Information for childhood sexual assault survivors with vaginal/vulvar injuries

Note: This is probably triggering.It’s medical studies talking about vulva injuries in kids and how they heal. Read at your own risk. Here is a nice picture of a bunny to give you the opportunity to not read what is below if you don’t want to.


I am doing some research to help find an appropriate specialist to treat my vulvar injuries. I have found some disturbing things out.

Apparently injuries to the vulva bleed a lot, and you can die. Some sources recommended examining injured children under anasthesia, because it’s really common for there be other internal injuries (tearing into the urethra or anus). In places in the world where young women and children are commonly raped and mutilated genitally, things like ‘fistulas’ are common, which is where the wall between the colon and the vagina has a hole in it, and fecal matter gets into the vagina. My heart goes out to those women. I sure hope I have nothing like that. Surely I would have noticed?

And generally, tears in the vulva inflicted as children usually heal well and quickly without scarring, unless they are particularly deep and severe. Lucky me. I have two really long, very evident scars.  So survivors who know you were injured, don’t feel invalidated if you haven’t got scars. Most women don’t. Reading this, I think that it’s is likely that there were other less severe tears that healed up without leaving a lot of signs. Also, the scars from tearing during rape, in adults anyhow, tend to rip backward toward the anus (if that’s how I understand posterior in this context), which is the opposite of what happened to me. Here’s the reference on that:

Here’s an excerpt from one of the few references I found that wasn’t about tearing during birthing. “Healing of Nonhymenal Genital Injuries in Prepubertal and Adolescent Girls: A Descriptive Study”:

Superficial vestibular lacerations seemed healed in 2 days, whereas deep perineal lacerations required up to 20 days. The appearance of new blood vessel formation was detected only in prepubertal girls, whereas scar tissue formation occurred only after a deep laceration in both groups. [emphasis added]

CONCLUSIONS. The majority of these nonhymenal genital injuries healed with little or no evidence of previous trauma. The time required for resolution varied by type, location, and severity.

Here’s a list of common complication for female genital injury, along with how to treat it soon after it happened as published by the World Health Organization. This would be the treatment I didn’t get.

I’ve looked at some diagrams and there doesn’t seem to be a name for the part of my anatomy that got torn, basically between the vestibule, through the urethra to the clitoris. Although if the diagram of the child sized vulva is accurate, that space was a lot shorter when I was a child.

This is the diagram of a kids vulva. The most commonly injured places are all toward the anus from the vulva.
This is the diagram of a kids vulva. The most commonly injured places are all toward the anus from the vulva.
This, likewise is a drawing of an adult woman's vulva showing the names for all the parts and which ones usually get injured in sexual assault. Now you know what all your lady bits are are called.
This, likewise is a drawing of an adult woman’s vulva showing the names for all the parts and which ones usually get injured in sexual assault. Now you know what all your lady bits are are called.

Probably the most disturbing thing though is that looking up ‘reconstructive gynecology’ brings up listings for ‘vaginal rejuvenation’ surgery, where women get their labia cosmetically altered to make them prettier, and get their vagina ‘tightened up’. That is the most misogynist thing I’ve heard of in a long time. I need reconstructive surgery from a horrible injury. Y’all with intact vaginae and vulvae should be grateful, and not damage them with unnecessary surgery to make your vagina/vulva look better. Outrageous. Seriously. Sheesh!

10 thoughts on “Information for childhood sexual assault survivors with vaginal/vulvar injuries”

  1. Good on you this is important stuff that you are sharing as you seek out your healing. I was saddened to hear about fistulas in adult women from Medecin Sans Frontiere a couple of years ago. Yours sounds nasty but I think you’d know if you had a fistula. I am thinking of you you are courageous.

  2. I smiled the biggest smile I’ve had in days at the complete respect and gentleness that you showed in posting a bunny instead of the beginning of the article….thank you for trigger warnings and know that your consideration traveled all the way here…blessings to you dear!

  3. My mother recently commented to me, “Well your gynecologist told me when you were 15 that you were still a virgin.” She says this as evidence that I wasn’t raped by my brother. Horrible. Outrageous. Humiliating. Dehumanizing.

    1. The mother of your abuser isn’t a reputable source of information on these things. [Neither is the wife of your abuser or any other relative really.] Lots of doctors have looked at my vulva without noticing or commenting on my scars. It was only when I actually asked that they noticed them. They’re just not trained to look for them and they’re pretty subtle. The flesh tag is a bit more obvious though.

    1. No, that doesn’t seem likely to me, and if an impartial third party who interviewed and or examined the child thinks this child was raped, they almost certainly were raped. There’s no way for a mother to fake that, and certainly not the child. I’m assuming you’re associated in some way with the man accused of the rape? I’m sorry, it must be hard to accept if you care about this man, but child rapists are often very good at concealing what they do, and grooming those around them to accept their con, and their version of events. I suggest reading my posts about sociopaths, the book reference there might be very helpful for you. If you have children yourself, and live with this man, I believe you have no responsible choice other than to leave and make sure he has no access to them.

  4. I was raped by my older adult brother when i was 12. It was awful i had a tubal pregnancy and had surgery and wasnt sure if i could have a baby. I am 48 now and it seems like yesterday when it happened. I want justice it has taken me years to talk about it. He is homosexual now and has done this to more than just me. My town said statute of limitations is only 10yrs. Please help me in the right direction to bring him to justice for all the lives he has damaged.

    1. Hi Loretta,
      Here are some options, although a lawyer would be best to talk to. In my country (Canada) there isn’t a statute of limitations on rape. However, it is really hard to get a conviction as the rapist doesn’t have to testify but the victim does. Also the victim doesn’t get a lawyer to represent her as she is a witness.

      One option is to do a civil case instead (sue him for damages) because the burden of proof is lower and you get to be represented by a lawyer. It also has no statute of limitations. It won’t put him in jail but it may bankrupt him. The court can assess punitive damages. Your lawyer would be able to advise you on whether and how to reach out to his other victims.

      May we outlive them all, and good for you for seeking justice.

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