Nassar’s Defense Attorney Says 265 Survivors ‘Just Feel Like’ They Were Abused

Larry Nassar’s defense attorney, Shannon Smith, told Detroit radio WWJ on Thursday that she has a “very hard time believing” her client sexually abused hundreds of young girls and women.

Smith, who has represented the disgraced doctor since December 2016, commented on his ongoing sentencing that has taken place in recent weeks.

“I have a very hard time believing that my client could have even possibly assaulted that many people day in and day out in front of their parents. And that every single one of those things was a crime, but he was such a manipulator he got away with it,” Smith said. “I just can’t imagine that’s true.” 

Nassar has been accused by over 265 women of serial sexual abuse under the guise of medical treatment. His victims include Olympic gymnasts Aly Raisman and Simone Biles, along with dozens for former Michigan State University athletes. One of his victims was as young as 6 during the time of the abuse.

Nassar pleaded guilty to 10 of those accusations in November and was sentenced to 40 to 175 years in prison last week on seven of those charges. On Wednesday, a sentence hearing for the remaining three counts began. 

Smith added that she believes many of the survivors are confused and that Nassar never actually sexually abused them. 

“Some of those girls, to be quite frank, they didn’t even know what to think because they never felt victimized. He was never inappropriate to them. And because of everything they’ve seen, they just feel like they must have been victimized. And I think that’s really unfortunate,” she said.

She insinuated that media reports influenced the 156 women who gave victim impact statements in court during Nassar’s first sentence hearing.

“As much as they were allowed to speak at sentencing, and that was something we agreed to, even during the sentencing, more and more people were coming forward thinking ‘I was fine my whole life and now all of a sudden I have realized I was a survivor,’” Smith said. “I think that’s really sad.”

JEFF KOWALSKY via Getty Images
Larry Nassar in court with his defense attorney Shannon Smith on Nov. 22, 2017. 

She went even further, saying that Nassar’s behavior was appropriate because “there is a legitimate medical treatment that involves touching sensitive areas and even penetrations.” Smith added that Nassar’s case should serve as a warning to other doctors because they need to “protect” themselves “from false allegations.” 

While pelvic floor exams are legitimate and used in instances of bladder leakage and chronic pelvic pain, it is rarely done on women under 18 years old and always requires parental consent. 

HuffPost guest writer and physical therapist Lori Mize recently wrote about how Nassar’s treatments were nowhere near what a legitimate pelvic floor exam looks like. 

“Nassar’s victims have described an environment antithetical to standard pelvic physical therapy practices,” she wrote. “There was no chaperone, parent or guardian in the room during his ‘treatments.’ He didn’t use gloves, and one athlete said she was under the influence of a sleeping pill during a ‘treatment’ session. In many cases, Nassar performed intra-vaginal ‘exams’ on athletes whose injuries had nothing to do with the victim’s pelvic area.”

Nassar’s attorneys said that they’ve received several death and rape threats, along with hate mail and threatening phone calls. Smith, however, said it is her job to “make sure the process is fair.” 

There is no doubt he did a lot of good for a lot of his patients. Defense attorney Shannon Smith on her client Larry Nassar

“Everyone is entitled to a defense under the constitution,” she told WWJ Radio. 

She said that Nassar “comes off as a really great person” and added: “There is no doubt he did a lot of good for a lot of his patients. While people are criticizing the techniques he used, there is undeniably proof that those techniques would take a girl who came into his office unable to walk and fix her in a way that she was able to compete the next day. So, I see good in Larry Nassar.”

In their victim impact statements, dozens of women detailed the physical pain they still suffer from years after seeing Nassar because he failed to treat the injuries that brought the girls to his exam room in the first place.  

Criminal defense attorney Stuart Slotnick told HuffPost that while Smith’s comments are part of her job to defend Nassar, they do seem unnecessary. 

“The issue here is what purpose is served in questioning whether or not Nassar molested all the women that have spoken out, especially after he has pleaded guilty,” Slotnick said.

“That ship on asserting his innocence has sailed. He has pleaded guilty, he is guilty, and there is no benefit in suggesting that he only molested dozens of children instead of hundreds of young girls,” he added. “He has been given a sentence that will keep him out of society for the rest of his life and denials, at this point, will not help him.” 

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Jail Guard Impregnated Lesbian Inmate. She Says It Was Rape.

A lesbian inmate who was allegedly raped and impregnated by a Tennessee guard has filed a million-dollar civil rights lawsuit against him.

Jessica Fowler, 31, was booked into Moore County Jail in September 2016 on a probation violation. Five months later, corrections officer Caleb Shane Hopkins began coercing her into sex with him, the federal lawsuit claims.

Hopkins continued to sexually assault her, Fowler claims, until she discovered she was pregnant in May 2017 and informed a jail sergeant.

According to the complaint, Fowler is a lesbian and not attracted to men, including Defendant Hopkins. Her attorney says that her sexual orientation adds weight to the allegations against Hopkins, showing their meetings werent consensual.

To me, this shows this is not something she would have sought out, Ben Raybin, an attorney for Fowler, told The Daily Beast.

Theres always those questions of victim-blaming and second-guessing, Rabyn added. That really, to me, should remove any question about that.

