When sexism and defense of male assailants of sexual assault run too deep in the bloodline of a medical school

I was sexually harassed. My medical school is protecting the male student who did the harassing.

This is the exact letter that I found myself having to send to the deans of my medical school after meeting with the head of student affairs during which I ended up being harassed, victim-shamed, blamed and yelled at.

The names of people and the school are replaced to protect their safety and privacy- for now.

 

Mr. (school lawyer),

 

I apologize for my writing you a third email for the evening- my first two were mostly to clarify my own personal actions that I am taking in response to the situation presented.

 

I would again like to emphasize that my actions were unwarranted and not appropriate at all and I will be changing them from now on. I apologize for what I said, but I would also like to acknowledge that this response elicited from myself was a direct response to an action done to me by the same student, (male former friend), who accused me of cyber-bullying. I would never have behaved in such a manner had I not been extremely hurt and violated by my fellow student.

 

My background has been filled with poison, as you stated, but it has made me so much stronger. My essay for medical school detailed the abuse that I underwent and then about how I went to work and then manage a shelter for abused women.  I have turned every single bad occurrence in my life into something beautiful and I will always do so. My own hurts and pain are what have made me strong and able to help others and understand and empathize with others.

 

Currently, I’d like to address the fact that I am being made to be ashamed of my reaction to being sexually harassed- again, my reaction was not appropriate at all and I was not in my right mind when I said such things and I regret that I did, however, I am being shamed for a response to a more traumatic event that happened to me- a male friend, knowing my background with rape and abuse, who took advantage of me while I was massively concerned about my friends who were too intoxicated to make any decisions for themselves and while I was distressed about a girl threatening my life (I am aware that she told, coincidentally, the exact same story that I did but she also knew that I was going to report this- I posted in our class chat asking what to do and to whom to report if attacked by a student- this is the only reason that I can think of that would have allowed her the forewarning to change up the story and state that I did the actions that she actually performed towards me, but I digress.) My intent with this letter is to let you know that the action taken towards me and the accusations made may not have been thought through fully. I am being accused of cyber-bullying due to the message sent to one (male former friend), a male who I trusted and thought of as a good friend. Earlier in the night he asked me if we were “just friends” and I said yes. He then grabbed my head and forced me to engage in the act of “making out” as it were. I pushed him off. Ten minutes later he tried the same action again and I pushed him off- this is all while we were in the car with a stranger- a local who had the kindness in his heart to drive us back to (housing) after the girl in the cab had attacked me. I have a physical description of the local if that’s needed and the car was a large pickup- he can likely attest to what happened if a witness is needed.

 

During our meeting you brought up my past- my childhood, the abuse I endured as a child and again as an adult, the rape that I experienced, the crazy life that I’ve had in general. You spoke to me, telling me “to get the psychiatric help that I need.”

 

The inappropriate response that I sent to my friend who took advantage of me and physically forced me to engage in a sexual action with him was not warranted, but it is not indicative of psychiatric issues. I would hope that ANY woman who is taken advantage of or physically forced to engage in a sexual action stands up for herself because it is not okay. Working in a shelter for abused women taught me this- women have the right to stand up for themselves when sexually assaulted or harassed. I would actually be disappointed to know that a woman was harassed or assaulted and then let it go without addressing it. I happened to do so in an inappropriate manner with my assailant, which I acknowledge and do apologize for having done so. I would like to explain that I did not want to report my friend for having done this- I like to not participate in drama and he was clearly under the influence and I did not wish him to be penalized for a mistake that he made but I did want to make sure that he knew that he could not ever do such a thing to me or to any woman again. Next time, I will not say anything and just report straight to security and to (insert name of medical school).

 

Perhaps I am misreading the current situation, but it seems that I am being punished and shamed for standing up for my right to my own body. I have endured sexual abuse and rape and I’ve worked with women who have experienced the same and I will never not stand up for myself or ANY woman who experiences this- I will always stand up for what’s right and for any woman in this situation and that’s not because of my own experiences, it’s because that is what is right. Although I was not appropriate nor professional, which I should have been and apologize for not being so, I was defending myself from an assailant in a delayed response and in an emotionally compromised manner- however, this does not mean that I am psychiatrically ill or sick. I have experienced so much trauma and I have always flourished despite that. I am not psychiatrically ill for standing up for myself after being sexually harassed and or assaulted.

