Listening to the recent case of Taylor Swift who recently won her case against a man who groped her, gave me cause to remember….many may have similar stories. So I share mine. It was posted on my facebook page earlier this year but I want to share with you.
“I think of myself as strong but…as a college student, putting myself thru school, I got a job in an local psychiatrist’s private office. Hoping to understand medicine and looking for a letter of recommendation for medical school, I joined his office. He was in his late 60’s, working as a solo practitioner with his wife and a couple of staff helping in the office. After a few months, when no one was in sight, he reached for me, kissed me with an open mouth and fondled my breast. Jumping back, I was stunned. I immediately told the head nurse, whose comment was “It happens”. Apparently it was no surprise. Though I needed the job, I promptly quit. Sexual harassment is a form of bullying, whether it is from a stranger or a boss. Unfortunately, many of us learn later in life how to address this form of intimidation. Thank you to the women now who are bringing forth their stories. It is not an easy thing to admit to. As we older women tell our stories, we can give our history to our younger generation so that both men and women understand the destruction sexual harassment causes. We acknowledge that sexual harassment is a form of intimidation. It should not to be tolerated. Share your stories, encourage others to stand up to bullying and intimidation. I have certainly gotten stronger and I wish my younger self had the courage and knowledge that I have now, but at least you will know, it can happen to anyone. Now we need to be part of the solution. “
Regardless of your gender, this can happen and we need to be proactive to prevent this by encouraging our colleagues to be respectful of all. Learning this at home is the first step and I believe we have worked hard to raise our three children to be civil to others and courteous to all. I like to think, that as a physician and mentor, I instill this in the students, residents and colleagues that I work with and will continue strive to make it so.