Today, I’m continuing my discussion of an uber popular book that didn’t paint medical people in a good light— like at all.
You can find the first post here. I’m not mentioning the author or the novel here to protect the author from angry medical people everywhere (okay, perhaps it’s just me.)
What follows is the same encounter, different section. As a quick reminder, this fourteen-year-old girl believes she’s been raped and is looking for guidance from a female physician.
What follows in italics is an exert from the book.
There had been a question burning in my throat for the last ten minutes, but it was her reaching for the handle of the door that forced me to say it. “Is it rape if you can’t remember what happened?”
The doctor opened her mouth as if she were about to gasp ‘oh no’. Instead, she said so quietly I almost didn’t hear it, “I’m not qualified to answer that question.” She slipped out of the room soundlessly.
Problem: There are so many problems with this response from this doctor to her patient that I am flabbergasted as to even know where to start. First, how about starting with a doctor who cares enough to simply ask a few follow-up questions?
Such as, “Please, tell me what happened.”
What is shocking is just the amount of information that has been disseminated to the population about getting mutual consent before a sexual encounter. In fact, in just the last couple of years was the infamous “Tea Consent” video which you can view below.
In fact, the video states, “And if they’re unconscious, then don’t make them tea. Unconscious people don’t want tea and can’t answer the question, ‘Do you want tea?’ because they’re unconscious.” So it seems the issue of whether or not this was consensual would be fairly easy to determine.
No consent, then a crime has occurred.
The first signal to this physician is her patient’s memory problems. This is very concerning for her getting slipped a drug so that she could be raped. If the physician feels this is something she can’t explore, especially considering the patient’s age, then she should seek outside guidance. This could rise to the level of needing to be reported to the police.
Never just stop and not say anything more. This young girl is clearly in crisis. A doctor is qualified to help this patient, particularly one in this setting, who should be clearly educated in circumstances just like this.
Who else can this girl turn to for answers if not a trusted physician?