In the wake of the #metoo movement, I just read this article by Dr. Lissa Rankin, MD. It shocked me. Not because I didn't know that sexual harassment in the medical workplace is common. No, I was shocked because I almost forgot. I pushed it far, far away, like a bad dream that I'd rather not recall.
However, like all things pushed away under the surface, into the shadows, it will eventually resurface. The Truth will be uncovered. We are seeing it everywhere in the world right now, the world is waking up, and starts to remember its collective nightmares.
Whilst we are at it (the Truth), it sure is time to speak about sexual harassment in the workplace, as I encountered in my career as a doctor, and during my medical training. I feel ashamed I didn't speak up for the 'girls' who were 'prettier' and were picked first so I wasn't used as a target. I made myself small and invisible to avoid harassment. I often took a lab coat in a bigger size to hide my female curves.
I remember now.
I remember the vulgar language in the operating room, directed at the nurses, assistants, interns, and residents. The toxicity of it was one of the reasons I didn't want to be a surgeon.
I remember which hallways to avoid in the hospital during night shifts.
I remember male colleagues, who made indecent remarks, touched me or grabbed me for a kiss, although I knew they were married or in a relationship. I was often wondering how these women must have been treated at home. Somehow, I never wondered if this treatment was fair to me.
I remember a student in my year who had to f*ck one of the professors when she applied for a residency. She didn't get the job.
I remember a nurse who thought she'd get a ride home after a busy evening shift and was raped by one of the surgeons on the hood of his parked Ferrari. The whole thing was captured by the hospital parking's security cameras. He was never suspended.
I remember now. All of it.
It's like this. Really. Everywhere. Truth be told.