Yale Pediatrician: Like 1 In 3 Medical Trainees, I Was Sexually Harassed – WBUR

The news that some male Marine Corps members used Facebook to upload photographs and suggest sexual violence against female Marine Corps members is disturbing and terrifying. But it is not surprising.

In every workplace and on every team where there is a culture of hierarchy and no strong message against sexual harassment, it rears its ugly head. I am a pediatrician. I was a pediatric intern working in the neonatal intensive care unit with my senior resident one night, trying to learn as much as I could about taking care of very sick infants.

After checking on all the newborns and laboring women, my senior resident and I retired to the call room. It was a bare room — a bunk bed, a table, a closed door. Because we both knew that if we were called to an emergency delivery, we would want him there first, he was in the bottom bunk and I was in the top bunk. We lay in the beds, discussing the babies we worried about and what I would do if called to see one of them.

And then he asked me out. He asked if I would like to go out for dinner one night. While we were alone, in bunk beds, in a closed room, and while he was my immediate supervisor, he asked me out.

My first thought was, if I say no, would he retaliate and send me to the delivery room alone? Would I have to take care of a sick newborn by myself? Would the nurse hand me a slippery brand new baby, blue from lack of oxygen, a baby I wouldn’t know how to care for? And would the newborn die? All because I didn’t say yes to dinner? I said no, but lay awake for the rest of the night, terrified.

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