sexual assault survivors confront many issues when their assailant is a medical professional.
sexual assaults occurring during the course of a medical examination or procedure can be exceedingly complicated. medical examinations and procedures involving private parts can be extremely evasive and uncomfortable. even when done properly, these examinations and procedures can be painful and emotionally stressful.
over the years, medical professionals have been accused of using these examinations and procedures as cover for sexual molestation. some of these accusations involve medical professionals who were affiliated with institutions, such as universities or sports teams. these affiliations, in certain instances, have created an unhealthy dynamic.
institutions and sports teams have reputations. a sexual assault scandal can negatively e impact universities seeking donations or a sports teams seeking both boosters and recruits. thus, leadership within these settings face moral and ethical dilemmas: deny the allegations as they come forward or keep the allegations in house. the question emerges is whether denying the problem or concealing the problem is tantamount to lying about the problem.
in the end, when this leadership fails, we have deniers, liars, and lots of survivors.
the recent michigan scandal involves a dr. anderson who allegedly sexually assaulted a number of athletes on the men’s football team. leadership, in this matter, is implicated in a dramatic fashion. “it is reported In an interview with espn, the junior schembechler [the coach’s son] says anderson molested him during a physical examination in the 1960s, when he was 10, and bo schembechler, his adoptive father, punched him when he reported the abuse. “It[the punch] knocked me all the way across the kitchen,” he told the sports network.” cnn
it was reported “last month, the law firm wilmerhale issued a 240-page report alleging anderson, who worked at the university from 1966 to 2003, was moved from university health services to the athletic department in 1981 after thomas easthope, assistant vice president of student services, received “credible reports of misconduct” in 1978 or 1979.” cnn. it was reported that ” there is no reasonable explanation,” the report concluded, for easthope’s failure to act on the “rumors and innuendo surrounding dr. anderson. ” cnn.
leadership can act in the fashion due to the fact that they are angry that the assault occurred. unfortunately, they take the anger out on the victim. a proud person would be extremely embarrassed that they did not protect the victim. they can get angry and they can get into denial. to the contrary, they may be so arrogant that they use intimidation to suppress the truth from coming out to protect their self-interest.
regardless of leadership’s intent on suppression, the suppression provides cover for the bad actor to continue doing their bad acts.
survivors of these types of sexual assault have been marginalized within society. perhaps because a survivors can be anyone within the entire spectrum of humanity, there is no concern for them. survivors are not attached to any one special group. while this is a powerful assertion, history shows that institutions are protected in these scandals. the penn state scandal, which involved the molestation of young boys, left the football team intact. there is no scarlet letter attached to that team’s uniform.
what will happen to michigan? probably the same. michigan has a long football history with a 100,000 seat capacity stadium. thus, it is unlikely that much will happen.
the university of michigan president issued an “heartfelt” apology. he went further to say ” “we will thoughtfully and diligently review and assess the report’s findings, conclusions, and recommendations; and we will work to regain the trust of survivors and to assure that we foster a safe environment for our students, our employees, and our community,” schlissel wrote. cnn.
michigan’s president statement is insulting to survivors. i assume the michigan’s president is capable of reading to 240 pages in a reasonable period of time. after all, isn’t he the president of a college? it is frankly an embarrassment that he did not do it prior to his statement and come forward with reforms.
thus, prior to making an apology, he should have thoughtfully and diligently reviewed and assessed the report. by not actually looking at the facts before speaking, he has chosen the place himself in the position of being a denier and a liar. until the university acts on the matter, they remain is a state of denial.
in sum, these stories show how any human institution is vulnerable to entering into lies and deception to avoid the truth. it is only the master of the universe, as stated in the ten commandments, who demands that individuals do not lie. his demand for truth is both universal and eternal.
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post note: as a person who has a family health history for medical problems that requires testing and medical evaluations, i strongly recommend that individuals with medical concerns go to reputable medical providers for proper medical evaluations on a timely basis. many conditions such as colon cancer and prostate cancer addressed in their early stages can be treated.