My first Pap smear after sexual assault


There’s a provocative title.

My editors and publishers should be pleased with my attention-getting skills.

Why am I writing about something TMI on my professional author blog, you might ask. The answer is both simple and complex.


Simple version:

I write because my body won’t let me write anything else.

I must write.

So I write what I can.


Complex version:

I have spent most of the last year feeling helpless, ashamed, violated, dirtied, devalued, and nothing but a victim. When I searched “how to have a Pap smear after sexual assault,” I found very little. One or two helpful articles, but not much else. I learned strategies and tips that, in an ideal world, might have helped.

In struggling with the helplessness, first of violation and then the inability to undergo a routine medical exam, I need to feel as if I have agency. I need to claim some kind of power. I need…

I need to begin to feel more like Ana again.

The Ana who writes, laughs, jokes, and teases. The Ana who campaigns for social causes, writes kinky fiction, and will fight anyone who claims that F/F fiction isn’t worth writing or reading.

In order to take back my power, I must come to terms with my powerlessness.

And if just one person can read my account and face her worst fear, perhaps I can begin escaping from this nightmare.


Let’s not say who.

Or when.

Or how.

A few months ago, a man

[I couldn’t continue. I surfed the internet, looked up unrelated things, dilly-dallied, and followed a rabbit trail of distractions. This is hard. Even committing to not telling too much, I couldn’t do it. I’ll try again.]

A man placed his genitals against mine.

While claiming helplessness, innocence, and complete lack of responsibility.

The person I trusted most in the entire world told me that I was wrong, it couldn’t have happened the way I thought, and he wasn’t a bad man.

So I hid it.

For months.

When the doctor letter came for a Pap smear, I ignored it.

Then the second letter came, and I wavered. An informal poll on Facebook showed that my female friends overwhelmingly felt a Pap smear was necessary regardless of sexuality.

I went in, unsuspecting, and expected nothing more than embarrassment and pain.

Instead, I nearly screamed and jumped off the examination table.

The nurse could not have been kinder. She reassured me, soothed me, and stopped the instant I grew upset. She talked me through several options and said I didn’t have to continue. Since I was already half-naked, I said that we might as well try again.

This time, I had to bite back the tears.

Afterward, the memories came rushing back.

The last time someone got near my vagina, someone I didn’t trust.

I grew weepy, bursting into tears every time I thought of the impending re-scheduled exam. A quick consultation with the doctor seemed to promise a slow, thoughtful, and careful second attempt that would only proceed if I felt comfortable.

I was a mess for that week. Nearly made myself sick the night before (which was made even more fun by the electric company shutting off my power just before sunset).

The day of, the doctor asked me a few cursory questions before instructing me to strip from the waist down and lie on the examination table. When she told me to lie on my back, despite previously agreeing not to (the position triggered too many memories of feeling helpless), I protested. She said that it would be easier for me. I knew I couldn’t handle it, but she’d rushed me into the exam and I didn’t feel I could say no. I also had the right to ask for a third party to be present (not as a witness, in my case, but someone to help calm me down), but she didn’t offer and I didn’t feel I could ask.

(I’ve since learned that GPs here earn a bonus for administering a certain number of Pap smears. I’d thought she was kind to talk through the exam with me, but she may have been more focused on adding one more number to her list.)

The second she tried the exam, I burst into hysterical tears and sobbed that I couldn’t do it. She’d promised we could stop if I needed to, so I expected that I would be able to leave. The words, “I refuse this exam” should have left my lips, but I was caught in the whirlwind of nonconsensual touch.

I’ve blamed myself for that moment. Often. I should have said no. I should have gotten off the table and gotten dressed. I should have walked out. I should have…

Just like I should have fought against the man who pinned me down and gyrated his crotch against me, penis bulging.

I should have.

But I didn’t.

I’ve been frozen with shame and disbelief since that day, unable to function or to focus.

To make things worse, by attempt number four I said I just wanted to get it done so I wouldn’t have to wait for another appointment on another day.

I should have said I refused the exam, period. I have the right to do so, and the GP even said it at our initial meeting.

Consent is such a tricky thing.

Did I allow the man (I use the word loosely) to touch me?

Did my lack of physical reaction, lack of fighting, kicking, and screaming, render my non-consent useless?

Did my frozen fear inhibit my ability to say no?

Or did I truly not say no?

Five times, the GP inserted the speculum and made me writhe in agony. I could allow it to enter, but any movement inside made my vision go gray with pain. In hindsight, the pain was likely fear translated into bodily form.

Afterward, the GP cheerily tried to say that it went well, I’d tried my best, and I could book another appointment to try again. That we would get there.

When I asked for a referral to a specialized clinic that would help with the exam (as in a clinic that would work with issues such as mine), her face tightened as she told me that was out of the question.

(I’ve since learned that GPs have to pay for services given upon referral, while they receive the payment if they perform the exam themselves.)

