A Food and Drug Administration panel voted 13-0 today to endorse a promising new vaccine that could stop viruses that cause nearly 70 percent of all cervical cancers and genital warts, but the potential distribution of the vaccine is causing political and cultural controversy.Apparently, some so-called family values types would rather see girls and women die of cervical cancer (3,900 die each year) than support the widespread use of a vaccine that might make sex look safer. Since I doubt the fear of cervical cancer is the deciding factor when girls choose whether or not to have sex, this vaccine won't spark a sexual boom.
As someone who has a free pap screening to thank for catching the problem in the pre-cancer stage when I was in my early twenties, I feel it is negligent to withhold a safe vaccine for the HPV virus based on family values.
I didn't catch the HPV virus because I decided to become sexually active, I caught it because of rape or behavior that stemmed from rape.
Even though I only spent one night in the hospital, my surgery (cold knife conization) had a brutal effect on my body. Long after the bleeding and cramping finally ended, I barely had the energy to move. When summer arrived, the heat frequently leveled me. Nearly a year passed before I felt normal again.
But I was lucky.
With this vaccine, others won't have to rely on luck.
This case is also another example of the hidden dangers that can harm rape victims. For more on the dangers that can follow rape, read these posts:
Girls and alcohol poisoning
Recognizing the heroes nobody sees
I wish my experiences were completely out of the norm for rape survivors, but I haven't found that to be true, especially among those of us who bought the lie that what happened to us was our fault.
Technorati tags: rape crime politics sexual assault feminism cancer women