Statue request for enslaved woman Anarcha, for her part in pioneering gynae techniques
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In the 19th Century, after four long years of experiments and an unbelievable 30 operations on one woman, a 17-year-old enslaved woman named Anarcha, 'The father of modern Gyaencology' Dr Marion J. Sims finally perfected his method of fistula surgeries.
Sims’s did not use analgesia or any other numbing technique when operating on Anarcha or the other enslaved women used for this purpose. He did, however, use anesthesia when he began to practice his perfected technique on white women, which was new to the medical field at the time.
I have been a midwife for nearly 6 years and prior to this trained for 3 years. In this time I did not know of Anarcha and the suffering she and the other enslaved women endured but I was aware of the Sims speculum. How was this crucial part of obstetrics history not part of the curriculum and how was it not passed onto myself and my fellow colleagues/students? Anarcha and the other women who were treated in this barbaric way deserve to be put on the same pedestal that Sims (rightly or wrongly) has been placed upon.
It is for this reason I would like to put forward a request to have a statue/plaque of the aforementioned 17-year old young lady Anarcha and the women who suffered alongside her in place at the Royal College of Gynaecology in London. It is essential these young women are part of the curriculum for medicine as a whole, to acknowledge the part they played in the pioneering techniques founded by Dr J. Sims and to recognise the price people like Anarcha paid for us.
For anyone who has been affected or knows someone who has been affected by gynecological issues, we owe these women thanks. For any medical professionals; midwives, nurses, doctors who have been taught this technique/tool, we owe these women thanks.
*Petition photo: Illustration of Dr. J Marion Sims with Anarcha by Robert Thom. Property of Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, Pearson Museum.
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