The Other Side of the Speculum: A Male Doctor’s Point of View

  • Hang on to your knickers and read what a Doctor has to say on the subject of pap smears and pelvic exams.  What follows is a comment from Blogcritics.org written by a Doctor that uncovers an honest and all-male point of view (Warning: may be disturbing to some readers):
    Apr 07, 2010 at 4:08 am

    Hello,

    I’ve read several of the posts here, and just wanted to get a few things off my chest . . .

    I am a doctor myself, in a smallish town in the midwest. I’m in a specialty where we do not do pelvic exams, but of course I was trained in how to do them while in medical school. It has always bothered me, for a couple of reasons, but the male/female thing has been the main thing originally. I always got a small, secret thrill out of doing a pelvic exam (or a breast exam, for that matter) on an attractive woman. Because we were told that “it’s not sexual,” “it’s just a medical procedure, nothing sexual about it, no reason to have sexual thoughts,” I though I was weird. I didn’t worry that much because I knew I wasn’t going into an area where I would do exams, but…

    Then, during residency, I worked with a lot of doctors in the community, and discovered that, for most of them, it WAS at least partly sexual: they would sit around in the lounges and such and sometimes discuss the anatomy of beautiful women who’d been in, and on two occasions discussed, in front me and everyone else, the sexual anatomy attributes of women who worked in the hospital, nurses and such that were mutual acquaintances. I was horrified! I have to say, too, that many doctors, when I asked (because it bothered me), talked about it like, “Oh, it’s just another test to have to do, kind of boring, really.”

    Still, the inescapable fact is that a guy likes to look at a naked woman. Period. Doctors are no different. They like to look at naked women, too. So, if they get PAID to look–I mean, really LOOK–at a woman’s sexual organs, and even better, they get to touch them, well… So much the better! I’m not saying that doctors do exams just to get a sexual thrill, because the circumstances really don’t allow a full-out sexual experience, but given a choice between doing a lung exam on an 80-year-old guy or a pelvic exam on an attractive 30-year-old woman, I’d say most docs would MUCH rather do the latter. They’re only human. They would flatly deny having any such thoughts (in most cases), but deep down, they ARE men, after all.

    So, I think sometimes part of what prompts docs to urge women to have more testing is, that secretly they kind of like doing it. The money doesn’t hurt (i.e., they get paid to do it). In terms of pap smears being unnecessary for post-hysterectomy women, they also probably often just don’t know–there are several things in my specialty which GPs do wrong, all the time, even though they should know better. The ACOG recommends that even without doing pap smears, women have pelvic exams regularly, to screen for various cancers that are of very little risk. I’m sure part of that is just the “hyperscreening” that we’ve gotten sucked into, part of it is the money, and part is the male domination of women (gives you a great chance to stand there, fully clothed, with a woman who is naked and in a vulnerable position), and the chance to look at and touch naked women.

    My wife (my second wife) and I got married last year, just past age 50 (for both of us). She had a hysterectomy (for benign disease) nearly 20 years ago. Before we married, she got kind of funny one day, then when I asked about what was wrong she admitted that she had had to make an appointment to “get my pap smear,” which she felt guilty for missing for the previous few years. I informed her she didn’t need one any more, and she told me I was wrong, that her gyn had told her she DID need them YEARLY, even though she’d had a hysterectomy. I showed her the research and persuaded her not to go back, ever, to that gyn.

    Later, in looking at her records myself, I find that she had a small cyst removed from her back a few years ago. The surgeon did a complete pelvic exam as part of the physical before surgery. A VERY complete pelvic exam. There was no need for that (he did NOT record anything other than lungs, heart, breasts, and pelvic exam on his H&P report). A couple of years later she had a small cyst removed from her shoulder. THAT surgeon (a different one) did a complete breast exam as part of her H&P. My wife works in the hospital, with all these doctors (she’s in administration). She had her first colonoscopy last year, and the GI doc did a complete pelvic exam as part of her exam. Again, no medical reason to do that. She is not unattractive (not a magazine-model stunner, but attractive–I think she’s the most attractive woman in the world, but realistically she’s average attractiveness).

