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I have recently had to go thru a couple of tests and procedures that required me to struggle with modesty and dignity. One of the tests was so intimate it has left me feeling raped. I grew up in a house full of boys, my privacy and modesty was and is refined to a heighten level.
In years and decades past, I was subtly and not-so-subtly taught that modesty was about sexuality, skin, and arousal, that my body was something to be ashamed of and covered. I can remember having to kneel to test the length of my dresses before it became an emphasis for the church in the 1960’s. I was never taught that I could still in style without being immodest.
Even as a child I remember being told that “men” were not to look at my naked body; yet my mother put me in front of a room sized x-ray machine, “so the medical men could look at my body,” without telling me they were looking to see if I had damaged heart from Rheumatic fever. My self esteem was so damaged over this issue that I wanted to be a boy for the advantages that my parents gave my brothers.
My mom’s modesty mantra created a deep anxiety about my sexuality that still affects me today, but how do you get the medical industry to understand that? How do you get the medical system to understand that modesty concerns mean considerable more to one patient than other? For the procedure I was undergoing, my request for same gender care could not be honored, because there were no female specialists in the area, but it was no less traumatic for one with a heighten modesty issue. It still left me feeling raped and in pain.