An in-depth news report recently featured on Buzzfeed.com, delves into horrific detail about how a gynaecologist accused of sexually abusing 19 of his patients avoided jail time.
Albert Samaha, news reporter for Buzzfeed reveals that Robert A. Hadden managed to strike a plea deal to sidestep a prison sentence.
One of his accusers, Marissa Hoechstetter told the news outlet that when he first pleaded guilty to cases only involving two women, she thought that it was a victory.
With hindsight, and with more sexual abuse, assault and harassment allegations that are finally getting the attention they deserve, she says that she now realises that Hadden simply losing his medical license was him getting off lightly.
Hadden has been accused of groping some of his patients, licking their vaginas and squeezing out breast milk. Horrific. Worst of all is that a number of women were pregnant when this occurred.
It’s uncomfortable to think about people like Hadden who abuse their power in ways that are unethical and abusive
Allowing yourself to be examined so intimately takes a lot of trust. You’re vulnerable in every sense of the word.
So much so that I’m 33 and went to a gynae two years ago for the very first time.
It took me a long time to get to that point and I’m pretty sure I would have happily avoided going to the gynae for as long as possible, if it wasn’t for the fact that the medication I’m currently using caused changes to my body that could only be dealt with by a specialist.
Taking antidepressants can sometimes cause your hormones to fluctuate. I’ve experienced this with at least two different types of drugs, although - I should add as a disclaimer - that the side-effects I’m currently experiencing won’t necessarily be the same as yours.
So, following a doctor’s appointment, plus a few hormone tests and a sonar the verdict was decided: I needed to see a gynaecologist.
I hoped that they would be a woman.
As a big girl with body issues, I was about as excited as a child being dragged to the dentist. However, my need to get past period hell was so great I decided to muster up the courage. I was hoping for a female gynaecologist.
I have nothing against men, I just thought I’d feel more comfortable being examined by a woman.
And given the latest news story mentioned above, well, you can hardly blame me.
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(On a side note: why is it that when you tell people you’re going to the gynae, everyone – with the exception of my lovely colleagues - suddenly wants to share all manner of horror stories with you? I was nervous enough as it was)
So just how did my first visit go?
Well, better than I expected it to be, to be perfectly honest. Having resigned myself to seeing a male gynaecologist, I was rather pleasantly surprised by how smoothly everything went.
Everyone was so matter of fact that I couldn’t help, but be a little more assured.
Once the doctor established that I was a first time ever visitor, he was quick to get down to business.
Professional, courteous and reassuringly friendly, he gave me the space I needed to disrobe. That went a long way in helping me feel more comfortable.
Being naked wasn't the big deal I thought it would be. And that’s the crux of the matter. Complete and utter professionalism and a good bedside manner without being invasive goes a long way in making one feel comfortable.
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Throughout the examination he’d explain what he was doing so that all my focus went into understanding the general process, as opposed to concentrating on the fact that I was completely nude.
Aside from that, I didn’t really have the time to fuss over my nudity because I was too busy experiencing the discomfort of my first pap smear (and let me tell you that while they don’t exactly hurt, having something as invasive as a speculum inside your vagina is not an exercise in fun).
It was all very clinical without being daunting. And it’s over before you even know it.
I’ve been prescribed a contraceptive pill to help fix the problem and let’s just say that I’m not feeling nearly as nervous about going back as I was in the first place.
For those of you who haven’t gone to the gynae or who are scared to see a doctor, I’d highly recommend that you go.
What my experience has taught me is that a professional gynaecologist will never make you feel uncomfortable in your skin.
And if you’ve never had an easy time accepting your body, weirdly enough, the gynaecologist’s office is one of the places that’s a good starting place to let go of all those hang ups.
It’s all about finding the right person to help you. Remember that the moment you feel uncomfortable with anyone’s bedside manner or a situation feels like the doctor is crossing boundaries, is the very moment you either say something or leave.
What was your first gynae experience like? Send us an email and share your story with us.
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