Attorneys representing Hopkins and Moore County didnt return messages seeking comment.

Hopkins, 30, is accused of giving Fowler cigarettes and prescription drugs to obtain her silence over the alleged assaults. The officer also allegedly warned her not to tell anyone what happened and said no one would believe her.

The coercive atmosphere and power imbalance led to Hopkins repeatedly sexually assaulting Fowler, the complaint alleges. Fowler says she felt she couldnt refuse Hopkins requests because of his power and authority over her.

In November, Hopkins pled guilty to felony charges including six counts of sexual contact with an inmate by a law enforcement officer, and two counts of official misconduct. A sentencing hearing is scheduled for Feb. 23, the lawsuit says.

Raybin told NewsChannel 5 that Fowler wants people to know what has happened to her and wants to make other women feel empowered that they can speak out, too.

Hopkins is listed on the Tennessee Sex Offender Registry, state records show. Under offenses, the listing says sexual contact with inmates.

The former corrections officer was indicted in June of last year, following a Tennessee Bureau of Investigation probe.

Hopkins carried out the alleged assaults by following the same pattern: cornering Fowler while she was alone in the jails library at night, the complaint says.

The guard started at Moore Countys jail in Lynchburg in early 2017, but hadnt completed his required training, court papers allege.

Around the same time, Fowler achieved trustee status because of her good behavior. This gave her additional freedoms, including a job washing clothes and jail credits to reduce her sentence, the lawsuit says.

Yet after she reported the alleged rapes, she was transferred to a state prison and lost her jail creditsleading to a longer sentence.

The officer first assaulted Fowler one night in February, when she was the only inmate working the laundry shift, the complaint claims. At the time, she waited in the library across the hall for the machines to finish the loads.

Hopkins was allegedly one of two guards working that night. The library doesnt have surveillance, but one or more hallway cameras would have captured someone entering or leaving the room, the complaint states.

Still, Hopkins had no reason to be in the library, court papers allege. He is accused of approaching Fowler from behind and putting his hands down her shirt to grope her. Then he allegedly asked her suck my ding dong.

According to the suit, Hopkins coerced Fowler into oral sex in the library on several other occasions. Fowler told him she didnt want to engage in the activity and that it was physically uncomfortable for her, the complaint alleges.

Hopkins, who was married, then demanded vaginal sex from Fowler and ordered her to bend over, the lawsuit claims. When Fowler requested the deputy use a condom, he allegedly refused and said married men dont buy condoms.

Fowler felt coerced by Defendant Hopkins authority over her into complying to avoid retribution and retaliation, court papers state.

The rogue deputy continued to force Fowler to have nonconsensual and unprotected sex four times over a period of a few weeks, the lawsuit claims.

The alleged rapes led to Fowler becoming pregnant in April or May of 2017.

On May 13, a sheriffs department sergeant asked Fowler, who became depressed after the string of alleged sexual assaults, what was going on after he sensed a change in her emotional state, court documents state.

Fowler then told the sergeant about the repeated sexual abuse she experienced.

As a result of reporting the alleged rapes, Fowler was transferred from the county jail to a state prison. Her sentence was increased, as she was no longer eligible for the jail credits she had accumulated, the lawsuit says.

Fowlers sentence would have expired in July 2017 if she hadnt been transferred to the Tennessee Prison for Women in Nashville, the complaint states. Instead, Fowler remained incarcerated and was compelled to remain pregnant in prison, where she delivered the baby prematurely in December.

Its unclear what, if any, family planning services the county offered to Fowler. Moore County Sheriff Mark Logan didnt return messages left by The Daily Beast, and the jails administrator, Kay Solomon, declined to comment.

Meanwhile, a spokeswoman for the state department of corrections said the agency, which only oversees state prisons, has medical staff review all ob/gyn options with each pregnant inmate so that the woman can make the choice appropriate for her life.

Fowler will remain in prison until her sentence expires in April. (Fowler pled guilty to aggravated statutory rape in February 2016 and was sentenced to three years of supervised probation, court papers show. Its unclear how she violated her probation.)

She has post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of allegedly being raped and impregnated by Hopkinsand having to deliver a baby while incarcerated, the lawsuit says.

The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Nashville, is against both Moore County and Hopkins in his individual and official capacities.

Hopkins and Moore County violated Fowlers civil rights, including her right not to be subjected to sexual abuse and cruel and unusual punishment as guaranteed by the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments, the complaint alleges.

According to the suit, prison officials should have been aware of the risks of leaving a male corrections officer alone with a female inmateespecially on multiple occasions and in an area without surveillance cameras.

When most of the rapes took place, the lawsuit alleges, only one other corrections officer besides Hopkins was on duty. And on at least one occasion, Hopkins was allegedly the only guard on duty at the jail.

This abuse has completely changed Jessicas life and devastated her, Raybin told The Daily Beast. He added that Fowler chose the silver lining of having a child that she thought she would never have.

At the same time, the PTSD and continuing trauma she suffers from having gone through this is not something Im sure shell ever get over, Raybin said.

Fowlers mother, Sharon, told The Daily Beast that her daughter is upset and struggling with being in prison, away from her newborn baby.