    In my office, I am now doing a small study. I’ve asked women who come in (either as patients or as family members of patients) who are aged 30-60, who have had hysterectomies, whether they have continued to have pap smears/pelvic exams and whether their doc has recommended they still have them. I rank them as “attractive,” “not unattractive,” or “unattractive,” being aware this is a judgement call and not really PC (but the ones I’ve judged “unattractive,” I think everyone would agree, are really not attractive at all). So far, I’ve had 14 women agree to answer my questions, and the results have stunned me: of the 4 unattractive ones, all were told they no longer need to have pap smears/pelvic exams, because of their hysterectomies (even though for one, the hyst’y was for cancer, meaning she DOES need to continue exams). Of the 4 “not unattractive,” 3 have continued to have paps/pelvics irregularly (not yearly but every few years, at least), and 2 told me their doc told them they needed them, in one case “yearly” (and her doc was the same one who told 2 of the unattractive ones not to bother with exams any more, including the 1 who had had cancer)–the other 2 never asked and were never told anything by their doc. Of the “attractive” ones (all of whom had hyst’y for benign disease), only 2 have continued paps/pelvics, but all told me their doctors have continually told them they need to come in for regular exams, including pap smears and pelvic exams (interestingly, all but 1 had the same doctor who’d told 2 unattractive ladies not to come back). My wife’s (previous) gyn had told one of the unattractive ladies not to have further paps/pelvics, and 1 of the attractive ones she really, really needs them regularly (and she has, until our discussion).

    Make your own judgement there, but that’s one more reason to be skeptical of attempts to get women to have regular exams. If I were a woman, I would not go to a male doc for such an exam, ever.   http://blogcritics.org/unnecessary-pap-smears/

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About forwomenseyesonly

Hi. My name is Sue and I am interested in promoting holistic and respectful health care.
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378 Responses to The Other Side of the Speculum: A Male Doctor’s Point of View

  1. Katie says:

    Interesting and worrisome. I wonder if there is a societal prejudice that attractive people are more vibrant and active so need extra care? Or if they receive increased levels of care across other specialties?

    • That is something I had not thought of and you may be on to something here. If a study was done on amount and quality of health care received based on attractiveness, I bet results would show attractive people did indeed receive more attention. In the case of the other side of the speculum, I found the good Doctor’s comments worrisome also. Especially given that frequent pap smears most often lead to unnecessary treatments that can cause harm. Not to mention the psychological damage from loss of dignity, modesty issues, and increased exposure to medical sexual misconduct. I doubt too that attractiveness has that much to do with being pressured into frequent unnecessary pap smears – most men aren’t that fussy! Thanks for your comments Katie.

      • droo says:

        There has been a study on attractive people and the care they recieve. And, yep, if you look good, you will always have longer doctor sessions, etc.

    • Anonymous says:

      I don’t think it’s to do with giving ‘attractive’ people better care, I think it’s to do with these doctor’s preferring to examine the sexual organs of ‘attractive’ women rather than ‘unattractive’ women..

  2. All I can say is WOW. I am saddened and WOW.

  3. Interesting blog!

    Way back when I was 17, I got my private pilot’s license, which meant a regular flight physical. When I was about 18 or 19 and went in for my renewal, the small-town doc wanted to do a pelvic exam on me as part of a flight physical. I refused, on the grounds that I couldn’t think of any pelvic condition that might cause me to wreck an airplane. And I wasn’t even sexually active at that age. The doc really pushed, telling me I was at an age that I really, really needed to get regular pelvic exams. I told him that might be so, but I would go to an ob-gyn to do it. He grudgingly issued my certificate “this time,” but warned that next time I would HAVE to have the pelvic. It was tantamount to holding my flight credentials hostage until he got a chance to peer up into my privates.

    The next physical was overcome by events, as I joined the Army and moved away.

    I have to say – I have generally been pleased with Army health care, and suspect that this is because they are on salary and not paid by fee-for-service. I rarely have the same doc twice in a row, sometimes men, sometimes women; but they were very quick to implement the guidelines of only doing a Pap once every 3 years unless the patient’s history dictates more vigilance.

    • I am so impressed that you had the presence of mind to refuse the pelvic exam, and that even though he was pushy you pushed right back! BTW it is also impressive you knew how to fly a plane at such a young age. And excellent point – what on earth pelvic condition would cause anyone to wreck an airplane!

      When I was in my teens I also had a pushy pap happy doctor telling me I would NEED to have a pelvic exam before he would renew my second prescription for birth control pills. I was still a virgin and started taking them, just in case. Well, the thought of having to go through such an exam bothered me so much that I decided to just stop taking the pill, and have never started up again. Condoms work just fine, plus they also provide other protection.

      Women can tell when something doesn’t feel right or when there is a gleam in the doctor’s eye that just shouldn’t be there! Unfortunately though I haven’t always been so wise and lucky when it comes to pelvic exams.

      • Sue, I was lucky enough to be in a program to encourage female interest in aviation. A local pilot got a grant for this purpose and went around to the high schools to see who was interested. Me me me me me! Oddly… there really WEREN’T many others interested, and my friends thought I was weird for wanting to do it. I doubt the guy even filled all the slots. The grant only covered ground school, but once you pass that exam, you only have two years to complete the flight portion and get your license. My dad was pleased that I passed and between his help and my summer job, I was able to finish my license during my first semester of college. I thought I might go on to fly professionally but… I am just too short. Most commercial pilots come from the military but I was six inches too short for USAF or Navy and just didn’t quite make it for Army helicopter requirements. So – on to other things.

