How sexual assault survivors can feel in control during cervical screenings

ABC Life By Kellie Scott / 12th August 2020
Kate* avoids cervical screenings.The 34-year-old from Sydney is a survivor of sexual assault and finds the physical examination re-traumatising.

Kate’s experience is not unique.

One in five Australian women has experienced sexual violence since the age of 15. And research shows those who have experienced sexual abuse, either as adults or children, are less likely to attend regular cervical screening.

A simple way to promote HPV vaccination among Asian American women: Storytelling

The Conversation, March 4, 2020 10.58pm AEDT

Why do so many Asian Americans and Pacific Islander women know so little about HPV? We set out to answer this question by interviewing  ethnic groups and conducting surveys.

Our findings suggest their knowledge and attitudes toward HPV prevention are closely tied to health beliefs and cultural or language barriers. What’s more, we discovered preventive health care is not a top priority for immigrant populations. In general, they seek treatment only when already sick. Our studies also suggest many of them are skeptical about participating in research.

We discovered in our study that narrative storytelling – that is, mothers and their children sharing their experiences and having conversations about HPV vaccination – can increase HPV vaccination rates.

From that, we’ve developed what we call a storytelling intervention for young Korean American women using a “peer-paired” approach. Because the storytellers are about the same age as the participants, a meaningful conversation is more likely to occur. The women are less shy about sharing their personal experiences, feelings and fears.

Female genital cutting (FGC) & cervical screening: A guide for practitioners

CANCER COUNCIL VICTORIA & WOMEN’S HEALTH WEST FARREP
PROGRAM, First published 2017

The World Health Organization defines female genital cutting (FGC) as ‘all procedures that include partial or total removal of female genital organs or other injury to female genital organs for non-medical reasons’.

‘Female genital mutilation’ is the term used in Australian and Victorian legislation, but the preferred way to refer to the practice using culturally sensitive language is ‘female circumcision’ or ‘traditional cutting’. The age at which this occurs varies from infancy to 15 years.

The practice is referred to as FGC throughout this document.

This 2-page guideline document includes facts about prevalance, type, appropriate questioning, examination technique, and more.

 

Public Cervix Announcement campaign

Thorne Harbour Health, September 2019

Cancer Council Victoria, November 2019

As more research reveals concerning health outcomes for lesbian, bisexual and queer (LBQ) identified women, it is encouraging that there is a shift in focus towards improving health for LBQ women from both mainstream and LGBTIQ health organisations. As part of Women’s Health Week (September 2 – 6) we thought we’d take you through one of our campaigns which was created to raise awareness around cervical screening.

The reasons why these groups don’t screen as often as they should include people thinking they don’t need to screen, feeling embarrassed or frightened and fearing homophobia or transphobia. The fact is, all LGBTIQ people with a cervix between the ages of 25 and 74, need cervical screening every five years to reduce their risk of cervical cancer, no matter who they have had as a sexual partner.

Working with Cancer Council Victoria, Thorne Harbour Health created the ‘Public Cervix Announcement’ campaign. This campaign was created to raise awareness around cervical cancer and debunk some of the myths around who should be screened.

PCA postcard

 

 

 

Sexual minority women face barriers to health care

The Conversation, October 23, 2019 9.25pm AEDT

Stigma and discrimination are common experiences that people who identify as LGBT or sexual minority face when accessing health services. One report found that one in seven LGBT people in the UK avoided seeking healthcare for fear of discrimination from staff. As many as one in four also experienced negative remarks against LGBT people from healthcare staff.

 

Healthcare failing transgender people

La Trobe University, 10/10/2019

Some trans and gender diverse patients would rather die than face ignorance and discrimination previously experienced in health care settings, according to La Trobe University research.

La Trobe PhD student Lucille Kerr surveyed 537 trans and gender diverse people from across Australia, asking detailed questions about their experiences in the Australian health system.

“We’ve found people being refused care, experiencing significant mistreatment, and having to educate their own doctors,” Ms Kerr said.

“Although some reported having found understanding, well-informed doctors, most of our findings are concerning, with some deeply worrying. We urgently need widespread training and education within the healthcare system.”