We are working with Barts Health NHS Trust to start a cervical screening clinic especially for women and trans men who have experienced sexual violence, and a clinic where women who have been raped will be able to self-test for STIs.
We are starting these in direct response to requests from women we have worked with, who regardless of when they were raped, wanted a space where they feel in control, and their needs are met.
Our services are designed to help women a year or more after their assault(s). If you haven’t yet had care and counselling since your assault(s), we think it’s best to do this before coming to one of our clinics for cervical screening or contraceptive care. Of course, if you’re looking for STI testing, you’re welcome to come along to our clinic any time.
My Body Back Cervical Screening Clinic
On 6 August, we opened a cervical screening clinic especially for women who have experienced sexual violence. It’s based in the St Barts Hospital in London. You don’t have to be referred by a medical professional and it’s open to all women and trans men living in the UK.
All the female staff are trained to work with women who have experienced sexual violence, and if you choose to use the service, you have the option of booking in for an initial consultation with a Sexual Violence Health Advocate (SVHA). She will be able to support you throughout the process. We understand that physical procedures can be emotional and stressful when the right support is not available.
The SVHA will discuss your needs with you, and how to ensure you are comfortable throughout the smear test. For example, if there are certain body positions you don’t like, places you don’t want to be touched, or phrases you would prefer are not used during the test – then these will not be used. The SVHA will also discuss grounding techniques to make the test easier for you, breathing exercises, and optional aromatherapy services as some women have reported this helps them feel calmer during testing. You don’t have to have the smear taken in one go, and can use a series of sessions to work up to the actual smear. For example, you or the nurse can insert the speculum at the entrance of the vagina in the first session, then a quarter of the way in during the second session, half way in during the third session, until you are ready to have it inserted the whole way and have the smear taken. You are welcome to insert the speculum yourself if this makes you feel more comfortable.
Before and after the test, we’ll offer you tea and cake, to ensure you feel calm and in a good frame of mind.
After your smear has been taken, we will process the results and send them on to your GP. They will then know you’ve had your smear taken, so they can stop sending you letters asking you to take a smear test. We will send your results to your GP as Bart’s Health NHS Trust rather than using our clinic name, so your GP won’t know you’ve used a My Body Back clinic. This is because we understand not everyone wants their GP to know of their past experiences, or for it to appear on their medical records.
How to book: Just email us at email@example.com to book an appointment.