I don’t particularly like saying I’ve been “victimized” nor do I like thinking of myself as a “victim”. I never have. The truth is though, according to the Merriam Webster Dictionary, I have been victimized. Merriam defines victimized as follows: to treat (someone) cruelly or unfairly: to make a victim of; to subject to deception or fraud. Victim is defined as: a person who has been attacked, injured, robbed, or killed by someone else; a person who is cheated or fooled by someone else and someone or something that is harmed by an unpleasant event (such as an illness or accident).
In 2007, I was knocked out with Versed and surgically assaulted. I wrote about what happened to me here. The reason I use the word “assaulted” is because I did not consent to surgery – more specifically I did not consent to castration. Indeed, I was treated cruelly. I was attacked, injured, and robbed.
When there is no consent for surgery, it’s absolutely considered assault and battery. With over half a million women undergoing hysterectomy each year, it’s hard to imagine that there is informed consent in all of those cases – really hard to imagine. It would be bad enough if women were only up against hysterectomy and castration abuse, but sadly, there are many more ways women are being abused and victimized by medicine. You can read more about that here.
So what’s a victim to do? How does a victim start over and find purpose in her life again? Where exactly does a victim turn for help? How does a victim heal from the trauma? I suspect the answers to these questions might differ from one victim to another. The answers would also likely depend largely on the circumstances. And, while I can’t answer for other victims, I can certainly explain how I’ve managed to go on and even find purpose again.
One of the most important steps I took was to reach out. I know from experience that it is never a good idea to isolate oneself – although it is often human nature to do just that during times of trauma. For me personally, I knew that I needed to contact lawyers to see how I might go about pursuing a medical malpractice suit, since I did not consent to surgery.
I also contacted the police to see if filing criminal charges was an option for me. I found out it wasn’t because, according to the police officers I spoke with, it’s considered a “civil” case when a person’s been harmed by a doctor inside a hospital. More regarding how I feel about that another day though.
I reached out to local lawmakers and testified in both Indiana and Kentucky regarding hysterectomy informed consent laws or rather the lack of them. And last but not least, I reached out to other women who’ve been abused by medicine. Sadly, there are many – too many.
And while contacting lawyers, police, lawmakers, and other women made make me feel less like a victim externally, I still felt like a victim internally. I have never allowed myself to assume the role of victim and I didn’t want to do that in this case either. I searched my heart and knew what I needed to do. I needed to write. So, I created a blog site here and then a website here and eventually a Facebook page here. And, I’ve written a variety of articles for Hormones Matter as well.
The way I process, heal and communicate is through my written words. Ultimately, as negative and painful as undergoing unconsented hysterectomy and castration has been for me, it forced me to connect with and understand who I am at the deepest level of my being. When my former doctor took the violent actions he did against me, something so precious –so incalculable- was taken from me in that instant: my value and my worth – as a human being and especially as a woman. I had to dig deep to find myself again. I’m still digging…
As the anniversary of my surgical assault draws near on September 27, I can’t help but think about that day that changed my life, health and sexuality forever. I’ve asked myself over and over again why was I targeted for unnecessary surgery and why was I knocked out against my will, sliced open, and castrated. This is what I have concluded. During the two hours I was in surgery, I was nothing more than an object that happened to possess the pieces or body parts necessary to make money for that doctor and that hospital. Behind those surgical doors, I was treated as property (though never purchased), that my former doctor felt he had the right to touch and use for his own purposes.
During those two hours, I had no voice, no thoughts, no feelings, no soul, no mind, no emotions, no power and no potential. I only had a vagina and the life-sustaining organs that lived inside of it. And he felt entitled to that – entitled to take away my life-sustaining organs and my womanhood without actually knowing or caring anything about me. He violated me in the worst possible way one human being can violate another human being. That doctor ruined my life, my sexuality, and my health without even the slightest regard for how profoundly my life would change. Every dream I carried inside of me was crushed beyond recognition because of what he did with his scalpel.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned through this nightmare experience, it’s that I have to speak out about what happened and call things the way they are – even if that’s not necessarily what others are comfortable hearing and knowing.
