this can take up to six weeks, as labs are currently extremely busy. If you need a colposcopy procedure, we can also help with this. You can be referred to our MBB clinic for it, and we’ll try and make it as easy as possible for you.
After attending your appointment, please do something nice for yourself! We know it can difficult to even book a cervical smear test, so please be proud of yourself for booking, attending and looking after yourself in the way you deserve.
We look forward to seeing you soon!
Angry reading about Weinstein? So are we.
Want to stand with survivors of sexual violence? It’s simple: support My Body Back this Christmas.
You can’t have missed the recent news of sexual violence survivors sharing their stories, often after years of silence and shame. And you’ll also have seen how these women – who’ve found the courage to speak out about their experiences and expose their attackers – have been verbally abused, threatened with physical violence, or simply dismissed and disbelieved as liars and “sluts.”
All too often, the response to a woman breaking her silence on past sexual violence is, “Why didn’t she say something sooner? Why can’t she just move on?”
Pavan Amara, the founder of the My Body Back Project, knows why. Ten years on from her own sexual assault, the physical repercussions remained. Feeling unsafe in her own body, she was unable to access basic sexual healthcare, such as smear tests. Reaching out to other sexual violence survivors, Pavan found that she wasn’t alone. Thousands of women across the UK are missing out on essential healthcare due to the triggering nature of the procedures and the wildly varying levels of understanding or support from medical staff. As Pavan says, “There was a lot of emotional support, such as Rape Crisis Centres, but zero support that recognised how being raped had hugely affected my body image.”
In 2015, Pavan founded the My Body Back Project, running a specialist clinic providing cervical screening, STI testing and contraceptive procedures for women who have experienced sexual violence, in partnership with Barts Health NHS Trust in London. This was followed by a specialist maternity clinic. Now, we’ve been so overwhelmed by appointment requests from Scottish women unable to afford the travel costs to London that we are opening a clinic in Glasgow in early 2018.
Every day, we hear from women thanking us for helping them reclaim their body, their sexuality, and their voice.
But we can’t do it alone. We are a small but mighty charity and we urgently need funds to expand our services to reach the thousands of women across the UK – and, ultimately, the world – who are desperate for the My Body Back’s support.
This Christmas, we’re asking everyone who stands with survivors of sexual violence to donate just £15 to My Body Back, and help us raise a total of £15,000 before the end of 2017.
We’re thrilled to announce that our new MBB clinic in Scotland will be opening in February 2018!