The UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women on Thursday released a new report regarding mistreatment and violence against women in reproductive health services with a focus on childbirth and obstetric violence.
Like the #MeToo movement, the information posted on online platforms reveals that women who are victims of obstetric violence are often silenced because of a fear of taboos, stigma or a feeling that the violence they have experienced could constitute an isolated incident. According to the report, they are far more than isolated incidents.
The new report highlights a number of human rights violations that women experience during childbirth, such as symphysiotomy, forced sterilization and forced abortion, and physical restraint of incarcerated women during labor, to name a few.
It outlines the root causes of mistreatment during childbirth, such as poor health system conditions and constraints, discriminatory laws and practices, harmful gender stereotypes, and power imbalance.
The report urges states to conduct an independent investigation into allegations of mistreatment and gender-based violence in healthcare facilities, apply human rights and World Health Organization standards to maternity care, and to establish complaint and accountability mechanisms, among other recommendations.