Friday, July 17, 2015

Life as a medical student #14 Sexual Harassment in Hospital - What would you do?

Image source: Google Image

I recently had an uncomfortable encounter with a specialist in the hospital. He is thirty-ish and decent looking, in a green colour surgical gown. We were both in the waiting room outside of the operating theater. He introduced himself, and asked for my phone number immediately. I was a bit reluctant, but he explained that getting phone number makes him easier to contact me if there's any interesting cases in the operating theater. So I gave in. He continued the ''oh so which medical school you are from'' small talk, until I found a quick exit when my friend came in to look for me. I said, ''It was nice to meet you.'' I turned around and walked out the door.

Just few seconds after I left the room - in only a few seconds. He whatsapp-ed me. He said it was nice meeting me too. And he asked if I have time so that he could treat me to a meal. I didn't reply him immediately as I was caught up with work (Yes why is it that a specialist has more free time than a medical student *rolling my eyes*). But I replied him afterwards, I said there's no need for a treat. Then that's when it became creepy - he started to text me everyday. As the conversation progressed, he started telling me how good he is on bed, how he could easily make women happy. He asked if he could have sex with me.

What would you do?

Fortunately I am not in a direct subordinate position. At least not now. But if the person doing the harassing is your boss or a superior, do you complain? What if they threaten to make you lose your job, are you able to take this risk? The harsh reality is that sexual harassment occurs within a culture of silence, especially in male-dominated professions. I am sure there are women targeted by their superior for sex and their refusal will eventually lead to limited career progression. Of course hospital administrators will turn a blind eye to such complaints because these surgeons/specialists/consultants are the ones who bring prestige and money into the hospital. So why even bother to make noises? Knowing that there's no point to report, majority of women choose to eat the humble pie. So did I. I didn't make any reports. Am I silly? I don't know.

Although I didn't make any official reports, but after his few repeated requests to go out with me and sex-based text messages everyday, I braved myself and told the specialist off. It was too much. Although it was just text messages, I felt offended, humiliated and intimidated. My body was trembling, and my eyes even got a little teary - not with sadness, but with anger. ''Go fuck yourself.'' I said. Luckily that was toward the end of my rotation, so I didn't see him again after the incident. And he stopped harassing me.

Trust me, I didn't want to talk about this disturbing and uncomfortable encounter. But today I am posting this because I hope that some readers out there that may be in a situation similar as mine can know that they are not alone. We do not have to tolerate this behaviour. Defend yourself. Walk away. Report if you have to. Most importantly, be strong with your words when you say no. Never put yourself in a vulnerable situation.

I despise men who are successful and rich on the outside but show no respect to women 
and only want a young vibrant woman whom he can enjoy in bed.


  1. That sucks. Unfortunately, men like this are everywhere. Fortunately, they're not the majority. Kudos to you for standing up! That's some girl power there :D

  2. WTH I just saw this (LIKE SERIOUSLY) Take care and I hope you will never meet that person ever again D:


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