 

I understand that, perhaps, based on statistics that I’ve seen during my time working in a domestic violence shelter, many men might not understand exactly what I went through so I will try to provide a metaphor. I will equate rape and sexual harassment/assault to robbery- being robbed is scary- you could have been home, you could have been away and someone, a stranger or even someone you trusted broke into your home and took some of your belongings- your home was violated, you feel unsafe. You’ve watched your friends get robbed- some of them have only had a television taken, others have lost their house, their lives, their families because they were robbed blind. You grew up in fear of getting robbed. You were robbed as a child. You were robbed as an adult. You even start to work in a counseling center for those who lost their lives to being robbed because you want to help give back to those who experienced the same pain as yourself. Hypothetically, you then pursue your dream in medicine at (insert name of medical school). You make friends and trust your classmates and go to hang out with them one night. During the night, your friends put themselves in a situation to get robbed and you were distressed for them- what if this was the time that they lose their lives due to robbery? You feel guilty that you didn’t stop it. Your good friend puts you in a cab with some other classmates, one of which attacks you saying that you wanted to be robbed- that’s why you’re upset that your friends put themselves in a situation in which they could have been robbed. This person then says they watch you and know where you live and then attack you. You and your friend are then alone in the dark with dead cell phones and hitchhike home. During this ride, your friend, who you trusted, who you cared for, tried to pickpocket you. You stopped him and asked why he would do that. He lets you calm down and then he tries to do the same thing again. Your friend who knew what you’ve been through- seeing lives destroyed from robberies, experiencing robberies yourself, seeing your family destroyed due to robberies, knowing that you stand for preventing robberies- tried to rob you himself while you were vulnerable because your friends were in a situation to be robbed of their lives. If the character in this metaphor did not stand up for himself, he would have been letting robberies occur- he would have let this person go on to rob others when he could have stopped it. He let himself be robbed. If he did not stand up for himself, how would robberies ever change? The world would continue to be robbed of lives, of property, of anything when he could have stopped it- even if it is just one robbery being stopped or one robber being made aware that he cannot do this to others. This metaphor is what happened to me on that night. I have been robbed and I’ve watched countless women be robbed- if you replaced robbed with sexually assaulted, although these are almost synonymous- when your body is taken by another against your will, you are robbed- your own body is taken from you whether that is temporary or permanent, it is not acceptable under any circumstances.

 

Right now, I am being punished for standing up to someone who saw I had no security alarms on at my house for the night and tried to rob it. Granted, I should have reported this but I cared for this person and did not want to harm them or their reputation. I spoke to them individually, I actually messaged them asking if they had meant to make out with me if he would so kindly provide his text messages to you all, but he told me to never talk to him again for not accepting his sexual advances. At that point I sent a vulgar message that I should not have because I realized that he had done this on purpose- he had meant to force me into a sexual situation and had taken advantage of me. At this point, I was emotionally compromised and said things that I regret. I over-exaggerated my sentiments to him so that he would know that what he did was not acceptable, but I did not want to report him to anyone because people make mistakes. I’m sure he meant no harm although what he did was harmful and a violation of my body. I wanted to ensure that he would not do that to any other woman in his life and yet keep him from being punished for such an action- that is why I was over-emotional and inappropriate. I apologize and I will gladly apologize to this male but I will not apologize for the action of standing up for myself and all of my fellow women who’ve been victims. I stand for this cause; I will always stand for this cause and I will always stand up for women who experience this situation. As I stated in my personal statement for medical schools, my primary care physician was the one who noticed that I was being abused and told me that she would take action if this was not resolved quickly and that is the type of physician and woman that I aspire to be. I will always do what is right for my fellow women, victims, patients, friends, men who have experienced this, family, classmates, any human. I will always stand up for what is right because that is what my past trauma has taught me.

