Spiller Publishes article in Social Problems

“Screaming, ‘No! No!’ It was Literally Like Being Raped”: Connecting Sexual Assault Trauma and Coerced Obstetric Procedures

Theresa Morris, Joan H Robinson, Keridwyn Spiller, Amanda Gomez

Social Problems, spab024, https://doi-org.ucsf.idm.oclc.org/10.1093/socpro/spab024
Published: 20 July 2021


How does the victimization of women’s bodies in medical interactions contribute to their experience of gendered violence? We answer this question by joining sexual assault and birth trauma literatures with the medical sociology conversation on the power of hospitals as organizations and the hierarchy of the doctor-patient relationship to analyze the interviews of 101 women who identify as having experienced a coerced, pressured, or forced labor or birth procedure. We find some respondents analogize their experiences to that of someone who has been sexually assaulted, and they and other respondents describe the aftermath effects in ways similar to those who have been victims of sexual assault. Our research demonstrates that clinicians and hospitals are harming patients, often through the normal application of established hospital protocols and behaviors, when women do not feel involved in decisions about their care.