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  • Why I started advocating, my story and poem, Silenced No More, - by Bev Schechtman

    I don't usually put much about my personal experiences on this website. Some of you may have heard my story on the Pharmacy Podcast or read about it in the Wired article. I've been hearing from more and more patients who are experiencing abusive encounters in the hospital or doctor's office. So many have what appears to be PTSD from these encounters. I know I do. I wanted to briefly tell you what happened to me and why I started advocating in 2017. I have Crohn's and chronic kidney stones. In November of 2017 I went to the hospital for kidney stones. The ER doctor decided to admit me for pain and nausea control, and for fluids. Upon entering the room, the hospitalist asked why I had been given Ativan regularly. I told him it was for PTSD. He pressed me for the reason. I told him childhood trauma. He asked if it was specifically childhood sexual abuse, and I told him yes. He then told me due to that he couldn't give me IV opioids. That sexual abuse changed my brain chemistry and so would IV opioids, said I was too high risk for addiction. He jokingly punched me on the arm and said I'd thank him some day. I was treated horribly for the next 24 hours. Accused, interrogated, spoken down to, mocked, ignored. The lies they put in my EHR are astounding. I've spoken about this experience often on social media because I want others to feel less alone. To know they don't have to be silent if something similar happened to them. As you may know, victims of childhood sexual abuse are used to being silenced, used to feeling shame and fear, used to accepting abusive encounters. If this has happened to you, please know you aren't alone. The vast majority of doctors aren't like this. They'd be mortified by our abusive encounters in medicine. I've always been a writer, but I don't usually share poetry I've written. It's private. Kind of a part of how I've always coped. I want to share this poem, though. It feels vulnerable to share it, but I hope it helps someone. Feel free to reach out to me if you need someone to talk to.

    Silenced No More

    You can't tell
    My abuser would say
    They'll all blame you
    They'll make you pay

    Being blamed for abuse
    Was my biggest fear
    It's how he kept me silent
    Year after year

    I finally told
    And he was right
    They all blamed me
    For what happened at night

    It was taken to court
    The judge was on my side
    Telling my abuser
    It was his fault, not mine

    Over the years
    I've fought that shame
    Convincing that little girl
    That she wasn't to blame

    Decades have past
    I have kids of my own
    Felling less shame
    Now that I'm grown

    I was sick and in pain
    Went to the hospital for relief
    What happened next
    Was beyond belief

    Due to being abused
    You turned me away
    You  wouldn't treat my pain
    Said I'd thank you some day

    You let me cry and beg
    You never did help
    I left broken and lost
    A familiar feeling I felt

    The damage you did
    Was more than I can say
    You broke something in me
    When you turned me away

    Silencing survivors
    Empowering those who abuse
    Re-victimizing victims
    Is what you do

    You can't silence me now
    Try as you might
    I am stronger than you
    I was born for this fight

    (pdf) (Word)

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