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Pelvic exam after rape

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I feel somewhat like a failure tonight. I have been having many issues 'down there' and became fearful that my constant self-harm has caused damage. I decided that I would give a pelvic exam another try. It would also be a major thing for me because I have never had a successful pelvic exam. I tried once, and I burst out crying the second the doctor touched me. She invited my mother in to help relax me, but I still was crying. The exam couldn't be done.

Fast forward about seven years later to this year. I no longer have a relationship with my mother because of actions she did in the past. I really tried to make amends with her earlier in the year, but it didn't go well. At one point, she told me, "how will you ever have children if you can't even have a pelvic exam?" That hurt me so deeply because I did not choose to be raped, nor did I choose to tense up when the doctor touched me. I really felt like my failure was her success.

So today, with my current problem, I went to the doctors and specifically requested a pelvic exam. I wanted to be able to put this all behind me. I felt that I was ready because I can better relax, and I know what to exact this time around, but the moment I put my legs up and stretched them out, I started to freak out. I was able to handle her touching me, but once she started inserting the tools, I couldn't hold still and squirmed around. It was the oddest feeling ever. I thought I was doing alright and hanging in there, but after only five minutes she said that I was having hard time and that she couldn't continue. She did manage to get some samples, but it wasn't the full pelvic exam that I wanted. I still don't know if there's something wrong with me.

I just don't know what to do. I feel like the only way I can have a pelvic exam is being put to sleep, or having muscle relaxers. My therapist talked about finding a gynecologist that knows how to work with sexual abuse victims, but I haven't had any luck finding someone like that. Part of what makers it hard is with both doctors, any sign of disconfront from me and they stop. In a sense they are too gentle with me.

I've always wondered how women have pelvic exams after being raped. I have to admit that I feel tempted to find some random guy help me be more comfortable with being touched and penetrated, but I know that's not the answer and could lead to worse problems.

Does anyone have any healthy suggestions on how I can work on this issue?


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Maybe you could try just placing your own hands around there and see if it makes you anymore comfortable? Breathing slow and deep, maybe talking to the doctor about plans? Good luck ♥


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Thanks for the suggestion. I have tried touching myself down there, and I am capable of doing it. I'm also capable of using tampons, so because of these two things, I thought I would be able to have the pelvic exam. I did talk to my therapist about this, and she talked about how we could create some techniques to help myself relax while it's happening, so hopefully I'm able to do that.

total eclipse

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Staff Alumni
What i do is i put my mind into a different place a safe place almost dissassociate really im not there also the technician always allows me to insert the scanning wand that way it is I who have control hugs


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First thing I want to tell you is how sorry I am that you were forced into this kind of fear of such a personal exam. Many women who have never been sexually abused and much less raped have fears and apprehension of going to the gynecologist. There's nothing wrong with you for feeling that way. In fact it would be highly unusual if you were comfortable. Exams of this nature are ones I would avoid if I could. Believe me, I know what it feels like to be laying there exposed and feeling vulnerable and as if your not in control. This may sound stupid but when I am lying down during the exam I do math in my head to distract my thoughts. I also try to comfort myself by mentally reminding myself that ultimately I am in control of this situation. I can stop the exam at anytime. I have found that the more I distract and remind myself that I am in control the less tense I am and more relaxed those muscles become. This is something I have been working on for nearly 20 years. I doubt I will ever be comfortable having one of these exams, but each time I have one I take a baby step toward comfort and freedom from fear.

One thing you might want to try is before the exams start let the dr. know that you are a survivor and as a result you will likely tense up and the exam might take a bit longer as you may need time to relax periodically. I think a lot of time the dr's assume they are hurting you/me when I /you tense up and tears build up in our eyes. Believe me it helps to have a dr. that knows what happened to you.

I'm not sure if that constitutes advice or suggestions, but it's all I have.

This is for you if it is okay. :hug:


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I had the same reaction as you had. It couldn't be done by me. So I went to a female gynecologist and had the exam done while I had an epidurale. They first wanted to put me a sleep, but I didn't want to because I would lose control. While an epidurale, I would still be able to know what was going on without feeling it.
I was a rape victim too when i was just a secondary/high school student. When the police wanted a medical report of the rape, i screamed everytime the doctor touch me there with her tools. It was until the doctor sedated me before she can do a full pelvic exam. :sad:


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Thank you so much for the wonderful advice. It really does help, and I appreciate it. When I had the examination, my main focus was on not tensing up, which of course caused me to. So the advice to put my mind elsewhere will probably help me stay calm. I also like the idea of an epidurale. I think I'll use that until I'm able to do it without one.

Thanks again. I feel more hopeful about this, and it helps to know I'm not alone.


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Well I'm not good at them either.
Just a brief history, I was abused for years and could never do the exams to get the evidence. I'm terrified of them as well.
I had offered to be sedated but they wouldn't for legal reasons as they didn't want to force me.

It's terrifying and you have every reason to be afraid. If anytime someone reached out to shake your hand you were hurt, it would be the same scenario. It's just a different body part but it was hurt and associates that touch of the instrument with pain and trauma. It's normal.

I would just keep trying. It's all you can do. A bit at a time and the more you see they are not hurting but trying to help it might be better. I will not say it will get easier but better for you and enough that you can complete the exam.

Also, do they offer to have someone there to support you like a nurse?
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