        As for pushiness, well… yeah, I’m kinda known for that. Not always a desirable trait, but it has its advantages!

  4. That is awesome, good for you! I’m afraid I would have been one of the ones who might have been hiding under the desks though. I doubt that guy filled all the slots too! I’m sorry to hear the only thing that stopped you was your height, something you couldn’t change. I have always appreciated pushiness/assertiveness in a woman and wish there were more of us like that. I’m working on assertiveness myself as I’m more of the “eager to please” variety. But when it comes to pelvic exams I have learned to just say “no”. Not always the case with all things ha ha.

  5. Hi,

    Thanks for visiting and for the like :-).

    A male medical friend has said things very similar to what is in this post, which is just so sad and disturbing :-(. Apparently this is far more common than what we might think.

    • Anonymous says:

      men are men no matter the education. It’s simple math.

      • Kleigh says:

        My friends and my aunt all said that same thing. There doctor didnot ask or say what they were gona do. I heard there doctors stuck there hand inside there gown and started doing breat exams with out concent. I could not deal with that. I think that is so wrong. no respect for concent is just sick. I would feel violated had a doctor donle that to me. and my boyfriend would feel disrespected.

  6. Mary says:

    When I was 18 and my big busted friend went to the doctor with a cold and he wanted her to remove her bra. It pretty much alerted me from a young age that some male doctors are predators. At that same blog an ex wife of a doctor says the same thing. She said that when her husband’s doctor friends used to come over for a drink, once their tongues started to loosen up from the alcohol they showed a completely different persona. They went from acting like professionals to leary pervy men.

  7. EJ (USA) says:

    When I was 17, a DR had me wear a paper shirt to listen to my heart, had me lie down, and lifted the shirt and told me not to cover myself. Mom was there (she is of the mentality “oh its just a body”) and assured me he looked away to listen, but he always looked down to lift and lower the paper shirt. I was horrified. I still am to this day. I wasn’t in a place to protect myself like I am now…but I get shaky even now, 13 years later, remembering that feeling of helpless vulnerability, being taken advantage of, and my mother doing NOTHING about it. Ironically, she never allowed pelvic exams on me as a child and agrees with my decision not to screen. I honestly think she thought he was just doing his job…but it taught me only I can protect myself from such pervs. I don’t think women doctors/nurses are any better/less pervy than the male doctors. Sadly, many such women go into the medical field for a sense of power (that’s what I’ve interpreted anyway). I no longer have a regular doctor and am committed to eating healthy and exercising and treating myself whenever necessary. Unless I go to urgent care, I don’t go. I’ve had too many experiences with such doctors that have left me traumatized. Thankfully, I have no desire to have children. I used to want them, but the terror of dealing with doctors and nurses and the medical profession left me anxious at the prospect. My decision to NOT have children is independent of that fear – I just don’t want them.

    • Thank you all for your comments. EJ I like how you put into words so well the feeling of being vulnerable and helpless to stop predatory behavior – and the hopelessness of knowing others cannot/will not recognize it. It is heartbreaking how it has affected your life, and I think that same type of thing can affect many women and how they live their lives. I know for me the prospect of having to submit to pelvic exams with a pervy small town dr. when I was a teen was enough to stop me from going on the pill – so that has affected my personal life a great deal. I also avoid drs and hospitals like the plague from having traumatic experiences. It is maddening how the attitude of “it’s just a body” or “we’ve seen it all before” is supposed to make us feel better. That type of defense only reflects a sense of skewed entitlement and is a way to coerce us into giving up our privacy and dignity, leaving us vulnerable to predatory behavior. Which in my own experience runs far too rampant and unchecked in the medical community.

    • Anonymous says:

      I’m so sorry you have had such negative experiences with medicine. I’ve been an EMT for 4 years and now I am in PA school and I can tell you that I did not go into the field for power (I’m a woman)–as an EMT you are subjected to the men you work with and the patients that can turn violent on you quickly and yes, you do end up with power in many instances, but that is part of the responsibility of caring for others and I rarely saw my female coworkers abuse that, if anything a good deal of the time I was the vulnerable one. Now in PA school they stress to us the importance of keeping the patients properly covered and explaining every step so that they do not feel vulnerable, we have models that come in and tell us straight up if we are doing it wrong or inappropriately and I’m grateful for that. There were also several times in the emergency room when I had to stand up for female patients and tell the nurses and doctors that it was inappropriate for an exam to be done in certain rooms (or an EKG in the hallway on one occasion!), and the male providers always had a female with them to make sure they were professional–the ER though is different than an office, and you should never have felt so traumatized. I hope one day you meet a provider who is caring and sensitive and that you find trust in them for your needs!

