Silent Suffering: Unveiling Sexual Assaults in the World of Surgery

Two Women Share Their Painful Stories and the Urgent Need for Change

Rachel’s Ordeal: A Painful Silence

The Grooming and Assault

Rachel, a consultant plastic surgeon, reflects on a traumatic incident from the ’90s. She shares how she was groomed and sexually assaulted by a senior trainee, recounting the details of the ordeal that left her scarred both mentally and emotionally.

The Ongoing Guilt and Gaslighting

Rachel shares her inner turmoil and self-blame that persisted for years. She highlights the gaslighting she endured from her assailant, who tried to downplay the assault. Her story underscores the lasting impact of such experiences on victims.

The Culture of Silence in Surgery

Rachel sheds light on the entrenched culture of silence in the surgical field, where women often fear career repercussions if they speak up. She emphasizes the need for an independent body to support and empower women to report harassment.

Sarah’s Struggle: Reporting Assault and Facing Betrayal

A Culture of Sexism and Banter

Sarah, a former surgical trainee, discusses the prevalent sexism and sexual banter in the field of surgery. She explains how she felt compelled to tolerate this behavior until a more senior trainee took it too far.

The Traumatic Assault and Its Aftermath

Sarah recounts the traumatic assault she experienced while on duty in 2020. She details how her initial attempts to seek help from her supervisor and the British Medical Association were met with disappointment and indifference.

Betrayal by the System

Sarah exposes the systemic failures in addressing sexual harassment within the medical profession. Her struggle with HR and the flawed investigation process showcases the need for comprehensive and reliable policies to protect victims.

A Costly Victory

Sarah’s journey ends with a bittersweet victory at her employment tribunal, where it was acknowledged that she had been sexually harassed. However, the toll it took on her career and mental health highlights the high cost victims often pay for speaking out.

In a culture where silence has prevailed for far too long, these stories illustrate the urgency of reform in the surgical field to ensure that victims of sexual assault find justice and support. Names have been changed to protect identities.

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