What to Know about Sex Abuse at the Doctor's Office

Playing Physician Sexual Abuse

Women's Health Magazine editor-in-chief, Amy Keller Laird, joins The Doctors to discuss the magazine's survey regarding sexual assault at the doctor's office.

Watch: Mother Claims School Won't Protect Daughter from Sex Abuse

Amy became interested in this topic after reading a study that came out in 2016 looking at an investigation of 100,000 doctors. 3,000 of those doctors had been disciplined for patient abuse and more than half still had their medical licenses and are still practicing today. So Amy decided to look at the issue from the reader's standpoint. 

Women's Health surveyed more than 500 women who may have been victims of abuse. In their survey they found that 27% of women had been violated in some shape or form by a doctor. These offenses ranged from a lewd comment or inappropriate touch to, in the most extreme cases, rape. 

ER physician Dr. Travis Stork says, "When you're at the doctor, you're at your most vulnerable." The truth is that many people don't even know what is appropriate or inappropriate protocol in some medical situations, so Amy walks The Doctors through some of the broad strokes. 

Breast Exam - you should never be topless through the entire exam. Plastic surgeon Dr. Andrew Ordon adds, "well, number one there, you should never be alone with the patient." This is something he enforces at his practice when discussing breast reconstruction surgeries. 

Pelvic Exam - Doctors should always be wearing gloves when touching your genitals. They might ask you about your sexual history, but they should not be getting into more personal or emotional things like "what are your turn-ons." 

Therapy - Another place where people reported misconduct was during therapy sessions. Therapy is an emotional experience so it's fine for a therapist to give their patient a short consoling hug, but more intimate touch or discussing the therapists personal issues is not appropriate. 

Watch: Prosecuting Cases of Sexual Assault

How to File a Medical Complaint - Amy shares the importance of writing down the events that took place. She says, "one of the most important things we found is that if this does happen to you, you need to document what happened and you need to write down the details: what date was it, what time was it, who was the doctor, what exactly was said..."  

For more information you can head to www.womenshealthmag.com