I wanted a Pap smear to be something I could do, despite bad history and fear. I wanted to overcome my fears.

Instead, I’ve sat, stupefied, for the two and a half days since.

I don’t have any words of wisdom here.

No advice.

Just hope that sharing my story might help someone else.

I wish I’d taken my cue from the BDSM community. There is understanding that, in certain situations, someone is unable to give or withdraw consent. There needs to be an external observer to watch for body cues.

I needed a watcher.

I wish I’d known that before I went in.





Thank you to everyone who has reached out with kindness, compassion, sympathy, and simple human love.

This week is the two-year anniversary of watching my father die.

Yesterday was his birthday and the day we withdrew life support.

Today is the day I spent almost constantly at his side.

Tomorrow is the day he drew his last breath.

I’m fighting to keep afloat.

Fighting to stay grounded.

Hugging my puppy and doing everything I can to make it through.

As if giving me a special gift, Ladybug ate her entire bowl of kibble yesterday. First time in ages.

I didn’t think I would have to face the second Christmas, New Year’s, Valentine’s Day, his birthday, and now his death day on my own.

But I hold fast to the love and promise of his memory.

I am my father’s daughter.

Even if he no longer lives.

A lovely new book about bats!

My friend, Jess Schira, has a new book out! We connected a few years ago over her writing about pigs, and she’s been a constant resource for me when I have animal questions. She’s even helped when I’ve worried about my puppy.

If bats are your thing, Jess is your woman! Check out her new book. Say Ana sent you. 🙂


60 Beautiful Bat Facts

A Handy Guide for Writers & the Bat Curious

Did you know that:

Bats could be the key to preventing a worldwide chocolate shortage?

That the U.S. military explored the possibility of using Mexican free-tailed bats during WWII?

In China, bats are a simple of luck, fertility, a long life, prosperity, virtue, and good luck?

That in Slavic folklore it was butterflies, not bats, that turned into vampires?

That the markings on a bat’s wings are as distinctive as fingerprints?

Bats account for 20% of the world’s mammal population?

That one little brown bat consumes more than 600 mosquitos in a single hour?

That in Germany, gamblers used to sew the heart of a bat onto their clothing for good luck?

That bats are more effective seed distributers than birds, making bats a key factor in the reforestation of the rain forests?

You’ll have a difficult time finding a mammal that’s more misunderstood than the bat.

Since the dawn of time, bats and humans have shared an uneasy relationship. Humans have claimed that bats consort with the devil, were proof of witchcraft, and that they morphed into vampires, they’ve been used in medicines and viewed as harbingers of disasters. The reality is that bats are cute, harmless creatures that serve an important ecological purpose. They’re clean, peaceful animals that simply want to be left alone to do their job. Now that researchers have started to take in interest in bats, we’re learning that in addition to helping keep the mosquito population low, they’re also an evolutionary wonder.

Without bats, the world would be a very different, far less pleasant place to live.

Whether you love bats, have always been curious about them, are a writer who wants to include a bat or bat related mythology in your plot, or simply wish to expand your Chiroptera knowledge, 60 Beautiful Bat Facts is for you. You’ll enjoy this laid back and easy-to-read exploration of all things bat-like, including Batman!

60 Beautiful Bat Facts is currently available via Amazon!


I haven’t done Thursday Thankfulness in ages. Well, I haven’t done any post in ages. Such a shame, when it’s writing that makes me Ana.

So, while we are happily playing round robin add-a-sentence to write a collaborative story on Facebook (look me up if you want to join!), and while you’re all having fun pushing up my word count for the promised story…

I think it’s time to write my gratitudes. Even if it’s not Thursday. Even if life has thrown me a few lemons in the past year. Even if sometimes it all seems like too much.

Because when else do we need gratitude most, but when life is hardest? We choose to want what we have, or we choose to want what we don’t. I’d like to have many things right now that I don’t. Stability, predictability, and a whole host of other things.

What I’ve got, instead, is this wonderful little band of fiercely loyal readers who waited throughout a year of book drought but came running as soon as I put out the call.

How grateful I am.

How pleased, touched, amazed, and overcome.

You’re still here, my beloved readers and supporters and friends.

Today it’s time to take stock of everything in my life that I can appreciate.

For a bed with clean sheets and a pillow that’s clean and good condition, I give thanks.

For a room with a lock on the door and a cupboard to store my possessions, I give thanks.

For food to fill my belly and a place to store nourishment for tomorrow, I give thanks.

For a shower that runs clean and sort of warm water, I give thanks.

For access to a toilet, toilet paper, soap, and sanitary water for washing my hands, I give thanks,

For a clean and dry towel to use after the shower, plus clean clothes to put on and soap for the shower itself, I give thanks.

For a smartphone with access to the internet and ability to add data to my plan, I give thanks.

For a room that protects me from the night chill and wind, I give thanks.

For new books to keep my mind occupied, I give thanks.

For fluids to drink instead of getting parched , I give thanks.

