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Pavan Amara, Founder of the ‘My Body Back’ project is a rape survivor. She’s transforming the lives of such women in the United Kingdom. Here’s how.
“If you relax it’ll be over with quicker,” sounds like something natural a healthcare professional would tell a pregnant woman in a hospital. But for a woman who has heard something similar by her rapist in the past, those words of comfort would become haunting.
A woman who survives rape or sexual assault requires more than just medical care. She requires empathy and understanding. She needs people who are sensitized to her triggers of trauma, and equipped to handle her physically and emotionally.
A woman of Indian origin, Pavan Amara has recognized this need, and has opened a maternity clinic for women who have been victims of rape and sexual assault in London, the first of its kind in the United Kingdom.
The specialized services provided by the clinic include antenatal classes, advice on breastfeeding, gynecological advice and psychological support after labour. The services would thereafter be integrated into a regular maternity ward at the Royal London Hospital.
Pavan Amara is the founder of the ‘My Body Back’ project which jointly established the clinic with the Barts Health NHS Trust. Raped as a teenager, Ms. Amara chose not to hide in anonymity but help others by setting up a sexual health clinic for victims of sexual assault in August last year.
Ms. Amara explained that the women need not share what happened to them, unless they want to. Once the appointments are booked, the clinic takes care.
“Just by virtue of walking through the door, people know something of what’s happened to you. So you’ve said it without saying it which is often the hardest thing,” says one of the survivors.
In order to help women across the globe, Ms. Amara also plans to offer women in other countries one-off appointments in the form of video calls.
Sexual assault is something no woman should go though. Being scared of sexual intercourse, fear of getting pregnant are natural fears that a woman encounters after being abused. Becoming a parent is a beautiful experience. It is unfair that a woman should be denied the joys of parenthood because she has been violated in the past.
A lot of women who wanted to have children, but were traumatized by memories of forensic testing, cervical screenings and routine gynecological exams could now approach a clinic formed to cater to their specific needs.
We salute this initiative by Ms Amara which protects women from reliving the ordeal when they are on verge of one of the most precious journeys in life – motherhood.
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