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    by Ngozi Osuagwu, MD | October 7th, 2018


    Along with being National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and I thought this would be a good month to discuss the last in our series –Suffer No More in Silence – Emotional/Verbal abuse. Emotional abuse is any behavior used to control and mistreat another person. It is a form of domestic violence. Emotional abuse is real and has significant consequences if not addressed.  It can actually lead to physical abuse. Long term, it can manifest as physical ailments like chronic pelvic pain, headaches, depression or anxiety.  Verbal abuse is the most common form of emotional abuse.  Usually one is embarrassed to discuss emotional abuse because there are no physical signs.

    If you think that you are being abused emotionally, you probably are and you should get help. You no longer have to suffer in silence. You are not alone and you should not feel isolated. You have rights.

    The University of Michigan has published the Relationship Bill of Rights. It is a reminder for all of us.

    I have the right:

    • To an equal and healthy relationship with my partner
    • To be respected
    • To change my mind
    • To kindness from my partner
    • To emotional support
    • To be listened to politely by my partner
    • To have my own opinions, even if my partner disagrees
    • To have my own feelings
    • To clear and honest answers to questions that concern me
    • To live free from criticism and judgment
    • To have my work and interests spoken of with respect
    • To encouragement
    • To live free from emotional and physical threat
    • To live free from angry outburst and rage
    • To be called by no names that hurts, shames or puts me down
    • To be respectfully asked rather than ordered
    • To be myself as long as I am respectful of others
    • To not have physical or sexual contact with my partner when I choose

    If your rights are not being honored and you are afraid to get out of the relationship, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE) or 1-800-787-3224 (TTY).  You do not have to be physically abused to call. Emotional abuse is real. You are not alone. Everyone has these rights regardless of their age.

    For more on the Suffer No More in Silence Series – please see below:

    Suffer No More in Silence – Urinary Incontinence

    Suffer No More in Silence – Sexual Health

    Suffer No More in Silence – Heavy Menstrual Flow

    Suffer No More in Silence – Vaginal Dryness

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    With her trademark wit and straightforward communication, Dr. Osuagwu continues to dole out valuable medical advice using the letter form and addressing women’s health conditions and issues in a method that was praised for its innovative approach in her earlier award-winning book, Letters to My Sisters: Plain Truths and Straightforward Advice from a Gynecologist. In this book, each letter is paired with reference sources and statistics about the condition that is the subject of the letter.

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    The book discusses common gynecological and women’s health issues in a series of witty and entertaining letters. These letters, all educational, offer suggestions on what approaches to take in tackling the medical problems that typically bring women to an ob/gynecologist. The letters are spiced with art, a poem and quotes. Although its emphasis is on gynecology and women’s health, it touches on some other medical issues that make women visit their doctors.

    The second half of the book briefly discusses the most common gynecological conditions and also provides an overview of sexually transmitted infections. A list of annotated websites dealing with the different topics in the book is provided for the reader who wants to pursue each subject in depth.

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