Things I read this week that I found interesting

Each week, I’ll be putting together some things I read this week–that weren’t even necessarily written this week–that I found interesting, thought-provoking or enjoyable. Here’s this week’s reading. Feel free to pop anything else I might like into the comments.

Symphysiotomy survivors gather to recount stories of torture ( Trigger warning for abuse by doctors. I hadn’t heard about this procedure until I read this article. Up to 1500 Irish women were given a procedure called a symphysiotomy during childbirth. This involves sawing through pelvic cartilage with a hacksaw. It’s usually a last resort, when a C-section is impossible. It was thoroughly unnecessary. They didn’t consent. Many were left permanently disabled.

Grace’s Trans 101: An Introduction to Transsexuality and Some Answers to Frequently Asked Questions (Alas, A Blog)- An overview of trans. Worth a read, particularly for cis allies.

A fate worse than death (O.M. Grey)- Righteously furious piece about rape culture.

Racism within white feminist spaces (Black Feminists Manchester)- If you are a white feminist, read this. You are probably doing–or have done–some of these things. Read this. Resolve to be better.

The truth about false accusation (The Enliven Project)- An excellent infographic illustrating false accusations of rape. Note: these are based in US statistics. In the UK, the conviction to reporting ratio is slightly better.

As the #transdocfail hashtag showed, many trans people are afraid of their doctors (Charlie Hallam)- Trigger warnings. Charlie outlines the horrific processes and abuses trans people experience when engaging with healthcare.

Do you have sex like a girl? (It’s Just A Hobby)- Sex, intersectionality, calling out transphobic bullshit. This post has it all.

Privileges and oppression are never… irrelevant (Ally Fogg)- Ally on why we can’t just close our eyes and pretend some oppressions are irrelevant.

And finally, a little treat. Here’s a very important musical public service announcement from Nadia Kamil:

3 thoughts on “Things I read this week that I found interesting”

  1. Symphysiotomy was popular in the mid 19th century for ‘disproportion, where the baby’s head was larger than the mother’s pelvis; the pelvis was often small because of disease or malnutrition. At that time, laparotomy and Caesarian section were dangerous. Symphysiotomy was also seen as a safer option than Caesarian section because “once a Caesar, always a Caesar” — there was a substantial risk of uterine rupture (at the scar) during labour, often fatal. Symphysiotomy was, however, a one-time procedure, and it was recommended that it should be repaired after delivery, with a pelvic corset or support for a year thereafter. It wasn’t intended as a way of making subsequent deliveries easier. The problems of pelvic pain and difficulty walking were well recognised.

    However, the “once a Caesar, always a Caesar” attitude persisted, even after the original uterine incision was replaced by one that did allow subsequent vaginal deliveries.

    There was no concept of contraception in Ireland, and families with 12 or more children were common; twelve Caesarian sections would have been seen as impossible.

  2. It’s usually a last resort, when a C-section is impossible. It was thoroughly unnecessary.

    That actually wasn’t the reason it was done in Ireland (it is sometimes — very rarely done for that reason in places where a Caesarian really is impossible, such as when a woman is far from a hospital and has no hope of getting to one, and the baby is in distress). The reason was to prevent more Caesarians so as to make future use of contraception unnecessary, because having more than three Caesarians is strongly discouraged and contraception was against what the Catholic church was teaching back then. The thinking was that the woman would be able to go on delivering baby after baby relatively easily and there was no “moral danger”. The majority of hospitals that practised it were church-run.

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