I don’t sugarcoat what happened to me. I can’t. What was done to me was violent, shameful, wrong, immoral, unacceptable and downright evil. It was painful, hurtful, disrespectful, discriminatory, barbaric and criminal. I try to soften the trauma of what happened by reaching out to other women who’ve been victimized to let them know they are not alone in their devastation.
And, of course, my hope is to help women who’ve not yet been victimized know the truth about hysterectomy and castration that their doctors simply will not tell them. In other words, in helping other women, I’m taking the horror of what happened to me and I’m turning it into something of worth. I’m turning my pain into something I can at least live with and not lose my sanity completely.
I feel. I connect. I cry. I learn. I speak. I fight. I write.
The devastation I’ve endured in this situation is matchless to anything I have ever experienced before other than the loss of my two youngest children. There’s no way I can say it isn’t. At my weakest moments, I remember my strength. I remember that I have a voice. I speak and I speak loudly. I speak not only for my own sake, but for the sake of millions of other women. When I tell my story, I’m telling the story of all women who’ve been abused and victimized by medicine. Knowing I am helping someone else, helps me survive.
Speak Up! Speak Out!
I would love for more women to take a stand with me against the medical abuse of women. Please consider sharing your own story on the Hormones Matter site. Let’s connect and see what we can do together as one large voice!
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This post was published originally on Hormones Matter in September 2014.
I have not read most of the content on your blog as of yet, but I have to comment. I am so sorry that you endured such a traumatic & forever life-altering event. I can only imagine the sense of loss you must have felt upon waking in that recovery room, feeling powerless, and no pun intended, impotent. //The definition of the word “impotent” is:
IMPOTENT[ im-puh-tuhnt ]
not potent; lacking power or ability.
utterly unable (to do something).
without force or effectiveness.
lacking bodily strength or physically helpless.///
Lacking power or ability- without force or effectiveness, physically helpless. Utterly unable. All of these words bring back images of my own surgeries that forever changed, not just my life, but me. That said, even if I feel that the consent that I gave was either given under false pretenses or in the case of my emergency C-section, completely out of my control due to doctor errors in the labor process; at least I gave consent. At least I thought I knew what I was getting into, at least I didn’t wake up and find out that someone else decided my future for me. I can only say again, I’m so sorry, and that feels inadequate.
I, too, dislike describing myself as a victim, however I don’t know that another word works. I feel like I’ve been at the mercy of uneducated, misinformed medical professionals my entire life. I have a genetic condition called “Ehler’s Danlos Syndrome, which causes cartilage defects- sounds simple enough- but it just isn’t. Basically, my cartilage lacks enough “glue” that holds most people’s cartilage together, and because our entire body is made up of it, every part of my body is just a little different than most. I’m “stretchier”, not just in my very hyper mobile joints as once thought- but my eyes, causing glaucoma. My heart, causing enlarged heart and aorta distortion. My pelvic organs, causing complete and total prolapses. You get the idea. I wasn’t diagnosed until 10 years ago at the age of 35- and have spent those 10 years battling one medical problem after the next because of the inadequate treatment received in my first 35 years due to the ignorance about my condition.
Okay. I can live with that because, thankfully, I’m still living and it definitely wasn’t a given at times. And my condition was not widely understood. No one’s fault. I’m not angry. What I am, however, is a very experienced “patient.” And now I realize the need we have for educated, UNBIASED advocates for the patients so that maybe someday the medical community will have some minute level of accountability and responsibility for their actions. And hopefully, maybe it may actually happen before life changing surgery takes away parts of us that we can never get back.
In my experience, BY FAR, the most disingenuous specialty is the female reproductive health system, and it’s not even close. It’s appalling that in today’s world, with all we know, there are still pharmaceutical companies making our contraceptive choices for us- in the form of kickbacks & incentives to our medical facilities. Unnecessary gynecological surgeries pay for the fancy new cancer and cardiac wings that bring in the big money. Because even though most insurance companies ask for a second opinion for most hysterectomies now, they are easy to find. And how do we deal with the disillusioned patients afterwards? Well, we just completely invalidate any
concerns and deny any association between our symptoms & the surgeries, no matter how obvious they may be.
