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Birth rape is a slightly controversial term that has been going around the internet for quite some years now. It doesn't refer to sexual acts, but instead to healthcare professionals like obstetricians, nurses and midwives violating a woman in the process of labor and birth. Birth rape is a term that describes experiences like forced cervical checks, episiotomies, and holding a woman down while doing something to her without her consent, or while she is explicitly shouting "No".

Women who feel they experienced birth rape had traumatizing births that they feel were caused by a lack of autonomy and respect during labor and delivery, from the side of people who were in a position to force their will on a woman in a very vulnerable state. Birth rape might not have sexual intent, but like ordinary rape is certainly about power and control. And just the fact that the perpetrator doesn't have sexual intentions does not mean that a woman who experiences this type of violating does not feel sexually violated.

In most countries, principles of informed consent are part of the law, and healthcare providers are not legally allowed to force procedures that are not consented to particularly in cases where there is no immediate medical need, or any medical need at all. If you feel that this describes your birth, and you are traumatized by what you underwent during your birth, you have options. You can talk to a therapist to work out these feelings, and heal.

You can also consider writing a letter to your hospital to receive acknowledgment of what happened, and you may want to sue the healthcare professional who did this to you. Experiencing birth rape can be extremely confusing, since the traumatizing experience did result in your baby's birth, which is wonderful. You are not alone, and your voice can be heard.

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