“Women are not uteri on legs! “

Lack of information, refusal to obtain the patient’s consent, gestures not approved by science (even dangerous), infantilization, threats, negligence, even insults. Here is what can constitute one of the definitions of “gynecological and obstetric violence”. A taboo subject, minimized or ignored by doctors and unknown to the general public. In a packed multipurpose room in the thirteenth arrondissement of Paris, a meeting-debate on the subject was held this Saturday, March 18, organized by the association “bien naître au XXIe siècle”. In the room, Basma Boubakri and Véronica Graham represented the, and the Collective of women victims of obstetric violence, born from their own experience of childbirth. Also present were Mélanie Déchalotte, journalist and producer for France Culture of several subjects on mistreatment during childbirth and Martin Winkler, former doctor and writer. Among the participants, Chantal Ducroux-Schouwey, from Ciane (Interassociative collective around birth) denounced the place of women in obstetrics, “reduced to uteruses on legs”. A young woman took the floor to denounce what she had experienced. “We are given birth anyhow, in non-physiological positions. A year and a half ago, as my baby was not coming out (after only 20 minutes) and my epidural was not working, the medical team held me during the instrumental extraction. A memory still traumatic for the young woman. An intern at the hospital explained to the ward that she too had undoubtedly been mistreating future mothers. The reasons: lack of sleep, stress, pressure from leaders who force them to make certain actions even when they notice the suffering that this causes. A midwife practicing home deliveries also spoke out to denounce this violence which takes place at a time when the woman (and her companion) are in a very vulnerable situation. Basma Boubakri, president of the Collective, encouraged young mothers to write down everything they remembered just after giving birth, and then to file a complaint against the establishments in the event of mistreatment.

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