Home' LOTL : October 2004 Contents HEALTH
Q My partner was a victim of long-term sexual abuse as a child. The
abuser was an uncle who apparently abused all the girls in her
extended family without detection. She says she is 'over it' but I
wonder if some unresolved issues are causing sexual problems in
A Child sexual abuse continues to be an all-too-common problem in our community. It
is one source of mental health problems in adult life and may impact on the victim's
ability to develop trusting, intimate relationships, especially sexual ones. However, there
is no one outcome from a history of childhood abuse. There is no discernible, specific
post-abuse syndrome. Abuse is not destiny. It is damaging, but that damage is capable
of repair. Your partner may well be 'over it' and the issues in your relationship may be
unrelated. Couples counseling is always a good idea if you have a problem which isn't
being resolved. In counseling, some of the issues around your partner's abuse may well
surface, but don't forget: it takes two to tango. Don't let her history become an easy
dumping ground for your own responsibilities in this relationship. I recently came across
Can't Touch My Soul: Guide for Lesbian survivors of Child Sexual Abuse by Donna
Rafanello (Alyson Books). It's the first book to deal specifically with lesbian survivors of
child sexual abuse. The author is also a survivor and she uses sur vivor stories to discuss
the diversity of problems and survival mechanisms for recovery. It's primarily a self-help
book, but would also be useful for partners or professionals dealing with survivors.
Rafanello addresses many questions pertinent to lesbians, including myths like abuse is
what makes you gay, or that lesbian relationships are not abusive. It's a US publication,
but is available in Australia from Hares & Hyenas Queer Bookshop at 135 Commercial
Road, South Yarra 3141 Victoria. Ph (03) 9824 0110, http://hares-hyenas.com.au,
Q I get almost constant bouts of vaginal thrush, especially if I have
to take a course of antibiotics. That's often because I am a bad
asthmatic. A friend suggested lactobacillus capsules. I'm at my wit's
end. Will this help?
A Are you sure it's thrush? Thrush is a fungal infection caused by Candida albicans.
Since antifungal creams became available over the counter, I often see women who
have self-treated their 'thrush' for years, but all that itches is not thrush. An examination
and some simple swabs are needed to clarify the situation. Lactobacillus capsules are
probiotics: 'good' bacteria that seem to act against 'bad' bacteria in the lab. They
are widely promoted as health enhancing and are often recommended for vaginal
problems. In fact, 40 per cent of women with vaginal irritation have used yoghurt or
lactobacillus orally or vaginally. Sadly, new Australian research just published in the
BMJ shows probiotics like lactobacillus don't prevent vaginal inflammation caused by
Candida albicans. If your diagnosis is thrush, and anti-fungal creams aren't working,
a single oral dose of the anti-fungal drug, fluconazole, is often effective. This can also
be taken at the same time as your course of antibiotics for prevention. Your asthma
management may also need reviewing if you are getting so many chest infections, so
see your doctor for a check-up.
LOTL'S health columnist is a lesbian GP on the NSW north coast.
The opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and
are not intended as a substitute for medical advice. If you have
concerns about your health please consult your health practitioner.
I RECENTLY CAME ACROSS CAN'T TOUCH MY SOUL:
GUIDE FOR LESBIAN SURVIVORS OF CHILD SEXUAL
ABUSE BY DONNA RAFANELLO (ALYSON BOOKS).
IT'S THE FIRST BOOK TO DEAL SPECIFICALLY WITH
LESBIAN SURVIVORS OF CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE.
ALMA is seeking an administration assistant on
a casual, contract basis. The position will
provide administrative assistance to the
ALMA committee, including administration of
the financial records, membership database,
mailouts and other committee work. The
work level will be very variable, at an average
of 20 hours per month, but flexibility will
be required. Administrative skills including
book-keeping, proficiency in MS word, excel
and desktop design essential.
For further information contact:
Dr Dani Stewart
Phone: 08 8985 3159
Mobile: 0417 324 604
CLOSING DATE FOR APPLICATIONS:
22 October 2004
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