A “groundbreaking” new clinic offering specialised health care for victims of sexual violence is to open later this month.
The My Body Back (MBB) project, sthe first of its kind in Scotland, will provide a supportive environment where survivors can have their routine smear tests.
The clinic, staffed by NHS doctors, nurses and counsellors, as well as volunteers from Rape Crisis Scotland, will be based in Glasgow. It will be available on the second Saturday of every month but patents need to book an appointment slot in advance.
Its introduction has been welcomed by experts who say survivors of sexual violence may need additional support to get the care they need, particularly that which requires intimate examination.
Pavan Amara founded the MBB charity after she was raped, spurred on by a lack of support services. The clinic, she said, would make a difference to women struggling with feelings about their physicality.
She explained: “There was a lot of emotional support but zero support that recognised how being raped had hugely affected my body image and how terribly I felt about it afterwards.
“This left me with lots of problems, but no support services to deal with it.”
She added: “I started the project after interviewing thirty other women about how rape had left them feeling about their bodies.
“All thirty said they had problems with enjoying sex again, problems with body image, and big problems accessing healthcare as they didn’t want to be touched by a stranger such as a health professional.”
The MBB clinic in Glasgow is a collaboration between MBB, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, the West of Scotland Managed Clinical Network for Sexual Health, Rape Crisis Scotland, and Rape Crisis Glasgow and Clyde.
Dr Pauline McGough from the West of Scotland Managed Clinical Network for Sexual Health, said: “This is a really exciting new service for women survivors of sexual violence in the west of Scotland.
“When one of our clinicians first highlighted My Body Back we knew that this was a groundbreaking service who we wanted to work with and adapt to a Scottish context.”
Funding for the initiative has been provided by the Voluntary Action Fund’s Equally Safe (Violence against Women and Girls) Fund.