This is her first child, and I hate the circumstance and that she had to go through it by herself, Sharon Fowler said.

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Scientists grow new ears for children with defect

(CNN)Using a combination of 3-D printing and cultured cells, scientists in China have grown new ears for five children born with a defect in one ear called microtia, which impacts the shape and function of the ear.

In a first-of-its-kind study, researchers describe how they collected cartilage cells called chondrocytes from the children’s microtia ears and used them to grow new ear-shaped cartilage. The new cartilage was based on 3-D-printed models of the children’s healthy ears.
Then, the researchers transferred the newly engineered ears to the children and performed ear reconstruction, according to a study published this month in the journal EBioMedicine.
    “We were able to successfully design, fabricate, and regenerate patient-specific external ears,” the researchers wrote in their study, which followed each child for up to 2½ years.
    “Nevertheless, further efforts remain necessary to eventually translate this prototype work into routine clinical practices,” they wrote. “In the future, long-term (up to 5 years) follow-up of the cartilage properties and clinical outcomes … will be essential.”

      Growing human bones from fat

    The study involved a 6-year-old girl, a 9-year-old girl, an 8-year-old girl, a 7-year-old boy and a 7-year-old girl, all with unilateral microtia.
    The researchers used CT scanning and 3-D printing to build a biodegradable scaffold that replicated the exact 3-D structure of each patient’s healthy ear. After the researchers derived chondrocytes from the cartilage in each patient’s microtia ear, those cells were seeded onto the scaffold and cultured for three months.
    Next, once the cartilage frameworks were generated with each patient’s specific ear shape, they were implanted to reconstruct ears in the five patients. Each patient was monitored for various amounts of time after implantation, with the longest follow-up being 2½ years.
    Of all of the cases, four showed obvious cartilage formation by six months after the new ear implantation, the researchers found, and among three of the patients, the shape, size and angle of the new ear all matched the other ear, which was healthy.
    The new ears stayed intact as the researchers followed up with the children after surgery, but two of the cases showed slight distortion after surgery, the researchers said.

      Scientists develop new 3D organ printer

    The researchers described their results as “a significant breakthrough” in the clinical application of engineering human ear-shaped cartilage, but the approach comes with several limitations.
    “The part about this work that is dangerous is when you remove cells from someone’s body and you grow them in culture, you have to apply stimulating compounds to the cells to get them to divide,” Hadlock said.
    “When you apply those stimulating compounds, you are running the risk of allowing those cells to go haywire from a division standpoint. It’s another way of saying that you can actually create like a cancerous type of uncontrolled growth,” she said. “In the United States, we have been extremely wary of doing that.”
    Another limitation relates to how the researchers used the children’s own chondrocytes, the cartilage cells within their ears, even though their ears had been diagnosed with microtia, Hadlock added.
    “Because the ear is not normal, they in and of themselves may be diseased. They may be different than a totally healthy chondrocyte,” Hadlock said. “That’s something about which we don’t have enough information.”

    Many challenges remain

    More research is needed before the approach described in the new study could be widely used among microtia patients in a clinical setting.
    Though there has been no recent review of the average medical costs of microtia treatment options, they are expected to be steep since hearing impairment care and multiple surgeries for reconstruction are often needed.
    So the approach described in the new study could come with a hefty price tag as well.
    The researchers noted in their study that they plan to continue to intermittently follow up with the children in the study for up to five years and to continue reporting on their results as data are collected.

    See the latest news and share your comments with CNN Health on Facebook and Twitter.

    “The main challenges for the widespread use of this particular approach for microtia are manufacturing and regulatory surveillance,” said Bonassar, who cofounded 3-D Bio Corp., a company developing tissue-engineered cartilage for multiple applications.
    “The method for making these constructs is quite complicated, involving three distinct biomaterials that are combined into a scaffold, seeded with cells, then cultured for three months before implantation to ensure proper cell distribution throughout the construct,” he said.
    So scaling up that process to help the tens of thousands of patients who need such implants remains a real challenge, Bonassar said.
    “Secondly, the materials that are used for these scaffolds remain in the body for a long time: up to four years,” he said. “Such implants would likely need to be monitored for four or five years before the ultimate fate of these materials in the body is known.”

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    ‘Grace and Frankie’ raises an interesting question: Where are all the sex toys for seniors?

    The struggle is real.
    Image: vicky leta/mashable

    It isn’t every day you see a sex toy on a billboard, and it’s even more rare you’ll see one in the hands of a person in their seventies.

    But thanks to Grace and Frankie, the Netflix sitcom starring Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda, that’s exactly what people saw when the show’s third season premiered last year. The series, which centers around two friends who face many challenges while trying to create a vibrator for seniors, has brought to light an interesting real-life question: Where are all the sex toys for older people?

    Last season followed the unlikely roommates as they conceptualized, prototyped, and focus-grouped the “Ménage à Moi.” It’s a vibrator made for and — perhaps more importantly — marketed to older women, particularly those who have a hard time using traditional models because of their arthritis. 

    Their fictional creation has a soft grip gel sleeve, is lightweight, can be easily repositioned, and even features glow-in-the-dark control buttons. Sounds ideal — except no such thing exists in the real world. 

