On Sunday 17 September, Reproductive Health Matters hosted a successful day-long satellite meeting on disrespect and abuse in childbirth, or “obstetric violence.” The meeting was held ahead of the Sexual Violence Research Initiative Forum, which took place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from the 19-22 September.
RHM regional partners Simone Diniz and Ana Paula Portella took the lead in the organisation of this event, which brought together a group of 20 international researchers, activists and health practitioners to share contemporary research and issues related to disrespect and abuse in childbirth.
Through the day, participants shared their own work and research in this area, debating important issues such as how best to name and frame such violence against women; how current institutional cultures and health care professional training curricula can, in some contexts, contribute to the entrenchment and reproduction of harmful attitudes and practices; how sensitisation and awareness programmes can contribute to the “humanisation” of childbirth; how obstetric violence intersects with other factors such as race and poverty; and how different feminist campaigns and women’s movements have been working to address these issues locally and internationally.
Participants also worked to jointly identify and discuss pressing research gaps related to issues of disrespect and abuse in childbirth. A report on the day’s proceedings is currently being prepared, and will be available soon. RHM would like to thank our partners for their hard work in the planning and organising of this event, and we look forward to continued collaboration around this important issue.
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil