Pregnancy is a time of hormonal instability. If a pregnant woman was raped in her childhood or adolescence, the trauma can surface through this disorder. Here are three good reasons to watch First do no harm, an unfiltered documentary about supporting these traumatized women.
Sometimes pregnancy changes everything. When a pregnant woman sees the traumas of her past resurface. When the unborn child revives the wounds of the child it was. In Strasbourg and Obernai in Alsace, a multidisciplinary team is helping these women devastated by childhood rape or touching; and whose memory resurfaces during her pregnancy.
Here are three good reasons to watch Eric Lemasson’s documentary First Do No Harm. Found a little later in the article.
A number that makes you shudder. According to the Council of Europe, almost every fifth child experiences sexual violence. Among these abused children there are those – too few – who seek justice and who seek help, and the others who survive by burying their traumas.
“LThe perinatal period is a key moment of psychic transparency where many elements in the body and mind can re-emerge. We see many behaviors of unexplained depression during pregnancy and postpartum“, explains Nicole Andrieu from the association Autour de la Bulle in Obernai.
In the course of consultations for one symptom or another, physicians and nurses have noticed that certain patients have unusual reactions to medical procedures and care that, in the course of their practice, seem perfectly natural to them. “Just by feeling the stomach we can see very well if the woman is tense, tense“, explains Professor Romain Favre, gynaecologist-obstetrician Center for Medico-Surgical Obstetrics (CMCO), University Hospitals of Strasbourg.
A woman who has suffered sexual violence and has not received treatment will have obstetric complications 80% of the time.Violaine Guérin, endocrinologist and gynaecologist
Alexa Vrzesinski, osteopath enlightens us: “Sexual violence is first and foremost an intervention through touch; These are patients who have a very special relationship to touch. There is a distance problem. We try to re-teach them the relationship to benevolent and soothing touches.“
Because, drives Dr. Violaine Guerin continued: “Sexual violence is primarily physical violence before it becomes psychological trauma. [C’est comme] A bullet hitting the mouth, rectum, or vagina.”
She adds: “I asked my patients with autoimmune diseases [quand le corps fait du mal au corps, ndlr] Words about this illness and many came back with a history of sexual violence. It was a shock to me (…). No link had ever been made between the sexual violence and the symptoms they experienced; Today, publications agree that a woman who has suffered sexual violence and has not followed treatment will have obstetric complications 80% of the time.“
Because a doctor, a nurse, by practicing certain gestures, can revive pain. And while it used to be customary for the doctor to carry out his care without explanation, the law now obliges him to warn the patient and obtain his consent. But that’s not enough in the eyes of this care team. Also explained, a gesture can provoke suffering and rejection.
Professor Israel Nisand (former President of the National College of French Obstetricians and Gynaecologists) explains this idea: “We need to reverse the paradigm; we were taught on the benches in medical school not to put ourselves in the patient’s place; It’s a mistake. If every doctor said to himself before making a gesture, and if this was done to me or my daughter or my companion, would I accept it?“
Because of this, these caregivers have developed an innovative approach to supporting pregnancies so as not to add too much trauma. “When a woman has experienced sexual violence, we know it’s like a pressure cooker about to explode. You need to change your reading frame and change your perspective“, explains Nadine Knezovic-Daniel, midwifery coordinator at the Center for Obstetrics and Gynecology in Strasbourg.
dr Violaine Guérin (endocrinologist, gynaecologist, founder of Stop Sexual Violence) is surprised: “I studied at the Necker Children’s Hospital and have never heard of sexual violence against children and hardly any physical violence. The only minute we mentioned it was in the coroner’s office learning how to take a sample from a raped woman; it’s almost not an issue today; barely three or four hours in a year-long course.“
It is therefore important to ask the right questions. What happened in this patient’s life that caused her body to produce such symptoms or such reactions? The doctor adds: “The less we listen to the body, the louder it speaks. If the patient makes the connection between his symptoms and sexual violence, we can have pathologies that completely resolve.(…) I encourage midwives and doctors to systematically ask the question about sexual violence.“What Professor Favre and Nadine Knezovic-Daniel, midwife: “There is no right way to ask the question, the main thing is to ask the question.“
So when Nicole Andrieu asks her patients “Do you feel a murderous energy inside you?‘ and she sees the shaky look, she knows she’s started something.
They are there, standing in front of the camera and telling about their attacks, their pain. Then the consequences, rejection, shame, addictions, scarification. Her relationship to men, to children, to everyone else changed forever.
Andréa Bescond, who drew a book and then a film from her experience. Nour, who finds a way to express his anger in martial arts and thus finds serenity. Elsa with her trials tattooed on her body. Brenda and her fear of not being a good mother, and finally Nina, who draws a picture of her story. Her testimonies are uncompromising, direct, intimate, in a word overwhelming.