Doctors

Charlie

When you tell your dad you went to see a Doctor and he asks you what ‘he’ said. I told him SHE said I was okay.

Amy

When I was 16 I went to the doctors for the first time without my mum for the contraceptive pill. The doctor told me they were running an STI screening and whether I would like to get checked. At this point I had been with my boyfriend for just less than a year and we had only started having sex the month before. I informed her of this and she just raised her eyebrow and mmhmmed at me. Made me feel like I had to justify myself to her and with only being 16 thought it was quite inappropriate.

Anon

Around Christmastime last year I went to see the doctor with a rather *embarrassing* problem, which he diagnosed as a STI. I told him that was impossible, as I had never had unprotected sex in my life. He refused to believe me and asked if I often went out drinking. I told him that I went to the pub with my female friends normally twice a week. He then responded that the most logical explanation was that somebody had raped me when I was drunk. He gave me a script for some medication to treat the condition, and told me that it was my responsibility to make sure I didn’t have sex for the next five weeks, even though ‘boys can be insistent’. As I left the surgery, he told me ‘not to let this happen again.’ Two weeks later, a female doctor called me back and explained that he had misdiagnosed my condition. He hadn’t listened to my history, and had made assumptions about my youth and my gender, instead of my situation. Never been so angry in my entire life. Sharing because I felt very ashamed and angry- I hope that if someone else is going through the same thing, you’ll realise that it’s not your fault. Look after yourselves gals xx

Anon

Recently I had to have a gynaecology examination. The Doctor asked me to spread my legs and told me I had severe trauma, and commented it looked painful. He then did an examination using no medical tools but his finger, forcefully pulling me apart and pushing his finger back and forth inside me. When I asked him to be more gentle, he repeatedly told me to calm down in an impatient voice, without being any less rough. With his fingers still inside me he began asking me questions about my sex life. I don’t really know how these examinations work or if that was normal but I came away crying and in a lot of pain. I have to return next week and I’m scared to.

KLO

I am sick and tired of being told that I have ‘time to change my mind’ about wanting a baby. I do not want children. I could not be any clearer on that. I have made that decision and it is the right one for me, and yet I am constantly told by men, women, medical professionals, even strangers, that one day I will change my mind, I’m only young, I’ll wake up one day and suddenly want one, my body clock will take over. Funnily enough male friends who have taken the same life decision aren’t faced with the same dismissal of their choices. They aren’t subjected to the same labels of ‘unnatural’ or ‘weird’ for deciding that children aren’t for them. I once challenged a doctor who took this tack with me. I asked if she would ask ‘are you sure?’ three times of someone who told her that they wanted a baby. Or if in that situation she would begin to offer advice and hand out leaflets, joining in the excitement. I then pointed out that someone who had a baby and later decided they didn’t want it was going to have regrets with far wider reaching consequences that someone like myself who might get to 80 and look back on my life with a wistful ‘what if….?’

Ellen

I’m a medical student and today I went to sit in on a trauma meeting to learn more. I was helping myself to the free food when a male orthopaedic consultant asked me what I’m interested in. Was nice to be acknowledged and even asked a question as am often ignored and feel in the way as a student. Infectious diseases and tropical medicine I told him. The army will be after you he told me. They really want infectious diseases people. It isn’t much hard work too – you can work part time AND you get to travel the world. It’s not too hard and it’s part time! Fancy that! Because hard work wasn’t really on the agenda as I push myself through medical school – all women in medicine really want to go part time so they can have children. Thank you kind sir. How would I ever cope? He then proceeded to tell the other men he was speaking to all about his guns and how he took his friend shooting and he was such an amateur. I raised my eyebrows, smiled and say ‘oh?’ Today I was too tired to try to let a ‘helpful’ male doctor know exactly what my career goals are and ask him why he is patronising me. But I realised that’s ok. Some days I smile and laugh, other days I throw it back. Can’t let it drain me.