    There’s no question about it, Grace and Frankie (which returns to Netflix for a fourth season on Jan. 19) is in uncharted sex-positive territory. While sex toys have made a fleeting appearance in other popular TV shows, basing a major series storyline around them is on another level. And having the sex toy be the brainchild of postmenopausal women who talk openly about their experiences developing and using it? Well, that’s pretty subversive. 

    A missed opportunity

    Senior sexuality is often used as an ageist punchline — even in some of the most “progressive” of shows. The most recent season of Broad City, for example, featured an older woman named Garol shopping for a comically large dildo. 

    But beyond jokes, there’s a persistent lack of representation of older adults in sexual scenarios. It’s almost enough to make you think that older people have lost their interest in sex, which is a generalization that’s simply not true

    ​According to a 2017 survey conducted by the sex toy company TENGA, the​ average baby boomer reported masturbating an average of 3.3 times a week (compared to 6.3 for millennials and 4.6 times for Gen X-ers.) ​A​ 2010 study conducted by AARP found that 28 percent of older adults had sexual intercourse at least once a week, and 85 percent of these men and 61 percent of the women agreed sex is important to their overall quality of life.

    “In our society and culture, we see sexuality displayed by a lot of very young people. But sexuality most certainly doesn’t turn off,”  said Lisa Lawless, a psychotherapist and owner of a boutique sex toy business and online resource center. “We have customers well into their eighties, and even their nineties.”

    But often, she notes, they don’t know quite where to start.

    This is why advocates of a less ageist, more sex-positive culture say they’re hopeful Grace and Frankie can serve as a pivotal moment for making senior sexuality a more mainstream topic. 

    Grace and Frankie inspect their creation.

    Image: Courtesy of netflix

    Emily Ferry is the prop master on Grace and Frankie, and she scoured both the web and brick-and-mortar stores to find inspirations for the Ménage à Moi vibrator that would eventually appear on the show.

    “There was nothing that I could find that was aimed at older women,” said Ferry, estimating that her team charged 40 vibrators to the production studio as part of their research. “There were some items that [would make] someone say, ‘This would be good for older women,’ but there was nothing that had been manufactured with the older woman in mind.”

    A baby boomer herself, Ferry says that many women she’s spoken with in her peer group have expressed an interest in buying a real-life version of the product. “I want one of those, how do I get one of those?” they ask her.

    It’s easy to understand why Ferry’s peers are having a hard time: There really aren’t many sex toys specifically marketed to older users. Until now, this is something that demographic has been forced to navigate for themselves.

    Senior sex ed

    Watching Joan Price give a webinar on sex toys for seniors, it’s easy to imagine that she was equally adept in two of her earlier careers: a high school English teacher and physical fitness instructor. She speaks breezily about the sex toys she recommends for seniors, talking for over an hour straight. It’s clear she’s perfectly comfortable holding a rabbit vibrator up to her face to demonstrate size. Her curly grey hair bobs as she earnestly impersonates different styles of buzzing vibration pattern. In one taped presentation, she wears a silver clitoris ring and t-shirt emblazoned with a Magic Wand design under the words “Knowledge is power” that she shows off proudly.

    “Sex toys are a gift to seniors,” the 74-year-old award-winning author tells Mashable. 

    “So many things change as we age, or our medical conditions can get in the way. There are so many things going on, but for every problem there is a solution.”

    Joan Price teaching one of her webinars.

    Image: Mashable 

    Price has been blogging about sex from a senior’s perspective for the past 13 years. It’s a job she kind of fell into after meeting her “great love” Robert, an artist and teacher, at age 57. Their sexual relationship inspired her to publish her first book, “Better Than I Ever Expected: Straight Talk about Sex After Sixty.” Touring the country and checking her inbox, she found she was among the lucky ones. 

    While she was having great partnered sex, many of her peers were not. She decided she was going to help. She has since written two more books about sexual pleasure for older adults and has reviewed over 100 sex toys from the senior perspective. She also travels to sex-positive feminist stores like the Pleasure Chest, Tool Shed, and Smitten Kitten to hold workshops and help educate retail staff on this topic.

    The criteria Price uses to determine whether or not a sex toy might be especially appealing to those in her age group are wide-ranging. She asks herself: Does it give off vibrations strong enough for those who are finding they now need extra sensation? Is it ergonomic? Lightweight? Can it go for long periods of time without overheating or running out of charge, seeing as arousal now takes longer? Can the controls be easily identified without having to reach for reading glasses? If it’s insertable, will it be an appropriate size for those who are now more likely to experience vaginal soreness and decreased elasticity?

    Lawless also acknowledges that the seniors who call her customer service line with trepidation about buying these products — often for the first time — have distinct preferences and inquiries. Take USB chargers, for instance, which can be confusing to those who are less tech-savvy. And if a USB charger seems intimidating, forget the whole new world of WiFi-enabled teledildonic toys.

    Designing with older people in mind

    Despite the specific needs of older adults, both Lawless and Price are hesitant to say a hypothetical sex toy specifically built for and marketed to older adults (like the Ménage à Moi) is wholly necessary. After all, they tell Mashable, there are already ergonomically-designed vibrators on the market that do meet many of the physical needs of, say, an arthritic older person. 