I could go on and on, but I’ve said enough for now. Again, I’m sorry. What happened to you isn’t okay. And I believe that in this life MOST things are fixable. We can fix most of the mistakes we make, heal most wounds, and if we really try, we can make things better than before. Unfortunately, this cannot be said for you, or me in reference to this topic. You healed physically and found a new purpose; but it will NEVER be all better, and you likely will never trust a medical professional again- and the only one who has to live with any of the consequences is you. God Bless & Hugs, and THANK YOU for sharing your story and making a difference!
How do you manage the emotional roller coasters after a complete hysterectomy without meds?
I also just want to add, that anyone and I mean anyone who comes forward and dismisses the seriousness of the adverse effects of a hysterectomy, are far, far more painful and life threatening than any of the diseases that a woman has gynecologly. We are lied to, 100%. To remove a woman’s organs is no different than if 500K men a year were castrated and their penis’s shortened. As Robin has mentioned before, according to the law to castrate a man or a sex offender is seen as unethical and in humane. So why are woman castrated?! Every single day? Why? Why is this allowed? it is also proven that within 9 months in the womb when a human is forming, the gonads (testes or ovaries) will develop into either a male or female. These VITAL organs the gonads are a vital part of the endocrine system, and serve the same functions throughout the life of the human, whether female or male. There is no difference. Can everyone see how clearly this picture is now. The ovaries are the gonads, the female version of the male testes. So can you imagine again if men were castrated, everyday, just like woman. I hope that shows a different picture. It is the most deep down awful feeling being a castrated woman, it is internally painful inside ones heart. How can I live like this everyday? Its truly is disgusting.
By disgusting to add I mean a “disgusting” practice by medical hospitals.
Hi Robin, I know that we have spoken to each other before via Hormones matter. It is so weird that you published this on my birthday, this year. I also have been the “unknowing” and “trusting” victim of a TVH and BSO. It is just disgusting what these doctors do, it really is. I am only 39 and it took me literally 3 years to figure out what “really” happened. I still want to reach out to many woman and see how we can all come together and fight this with a civil action suit where we can come together and bring forward the cases of misinformed consent – a legal prerequisite to consent. Please anyone else who is interested in this, please come forward through Robin’s article, I would love to hear your thoughts on this. There are enough woman who if we all came together could seriously have a case.
J. Hudson – I am so sorry this was done to you too. It has been 13 years since I was hysterectomized and castrated and it is shocking that nothing has changed. Have you had any success in organizing a group to get justice for all of us who have been so horrifically harmed?
And what’s next in the story? Being you I’d be planning to get the heads of the doctors on a silver platter.
I hope that you are not being condescending, this is not a laughing matter.
I wish I understood the circumstances that lead up to someone finding themselves in this position. How did you end up getting a hysterectomy against your will, or withour informed consent, so it won’t happen to me or others?
Never Again, I so appreciate you taking the time to comment on my article here. Sadly, I think all women are targeted by medicine and nobody will ever convince me otherwise. You are absolutely correct about “generic” consent forms being used in place of “informed” consent so that doctors can do what they want – not what’s necessarily best for the patient. Hospitals are a “business” first and foremost. Consumers -I mean patients- would do well to remember that…
Robin, as you know I have not had a hysterectomy. I’m still surprised that I haven’t. When I had my broken arm fixed and signed the document allowing the medical people to do whatever was necessary, they could easily have decided, when they were playing around with my crotch, that I needed a hysterectomy. After all I signed the document… I ASSUMED that they were honest about their intentions. I ASSUMED that an informed consent would be forthcoming. I had no idea that a generic carte blanche was all they needed to do anything they wanted without my informed consent.
On another note, you are gorgeous. I thought that maybe the reason I was treated worse than a dog was because I’m older and nowhere near as beautiful as you. Now I know that my looks didn’t matter one single bit. It was all about complete disrespect for me as a human being.
Robin, I was also a victim of the hysterectomy industry. I made the mistake of trusting my gynecologist of 20 years. How could I have fathomed that he would intentionally harm me after receiving good care for 20 years?!
It has been 8 years and I don’t think I will ever “get over” this betrayal and assault on my body and health. Connecting with other women has helped. Writing about my experience on Hormones Matter and elsewhere has also helped and gives me a new purpose (albeit one I would have preferred not having). People can find my articles here by searching for “hysterectomy” and then clicking on “WS” for a complete list.