med student

Things healthcare professionals asked me after I was raped at age 16:

– If I had been drinking
– If he “jumped from the bushes” (direct quote)
– What I was wearing
– If I said no
– If I physically fought back

Not that any of this matters, because victim-blaming is never okay, my story doesn’t include most of the usual stereotypes. I was stone-cold sober, in a jumper and jeans, and he was someone I knew very well. It happened at a private space behind closed doors, so I wasn’t “out too late”.

But the real problem is when professionals in our healthcare system, the very people who are supposed to take care of you, perpetuate these stereotypes. 90% of people are raped by someone they know, often a family member or a friend.

Healthcare professionals meet vulnerable people as a part of their job. Communicating with someone in the right way about such a difficult topic is important, as the way you are made feel by someone you trust can shape your perception of what happened, your responsibility and worth.

In my case, a doctor made a teenager feel ashamed and responsible for what happened.