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Last week, I attended our Queensland Branch of the Continence and Women’s Health Special Interest Group Christmas Drinks. As well as some lovely nibblies and drinks at Katrina’s house (thanks Kate), we had an informal talk from one of our members Robyn, on the management of issues such as pelvic pain and other continence issues in patients who have suffered sexual abuse. It was an excellent talk on a difficult and sensitive subject and for all the Continence Physiotherapists present was a wonderful insight into some assessment and treatment strategies.

One of the things that Robyn highlighted was that resilience was a key feature in how well patients recovered from sexual abuse. Resilience is defined as the ability to bounce back from adversity. Resilience also is a product of your genetics and your environment and there has actually been a gene identified for resilience.
An important phone number is the Queensland Sexual Assault Line 1800 010120. There are trained counsellors on that Helpline who can talk and provide advice. Seeking help for anything to do with pelvic floor dysfunction such as incontinence or bowel difficulties is always quite difficult and can be even quite traumatic for patients. But divulging to someone that you may have suffered sexual abuse is at a different level altogether and takes huge courage but is the first step to moving forward and getting appropriate treatment for any residual physical and emotional problems.