 

Mr. (school lawyer), you might see me as psychiatrically sick but I propose another view- I am standing up for what is right and preventing any sort of sexual assault or harassment whether that be ensuring my friends don’t make bad decisions while highly intoxicated or whether that be confronting the males or females who act in a harmful way to women or victims of any gender.

 

I am not sick. I have experienced so much more than a X-year-old female should have, but it has made me wiser, stronger and smarter and I will do everything in my power to make sure that no person is hurt by any other human from some sort of physical, sexual or mental abuse/harassment. I am standing for a cause and doing what I can to help others through what I have experienced or preventing what I have experienced from happening to others. I will be going to therapy to address my past and my conduct during this situation but I pray that anyone who reads this will see that my actions, despite what they may seem, are always meant for good. My actions are meant to protect and defend any victims of sexual abuse or assault and to prevent this action from being done as much as I can. I will never be vulgar or unprofessional in this again and will report it instead but I will always stand up to assailants.

 

My friends will be able to provide my own testament to them as to what happened as I relayed it to them on Saturday morning- around 6-10 friends heard this from me almost directly after it happened- I expressed what happened on Saturday-Sunday including details as to how my friend forced himself on me and that I got attacked by an unknown female and hitch-hiked home with a local stranger. I’ve filed a report with security at (housing). I do not wish for the male involved in this to be harmed or punished and I’d rather this letter be used to understand why I reacted in such a way but if it’s necessary to move forward with these accusations towards him then that is okay.

 

Lastly, I was shamed and accused of things that were not true today- not only was I shamed for how I reacted to a sexual assault and told that I clearly needed psychiatric care by a male lawyer who was visibly biased against me coming into the conversation- based upon rumors that have no actual factual evidence, but rather are based on anecdotal evidence from unknown sources.

 

I am being victim shamed as well as being accused of aggression and of having psychiatric problems based on rumors with no evidence whatsoever by a faculty member and lawyer who is supposed to be here to stand up for students when there are conduct and integrity issues, who is not qualified to medically evaluate me and without evidence or the opinion of a qualified medical professional decided that, because I was upset and had a reaction to being assaulted, that means that I have psychiatric problems.

 

This situation is providing evidence that (X medical school) will stand by assailants of sexual assault when those assailants are confronted by their victims.

 

Not only has a faculty member, representing (the school) and their views, shown that they will back assailants of sexual assault, but they have accused the victim of being mentally unstable based on the testimony of the assailant and based on a lie from the victim’s attacker before the victim was assaulted.

 

A victim was assaulted and the Assistant Director of Student Conduct at (insert name of medical school), who happens to be a lawyer who took the case to prosecute on the behalf of the assailant, has suggested that the victim go home for the semester and seek the psychiatric help that they “clearly need” because they are unstable due to their reaction towards their assailant in a sexual assault.

 

Today, X medical school chose to stand behind a male who committed a sexual assault to a female after she was attacked by another female who lied to cover up her actions.

 

Today, X medical school told a victim of assault who was assaulted by another X medical school student that they maybe shouldn’t be in medicine because they were upset by being sexually assaulted when, in reality, the victim CAME into medicine because of sexual assault and violence towards women- I will attach my personal statement with this letter.

 

I was accepted to this medical school because of my ability to stand up despite being beat down by sexual assault, rape and abuse. I was accepted to this medical school because I stood up after being beat down and chose to help others through similar situations. I was accepted to this medical school because I will make an excellent physician who will ALWAYS do what is right and who will ALWAYS protect the weak and those who are abused or assaulted. I was accepted to this medical school because I take a stand for what I believe in and because I would do anything for what I believe in. I was accepted to this medical school so that I could stand up for women everywhere, and that is exactly what I am doing here, which I did in a very inappropriate manner over the weekend and will be handling in different manners in the future, but my actions do not justify my being punished for a justifiable reaction to the events that transpired.

 

 

 

Respectfully,

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