If you are a regular reader of this blog you will know that I like to look at African women’s sexualities in all its diversityand breadth. I recently found out that Dr Sylvia Tamale based at Makerere University is compiling a reader on African women’s sexualities. Do read her call for information below and please put your experience in the comments box to contribute to this important piece of research:
“I’m collecting diverse experiences that African women have had regarding their reproductive health/care. I think it’s important to document them, ranging from the most shocking to the most pleasant. I believe that it’ll be empowering to share such experiences and knowledge by publishing some of them in the “Reader on African Sexualities” that I am editing. This idea was triggered by my recent encounter with a rather impersonal and cold gynecologist where I’d gone for a routine pap smear. She asked, “Are you ready for the ORDEAL?!” Later, when I was undressing she, together with the nurse, held up a white sheet to “offer me some privacy.” Not seeing the logic in hiding my nakedness from people for whom I was going to bear my most ‘private’ body parts under the glare of a spotlight, I asked them to put down the sheet. However, the doctor insisted on holding it up arguing that it was their “usual practice.” When I told this story to a friend, she herself had several gyn/ob stories to tell, including the one who told her (as she lay on his hard examination bed with her thighs open), “Oh did you know you had grey hair?!” I am therefore inviting you to share some of your most dreadful (for some not so dreadful, even pleasant) Ob/Gyn visits stories. We’ve all been there for various reasons… prenatal & postnatal care, delivery, pap> smears, routine check-ups, IUD insertion & birth control advice, abortion,hymen reconstruction, artificial reproductive techniques, menopause management, Hysterectomy, Cosmetic Surgery, sexual advice, STD Diagnosis & Treatment, Abnormal Bleeding, Fibroid treatment, etc, etc, etc.Confidentiality will of course be observed if requested.
Dr Sylvia Tamale, Makerere University”