On record in 2016/17, almost 11,000 sexual crimes were reported in Scotland alone, which showed a 5.2% increase from the year before, as well as being noted as a record high. The year, ending March 2017, had figures showing that 1,755 rapes had been reported amongst those crimes, showing a 2.3% increase for that single offence. As these numbers are horrifyingly on the up, it's great to hear that the country's first clinic for victims of sexual violence is opening at the end of this month.
MBB — the My Body Back project — is opening its doors at Sandyford in Glasgow at the end of February and is entirely funded by the Scottish government. This will be the second MBB clinic in the UK, with the first launching back in August 2015 at St Bart's Hospital in London.
The woman behind My Body Back is Pavan Amara, a sexual violence victim who was raped as a teenager and suffered tremendously with regards to her relationship with her body in the following years. After her own ordeal, Amara looked into how rape and other forms of sexual violence had impacted other women's lives, and found that in a focus group with 30 other women, all of them had issues with body image, sexual relationships and anxieties surrounding being seen by health professionals as a result of what they'd been through. From there, My Body Back was born.
Talking to the BBC, Amara said, “I started My Body Back after I was raped myself, and found there were no services for how awful being raped left me feeling about my physicality. There was a lot of emotional support but zero support that recognised how being raped had hugely affected my body image and how terribly I felt about it afterwards. This left me with lots of problems, but no support services to deal with it.”
As well as offering the clinic to victims who need the support, the project also focuses its attention to the training of staff who work in sexual health services in order to help expand specialist services beyond the two clinics. In the clinic itself, cervical screenings, STI tests, and contraceptive care will be available.
The clinic is open to all women and trans men living in the UK and doesn't require a referral from a medical professional. You can book an appointment at MBB Glasgow here.