    Are glow-in-the-dark control buttons really a make-or-break feature? What about instruction manuals printed in a larger font size? It’s hard to say for sure. But regardless, this Grace and Frankie plot point does reflect how older adults are notably underrepresented in the booming adult product market. Online, where most people shop for their pleasure products, it’s rare you’ll stumble across photos of older models or language in product descriptions that address their particular concerns.

    The fictional Ménage à Moi vibrator.

    Image: Courtesy of netflix

    Among the companies that are consciously working to address and court this demographic is Tantus, which has been actively creating sex toys with disabled users in mind for years. There’s also the Fiera pre-intimacy vibrator for generating arousal, whose creators told Mic it’s made with seniors in mind. 

    And then there’s Hot Octopuss’ “guybrator” products like the PULSE III, which does not require the penis to be erect for use. This can be of significant benefit to older people who may have issues with erectile function. In an email to Mashable, Hot Octopuss founder Adam Lewis said the technological basis for this product came from “a medical device that was used in hospitals to allow men with spinal cord injuries and severe erectile dysfunction to ejaculate.” 

    “As a company we feel strongly that the industry needs to change its approach to aging and sex (and disability and sex, which is a different but associated debate),” he adds.

    To reflect the fact that the products can address issues somewhat more common in older adults, the company consciously includes older stock models than you’d typically see on other sites and photos of people in wheelchairs.

    But for the most part, this isn’t an area too many companies seem comfortable approaching just yet. For example, one sex toy designer did chuckle when I made the hypothetical suggestion of sex toys specifically made and marketed for older users. 

    This mentality can be seen clearly when perusing online shops for products known to assist aging people and those with mobility issues, like sex furniture. You still only see young, able-bodied models. 

    Lawless also thinks there are other products that may have been designed with older adults specifically in mind, but that don’t necessarily market to them specifically. These include electrostimulation vibrators, clitoral pumps and suctions (like the Womanizer), and hollow dildos — though she notes the latter product can be exceedingly large and not necessarily compatible with older vagina owners’ limitations. 

    “Even though the marketing doesn’t show people with wrinkles — and yes I absolutely, earnestly, think it should — many retailers and manufacturers are very interested in the demographic,” Price tells Mashable. “Which, of course makes sense, business-wise. But it also makes sense because all of their young [customers], if they’re lucky, will get old.”

    For all the “ick factor” she says she still sees when the topic of older adult sexuality comes up, Price notes that she’s begun to see a slow shift.

    “We’re not done achieving what I want to achieve here, but at least I’m not seen as an oddity as an advocate for ageless sexuality,” she says. “I still get the ‘Come on, stop it,’ from some people. But I don’t stop.”

    “We have the right to sexual pleasure lifelong,” she adds.

    While it’ll certainly be interesting to see where the next season of Grace and Frankie takes the fictional sextech duo, many people are even more eager to see if the Ménage à Moi can become something more than “just seen on TV.”

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    Why does it cost $32,093 just to give birth in America?

    The US is the most expensive nation in the world in which to have a baby and it may factor into thousands of bankruptcies each year

    Why does it cost $32,093 just to give birth in America?

    The US is the most expensive nation in the world in which to have a baby and it may factor into thousands of bankruptcies each year

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    My vagina was badly injured after giving birth. Why was getting help so hard? | Christen Clifford

    My vagina tore when I had my first child, but it took five years before I got the medical attention I needed. Im not the only one

    Every time I see a woman walking down the street with a newborn, all I can think is, Does she have a traumatized vagina?

    My vagina tore when I had my first child. Doctors Id never met before sewed me up and refused to tell me how many stitches theyd put in. I healed, and when I had another child five years later, I tore in the same place.

    My midwives sewed me up and told me everything looked fine, but I noticed certain changes: it was next to impossible to hold in flatulence. Constipation became a painful and humiliating constant. I leaked urine when I sneezed no matter how many kegels I did. And it felt like the physical angle of everything having to do with evacuation and intercourse had somehow shifted after childbirth in new and uncomfortable ways. I felt like my vag was broken. That something was wrong.

    Five years later, I started seeing a new gynecologist, who listened, examined me, and said, Oh, yep, youve got a little rectocele in there.

    A what?

    She told me that a rectocele occurs when the muscle between the rectum and vagina is so worn and thin that the rectum kind of pops out into the vagina.

    I felt angry. Why hadnt a single health professional, many of whom had examined me thoroughly, bothered to diagnose it? Well, its within the range of normal, so we usually dont mention it.

    I went home and searched for more information. The National Institutes of Health says, Rectoceles are common and involve a herniation of the rectum into the posterior vaginal wall that results in a vaginal bulge. Women with rectoceles generally complain of perineal and vaginal pressure, obstructive defecation, constipation, or the need to splint or digitally reduce the vagina to effectuate a bowel movement.

    Splinting? Digital reduction? These are the medical terms for what I knew through anecdotal evidence was common practice: one friend must insert a finger into her vagina to release the stool from her rectum every time she defecates. Another said she always pressed into her perineum when relieving herself. Another friend, with a rectocele and a cystocele, splints and takes vast quantities of psyllium seed husk to stay regular.