For the ability to close my eyes, lie down, and sleep, I give thanks.

For the sweet reassurances of community who tell me I will weather this hard time, I give thanks.

For every one of you who still wants an Ana story, I give thanks.

I give thanks for you, dear friend who has touched my life.

I need your voice as much as I need my writing. For what good is a writer with no one to read her stories?

For you, I give thanks.

So many thanks.

And love.

Reader challenge!


Rumor has it that one or two Anastasia Vitsky readers may still be around.

Is it true?

Would you like another story?

Comment below (Facebook also counts, if you prefer) if you’d like ten words of a new Ana story. Wooden spoons are a must!

I’ll see how many people comment and then decide whether to do a fan favorite or start a new one.

Of course, you are free to vote for your favorite characters in your comment.

Comment can be anything! New year’s wish, update, whatever you want.

Hugs and love to all.


V for Valentine’s, V for Victory, V for Violence-No-More

Christmas and the holiday season of 2017 has been…well, interesting. That’s all I’ll say about it, but you may read more of it in the eventual publication of An American in England. Maybe. 😀

In the meantime, however, I’ve realized that this year’s Giving Tuesday (and the entire Ana’s Advent Calendar) went by without notice.


It’s been a huge part of my life and your lives as well, so it’s something I’d like to rectify.

I put out a call on Facebook two days ago (that’s the easiest place to find me these days), and I asked for help. Last year, we helped children in an ultra-poor elementary school by giving their teacher over $1000 in books and classroom/school supplies. In the past, we’ve donated literally thousands of dollars’ worth of books and Kindles to LGBT homeless shelters.

This time, I wanted to help adults. Specifically, women.

More specifically, women who haven’t had fair shake in life.

Within a day, all of you wonderful people had pledged $392.

Three hundred ninety-two dollars! 

I’ve tentatively teamed up with a domestic violence shelter for women (specific details are being kept private for now as safety is a huge issue).

Once I get a more firm idea of the amount we can give, I’ll contact the shelter and ask what their needs are.

Current suggestions include:

–Tumble dryer (make it easier to dry clothes and save space in small accommodations)

–Dishwasher (save on labor for busy, stressed women who may be pregnant and/or juggling kids)

–Amusements for the children (to help poor stressed moms whose kids may throw fits at being in an unfamiliar environment)

–Various necessities, such as tampons/pads, cleaning supplies, food, and other basics

One great idea, though, is a Valentine’s Day party/gift bag set!

After all, women enter these shelters because their relationships have gone bad. It can’t be easy to go through a holiday dedicated to relationships in that case.

If you’d like to join the VDay effort, here are a few ways how:

Head over to my Patreon site ( and sign up. ALL Patreon funds for this month will go to the shelter. (You can stop your subscription right away so it only takes one payment)

Email me at Please put Women’s Shelter Fundraiser for your subject line.

Contact me through Facebook (or comment below) if you’d like to join in. I’m afraid Twitter is a bit wonky at the moment. If you can’t contact me on Facebook but still want to contribute, please comment below. I’ll work something out with you.

I’ve been away from WordPress for so long that I see it now has a donate button. I don’t know a ton about it yet, but I’ll look into it. Let me know if that’s something you’d like.

Please help us make Valentine’s Day a day of victory for this domestic violence shelter! Let’s usher in 2018 by making the world a better place. Let’s believe in the good of people and make good things happen.

I need that faith, and maybe you do as well.

Much love from Ana

P.S. Watch this space for special exclusive offers for those who participate!

Giving back: in memory of Debbie Liles

(Warning: slightly political post)

As I’ve mentioned before, my father was a lifelong educator in the public schools.

When he died, one small comfort was knowing that memorial funds donated in his name would help causes he cared about.

Since then, education has taken a beating from our current administration. The arts, especially, have suffered.

I was the lucky recipient of a wonderful public school system that provided ample opportunities for music education, but times have changed. Title 1 schools, or schools with a high percentage of children from low-income families, especially struggle in the current climate of test-driven education.

Kids need to learn reading and arithmetic, yes. But they also need a reason to live. They need hope for a better tomorrow, safety to develop as a whole person, and encouragement to shine.

What music education gave to me, music teachers in public schools give to the next generation. Through endless budget cuts and inhumane demands and schedules, they give children a chance for a better future.

Last month, a music teacher was killed as part of a robbery.

There are no words to describe what her family and school family must be experiencing.

(Full disclosure: I’m not connected to her or her family. I’m just someone who was touched by her story.)

Debbie Liles’ son has set up a GoFundMe page for memorials, and they will be used to keep her music programs going. I know that many of you search for causes to contribute to, and ways to make this world a better place.

I hope, if you are looking for a place to donate, that you’ll consider keeping Debbie’s legacy alive.

As for me, I can’t afford to give much. But I am putting a small check in the mail and saying a prayer.

In my dad’s memory, I want to honor Debbie Liles’ life work.

Would you consider doing the same?