Have you ever heard the term obstetric violence?
It’s when a person experiences pain, intimidation, fear, humiliation, or loss of dignity at the hands of a care provider during pregnancy, childbirth, or the immediate postpartum period.
It includes intentional acts of emotional, verbal or sexual violence; obstetric practices like unnecessary episiotomies; a lack of compassion or empathy towards a laboring person; or a lack of consent for obstetric interventions.
Obstetric violence occurs much more frequently than you might imagine. Often, women are not even aware they’ve been victims of it. That’s because it’s one of the most under-studied and under-reported aspects of gender-based violence in the world.
Here in Sri Lanka, it might best be described as a kind of silent epidemic in our maternal healthcare system.