June 26, 2014

Silence in Sexual Abuse by Medical Professionals

swalko_EMS_(emergency_medical_service)_logoIn Pennsylvania, all medical professionals — even interns — are required by law to report suspected cases of sexual abuse. However, our culture often encourages reporters to keep quiet about the abuse for fear of the outcome. Unfortunately, this is also true when the medical professional is the one committing the sexual abuse.

When we say our culture encourages silence, we don’t mean that we strive to protect sex offenders. Instead, we are referring to people who think they don’t have to alert the authorities because they didn’t see the abuse with their own eyes. In these cases, the would-be reporters are usually afraid of what might happen if the allegations are untrue. In the event that a medical professional is taking advantage of patients, the victims (especially children) often depend on the courage of others to report any suspected abuse.

Often, and understandably so, the trauma of the sexual assault causes victims to remain quiet. In the medical realm, there are also a number of factors that might inhibit a victim’s memory of the attack. Additionally, victims of child abuse may be confused about the events because they’re taught to trust medical professionals. Whatever the case, if you suspect a medical professional of committing sexual abuse contact the following authorities:

  •  Police or law enforcement
  •  The state’s medical licensing board
  • A lawyer
  • A victim’s advocate group