Need to Know: Racial Disparity in Fibroid Cases; Removing Shame From Female Anatomy; The Woman Who Warned the World About R. Kelly

In Nyssa's weekly 'Need to Know' series, we recap the three most important stories related to reproductive health, sex education, and bodily autonomy.

Understanding Fibroids and How to Treat Them, Cross Connection

Over the weekend, Tiffany Cross, the host of Cross Connection on MSNBC, shared her story of fibroids, including her decision to have a hysterectomy. In the segment, Cross speaks with Dr. Soyini Hawkins of the fibroid and pelvic wellness center of Georgia and Wanda Durant, an inspirational speaker who's been open about her battle with fibroids. The segment highlights the racial disparities among Black women who experience fibroids up to 3 times more frequently than other racial groups, are more likely to experience symptoms at a young age and 2.4 times more likely to undergo hysterectomy, according to the Black Women's Health Imperative.

Watch the segment here.

Taking the ‘Shame Part’ Out of Female Anatomy, New York Times

When medical student Rachel Draper learned the pudendal nerve, which provides sensation to the external female genitalia, is derived from the Latin verb ‘pudere’ meaning to be ashamed, she dug deep into its history and began writing a paper arguing that the term should be removed from medical language. In this in-depth investigative piece, journalist Rachel E. Gross tracks where the term originated, how the shame-laden language stayed attached to women’s genitalia and not men’s, and how the effort to revise anatomical language continues to evolve. 

Read the full story here.

She Warned Us About R. Kelly. No One Believed Her., The Cut

In this piercing interview, Angelina Chaplin speaks with Sparkle, whose real name is Stephanie Edwards, about the last twenty years she spent warning the world about R. Kelly who sexually abused her teenage niece. After seeing a video of Kelly violating her niece, she immediately took action. Her niece’s parents said she was overreacting and stopped communicating with her. Years later, #MeToo happened and the conversation shifted from “you’re blowing this out of proportion” to “wow, this is a huge problem.” Sparkle details the experience of trying to tell the world about his abuse, how people slowly began to listen, and the loss of family throughout it all.

Read the full interview here.