    Me? Once, I was doubled over in pain, so dehydrated and constipated that I took the plastic gloves out of a box of NiceNEasy haircolor because, well, it wasnt. After I had dug out the feces that had become trapped in the small pocket of my rectum that protruded into my vagina, I was shocked, silent, humiliated.

    Even with my excellent health insurance, after giving birth the only medical attention I received was a quick six-week checkup. After learning about my rectocele, I went to see a pelvic floor specialist. She told me that because my rectocele was small and the risks were high, I was not a candidate for surgery.

    She explained pelvic floor exercises, recommended I eat a lot of fiber and suggested double evacuation when urinating. Pee, then stand up and move from side to side, then urinate again so the bladder is completely emptied.

    In France, where the republic wants to increase the population and the culture values sexuality, women may take vaginal rejuvenation classes or rducation prinal: 10 to 20 sessions of pelvic floor physiotherapy, paid for by the government. Here in the US, I learned about my condition 10 years after I first had symptoms.

    A few weeks later, I was at my kids public school fundraiser, drinking and rage-telling the story of discovering the word rectocele. A woman I barely knew joined us, whisper-crying, Stage four tearing. Ill never be the same. Women are suffering in silence, hurt and embarrassed. Shamed again.

    The New York Times has devoted an admirable amount of editorial space to the women in Africa who suffer from fistulas, their dignity and daily routines compromised by bodies that leak urine or feces because of childbirth or assault.

    What no one is talking about not medical professionals, not educators, not mothers, not their partners are the various states of post-partum prolapse that plague women after childbirth, causing a similar loss of control and dignity to that faced by fistula sufferers. The emotional and sexual ramifications of my situation included secrecy, shame and isolation.

    We need to make the words rectocele and cystocele and urethrocele and enterocele, each a type of pelvic organ prolapse resulting most often from childbirth and ageing, part of the common vernacular of womens health. The words are utterly absent, even to those of us who seek to learn more about these conditions and educate others.

    According to the Mayo Clinic, prolapse means to slip or fall out of place. A rectocele is when the rectum bulges into the vagina. A cystocele is when the bladder bulges into the vagina. A urethrocele is when the urethra bulges into the vagina. An enterocele is when the small intestine bulges into the vagina. So basically, they are vag bulges.

    The American Society for Colon and Rectal Surgeries estimates that 40% of women have a rectocele, yet most people dont know the word. This needs to change. Harvard says that anywhere from 80% to 20% of women might have small rectoceles. Meanwhile, pharmaceutical companies spend and make millions of dollars to keep dicks in the air.

    The medical industry is pushing vaginoplasty, labiaplasty, and Viagra for women, to keep women young and tight and looking like porn actors. I know our culture doesnt make much room for older women, let alone our vaginas, but shouldnt we be spending some of this time and money to care for the post-maternal vagina?

    And I dont mean surgery with the vaginal mesh that was recently banned in New Zealand. We need sexual education and respect for mothers vaginas vaginas that have been through a lot. We need to be talking about prolapse and non-surgical treatments like diet, hydration, biofeedback, electrical stimulation, and core strengthening exercises.

    To be sure, some vaginas take a licking and keep on ticking. I have many friends who didnt tear, who gave birth and kegeled their way to safe and healthy sexual lives.

    My vagina has changed a lot in my 46 years. I loved exploring it for pleasure as a child. Then my vagina was injured when I was raped at 15 and didnt tell. Later I had a lot of great sex and a lot of mediocre sex. I birthed two children through this space, a space that still holds potential for experience and love.

    There is no equality without reproductive rights, there are no reproductive rights without knowledge of the female body, and there is no knowledge of the female body without acknowledgment of the post-maternal vagina. The lack of education and attention to my and thousands of mothers pelvic injuries is another sign of our countrys indifference to womens rights and health.

    We are, as a nation, in fits and starts, beginning to do better for womens lives. I am thrilled, for example, to see longstanding silences broken. I am happy to see menstrual equity with states moving toward tax exemption for tampons and other feminine hygiene products.

    So, how about we ask the medical and pharmaceutical communities to do better by mothers bodies by acknowledging and treating the physical injuries caused by giving birth. By acknowledging our bodies as they are. By talking about maternal sexuality. By granting us language and autonomy. We can start conversations and healing.

    And, how about we ask the mothers in our lives how their vaginas are doing? Hopefully, with the proper education, their answers wont surprise us.

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    Embracing His Inner Child: This Man Is Having More Fun With The Cardboard Box His Life-Size Anime Sex Doll Came In Than The Sex Doll Itself

    Growing old is an inevitable part of life, and although we can’t keep our bodies from aging on the outside, we can stay young forever on the inside if we just hang onto our childlike wonder. For proof, look no further than 52-year-old Kenneth Ainsworth, who recently ordered a life-size anime sex doll yet is now having more fun with the cardboard box it came in than the actual sex doll itself.

    Wow! He may have some wrinkles and gray hairs, but this man is beaming like an 8-year-old on Christmas morning!

