Hazel Keedle , Warren Keedle, and Hannah G. Dahlen

Globally, a significant number of women report experiencing obstetric violence (OV) during childbirth. The United Nations has identified OV as a form of gendered violence. OV can be perpetrated by any healthcare professional (HCP) and is influenced by systemic issues such as HCP education, staffing ratios, and lack of access to continuity of care. The current study examined the experiences of OV reported in a national survey conducted in 2021 by Australian women who had given birth in the previous five years. A content analysis of 626 open-text comments revealed three main categories: “I felt dehumanized,” “I felt violated,” and “I felt powerless.” Women reported instances of bullying, coercion, non-empathic care, and physical and sexual assault. The subcategories with the most comments were disrespect and abuse, as well as non-consented vaginal examinations.

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