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.