    Though he spent hours carefully deliberating over features like nipple color, foot shape, and breast size when ordering his custom-designed 4-foot-8 Luna Starr Fantasy Doll online, Ainsworth couldn’t have seemed any less interested in it when UPS delivered it this morning, opting instead to dive headfirst into the massive cardboard box it came packaged in and letting his imagination run wild. With his lifelike pleasure mannequin tossed off to the side amid a heap of packing peanuts and instruction booklets, Ainsworth has now spent the last five hours crawling in and out of the box having make-believe adventures, wholly uninterested in testing out the realistic vaginal port of his new silicone companion.

    “Oh no, look out, we’re headed straight for an asteroid field!” Ainsworth squealed, rocking giddily back and forth in the cockpit of his cardboard spaceship, blissfully unaware of the wide cartoon eyes of the anime sex doll staring seductively in his general direction. “Hang onto your hats, space cowboys, because we are switching into hyperdrive! Vrooooooom!”

    “Yikes, grab your blasters, we’ve got an enemy ship coming up on the starboard side!” he continued, paying no mind to the three detachable suction-powered orifices that he paid a $200 upcharge for just several feet away. “Pew! Pew! Pew! Take that, alien scum!”

    Once he finished pretending he was a galactic ranger, Ainsworth then swapped out the metal popcorn bowl he was using as a space helmet for a construction-paper eye patch so that he could play pirates, still not even bothering to put his sex doll’s vibrating insert on its charger or to fill its self-lubricating reservoir with the accompanying gel. While many adults might roll their eyes at the sight of Ainsworth crawling headfirst into his cardboard cave in search of Blackbeard’s treasure and shrieking with gleeful terror upon encountering a fire-breathing dragon, the fact that he was so consumed with silliness and joy that his brand-new $1,499 erotic playmate was seemingly an afterthought should be a pretty telling indicator that he hasn’t let the doldrums of adulthood squash his sense of wonderment.

    Tuckered out after a long day of whimsical journeys, Ainsworth then curled up inside his big box with a couch pillow and drifted off into a nap, where he went on to dream of imaginary cardboard box adventures yet to come. While there’s no question that Ainsworth will eventually dress his new sex doll in one of his ex-girlfriend’s bras and proceed to penetrate it, in the meantime it’s heartwarming to see him escaping all the stresses and worries of the grown-up world and embracing his inner child.

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    What To Do After An Abnormal Pap Smear

    Getting a Pap smear isn’t something anyone looks forward to. It’s uncomfortable, it’s cold, and you never know where to hide your underwear when you undress for the exam.

    Paps may be cause for anxiety by their very nature, but things can get a lot more concerning when your results come back as abnormal. Your mind may immediately start wandering toward the worst-case scenario, but medical professionals warn against jumping to conclusions.

    A Pap smear is a test meant to screen for cervical cancer, but abnormal results don’t automatically mean your life is in danger. In fact, experts say it is incredibly common for women to have at least one abnormal Pap smear result in their lifetime.

    Here’s what you really need to know about the test and any abnormal results. 

    What Is A Pap Smear, Exactly?

    Your doctor will take a swab to check for abnormalities in your cervical and vaginal cells. The sample he or she collects will then be shipped to a lab where a pathologist will look at the cells to see if their appearance suggests a higher risk of cervical cancer (that’s what the screening is for, after all).

    The test is not diagnostic, so your gynecologist will review your results and recommend next steps. If you’re a woman who has access to regular gynecological care in the United States, chances are high that your doctor will catch something before it turns dangerous, said Denise Rubinfeld, a certified nurse midwife working at Women’s Health Specialists of Nevada.

    “The majority of cases of cervical cancer occur in women who have never had access to regular screening,” Rubinfeld said. “So, if you’re following the recommendations of your provider, it is really unlikely that you will ever develop a real health problem.”

    It’s currently recommended that women have their first Pap smear at (and not before) age 21, according to the American Cancer Society. 

    What Causes Abnormal Results

    The most common cause of cervical cells showing abnormalities is human papilloma virus (HPV). Almost all of us will contract HPV at some point, Rubinfeld said.

    Most people are exposed to HPV, which is spread through skin-to-skin contact, when they become sexually active. Rubinfeld said healthy immune systems typically clear the virus in a year or two, so most women who receive their first abnormal Pap in their twenties have nothing to worry about. In fact, there’s a chance that they will have normal results by the next year. 

    It can take years for an HPV infection to cause an abnormal Pap smear, so a current partner is probably not the source of the result. Denise Rubinfeld, certified nurse midwife working at Women’s Health Specialists of Nevada

    And Rubinfeld cautioned people against assuming they know how they contracted HPV.

    “A lot of people wrongly assume that their current partner is responsible for their abnormal result,” Rubinfeld said. “The truth is, it can take years for an HPV infection to cause an abnormal Pap smear, so a current partner is probably not the source of the result.”

    What You Should Do If You Have An Abnormal Pap Smear

    There are five types of abnormal cells that can show up on your results, according to the American Congress of Obstetricians and GynecologyAtypical squamous cells of undetermined significance almost always signify that an HPV infection is present, but they aren’t necessarily cancerous. Low-grade squamous intraepithelial lesion are mild, abnormal cells that are typically caused by HPV infections and that usually go away on their own. High-grade squamous intraepithelial lesion indicate a more serious change in cell growth on the cervix and may be associated with pre-cancer or cancer. Atypical squamous cells are linked with an increased risk for pre-cancer. Atypical glandular cells are located in the thin layer of tissue on the inner part of the cervix. They could increase your risk for pre-cancer or cancer, but they don’t always.

    Once you receive abnormal Pap smear results, your provider will generally call you to talk about next steps.

    The typical course of action after your first abnormal Pap is to get tested again a year later, said Dr. Ana Cepin, an assistant professor of obstetrics & gynecology at Columbia University Medical Center. Your provider may also suggest an HPV test. 

    If this is not your first abnormal result, however, or if your Pap smear shows slightly more abnormal cells, your provider might recommend a colposcopy.

    During a colposcopy, your provider uses a special microscope to take a closer look at the cells on your cervix and then takes a sample, or biopsy. This should happen fairly soon after you can an abnormal result, Rubinfeld said, but it’s not an emergency. The procedure is pretty straightforward, and experts say it may cause discomfort, but it won’t be debilitating. The doctor will then examine those results to determine what steps you might need to take next.

    “Once in awhile, with repeated abnormal results or a particularly high-grade lesion, a provider will recommend a procedure to remove some of the cervical cells,” Rubinfeld said, noting that this should happen within a few weeks of the abnormal Pap smear result.

    monkeybusinessimages via Getty Images
    Medical experts advise talking to your doctor if your Pap smear results are abnormal. 

    Whatever You Do, Don’t Panic

    Should you worry about your first case of abnormal results? The short answer: No. 

    Whether an abnormal result is cause for concern depends on many things, like your age, your history of abnormal Pap smears, the result of your most recent screening, and whether an HPV test shows a high-risk strain of the virus.

    “Speak to your doctor about what the results mean and what the possible outcomes are,” Cepin said. “The vast majority of abnormalities do not need treatment and resolve on their own.”

    Fewer than 5,000 women died from cervical cancer in 2014, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and most of those cases were in women who did not have routine checkups. Ultimately, experts stress prevention over panic

    It’s vital for everyone under the age of 26 to be vaccinated for HPV, Cepin said. The American Cancer Society also recommends that women over 30 be tested for HPV every five years, as such testing can help determine who needs more testing or treatment.

    Barrier methods and safe sex can also reduce ― but not eliminate ― your risk of contracting HPV, Rubinfeld said. 

    The best steps you can take are getting screened, staying up to date on the latest health recommendations, being your own health advocate, and always talking to your doctor about any concerns.

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    The Hills Star Stephanie Pratt Calls Out Her Haters After Being Bullied During Messy Split From BF Jonny Mitchell!

    A rep for he 31-year-old’s ex confirmed the news to E! News, stating:

    “Jonny Mitchell and Stephanie Pratt have ended their relationship. Jonny has fond memories of the times they spent together and wishes Stephanie all the best of luck in the future.”

    Although the pic Stephanie posted tells a much less amicable story, as she’s seen with mascara running down her face:

    And the “makeup by jm” reference is clearly a reference to her ex, who is supposedly to blame for her tears!


    Stephanie also took to her Instagram Stories to explain her crying snap, saying:

    “Hi strangers, just need to apologize for posting a photo of myself crying, since none of you know what my life is like. None of you know that I’m not speaking to my family. None of you know that I ended up calling the police last night because I was terrified. So fuck all of you.”

    The reality TV starlet continued:

    “To my wonderful followers that sent me supportive messages, don’t worry, tomorrow morning I’ll be back. I’ll be back strong, career oriented and independent, the Steph that I’ve always been.”

    And later ended with:

    “And for the followers that shamed me and made me feel guilty for what I had done, that’s called bullying and you’re the reason that so many children, high school students and adults are committing suicide. Stop bullying.”

    We really hope Steph’s okay.

    Breakups are never easy! Take care of yourself, girl!

    [Image via Instagram & Snapchat.]

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    Topshop Heiresses, Vaginal Reconstruction, & Million Dollar Paydays! This ‘Hot Felon’ Divorce Drama Is Getting Dirty!

    Just because he’s dating billionaire heiress Chloe Green, doesn’t mean Jeremy Meeks is rolling in dough!

    The model’s estranged wife Melissa Meeks has been asking for child and spousal support after the “Hot Felon” filed for divorce in October. Now the 33-year-old runway walker is challenging his ex with his own legal docs!

    According to papers obtained by TMZ, Jeremy claims Melissa is NOT entitled to spousal support because she is earning the same amount as she did during their marriage.

    Related: Blac Chyna Links Up With Jeremy Meeks!

    While he is willing to pay child support, he only wants to shell out the amount dictated in their child support schedule, which is up to $418 a month.

    Contrary to the nurse’s claim that he makes $1 million each month, Jeremy says it’s more like $6,000.

    The sexy convict also slams his ex for participating in “televised reconstructive surgeries” of her nose, bust, and vagina, notably the time she was filmed getting vaginal tightening in October. Yeah, we can’t believe that’s real either, but you can see for yourself (below):

    Lastly, Jeremy wants Melissa to stop criticizing his relationship with the 26-year-old Topshop heiress, as it’s none of her business who he dates.

    Geesh! So much drama!

    [Image via Melissa Meeks/Instagram.]

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