  8. Sue and EJ, it is bloody terrible the way we are forced BY the doctors and system to be either compliant little sheep that are doing what we are told is best for us, or (according to the medical profession), not compliant nutbags who won’t accept what’s best for us. It shits me to tears that there is very rarely any middle ground. I also find it telling that when doctors are patients they are not ‘good’ patients, and freak out at the lack of control, possibility of care that is not right, etc etc etc, blah blah blah. It’s about time there IS some middle ground and patients like us are not put in the non-compliant crazy basket, but were instead put in the educated about her care basket. I guess it’s too much to wish that ALL patients were simply treated with some respect, and treated just how the actual doctors would like to be treated if they were the ones stuck in the hospital/medical centre/whatever.

    • Nice to see you Jacqui. We are in different time zones, my day is just ending and I was happy to see your post. I agree there should be some middle ground, and how wonderful it would be if all patients were treated with respect all the time! Going back to something EJ mentioned in her post, it is entirely possible for drs to listen to our heart and lungs through a thin shirt or gown. There is no need for them to have us get naked.

  9. Yeah, I’d definitely call it a “want”, certainly not a “need”. They are so arrogant and sure of themselves, no wonder they freak out when they meet with a bit of resistance.

  10. Chrissy (UK) says:

    This all goes with the ‘get used to it, you’re a woman’ attitude, or ‘I’m a doctor and therefore entitled to see and touch your body’. I don’t know what they are taught when they are medical students, but there is no way they understand what it is like for a woman to be exposed and spreadeagled on an examination table whist they rummage around in the most intimate part of our body. I still remember my first pelvic examination. I was 17 and the (male) doctor forced my knees apart, as I wouldn’t comply with his verbal instructions to spread my legs. I felt violated – I WAS violated, but I have never spoken to anyone who understood how I felt. So I decided to keep quiet about it, until now, as I know that you girls will understand and not belittle how I feel.

    • I’m 40 years old, and have 6 kids, and I *still* have trouble spreading my knees for pelvic exams. I just don’t like the exposure. I was so grateful to my midwife in my last birth, she didn’t do a single pelvic exam on me during pregnancy or during the birth! I did my own Group B Strep swab, and beyond that…no pelvic exams of any kind. And guess what? My little boy was born just fine, thank you very much! My husband caught him with the midwife standing across the room. Of course she did check for tears after the birth, and then at my post-partum visit she did a Pap smear at my request…but that was it. There was no need for her to be constantly checking me.

  11. Jane says:

    Oh Chrissy – I could weep for you. You were violated. I feel sick just reading about your experience. Of course you couldn’t comply with his request. – you must have been terrified. Doctors, nurses and midwives have no idea just how humiliating, degrading and horrifying intimate exams are to a lot of women. I don’t see why women “have to get used to it “. There is never any need to be naked for exams. It’s all about power and control. Get patients naked and submissive. Is it too much to ask for some dignity and respect?

  12. Chrissy what happened to you just shouldn’t happen. For a long time women have been silenced and told to “grow up”, “stop being so modest”, and “it’s for your own good”. Well, the tide is finally turning. Women have finally found a way to speak, and to speak to other women who share many of the same feelings and experiences. A few things are finally coming out into the open:
    - it is common for women to be pressured into frequent pelvic exams without informed consent
    - drs coerce and pressure women into these exams even after the woman has said “no”
    - it is common for drs to withhold prescriptions and healthcare until a woman submits to a pelvic exam
    - cervical cancer is rare
    - pap smears are extremely unreliable as a testing method
    - women are routinely stripped of privacy and dignity, thus leaving them exposed to predatory behavior
    - when a woman experiences sexual misconduct at the hands of medical staff there is little she can do because even if she does complain she is silenced/belittled, and the incident is covered up
    It has been a dreadful cycle of abuse that has gone on for far too long. And I haven’t even touched on all the physical harms that come from unnecessary over “treatment” and harmful testing. What happened to you is so upsetting, and you were only 17.
    Here is the link to a post written by a male who has a very accurate way of describing a pelvic exam:
    http://agalltyr.wordpress.com/2010/11/28/a-pelvic-exam-is-rape/

    • Elliott says:

      I think the male doctor in this post was probably onto something, but I do NOT get a good vibe from this agalltyr person. He talks about the importance of consent for pelvic exams and other touching, but he “wouldn’t date” a woman who got a pelvic exam because it would be cheating?!? Agalltyr seems way more concerned with women’s “modesty” and “purity” and reducing the number of other men who touch ‘his women’ than he does with said women’s health (mental *or* physical).

      Maybe we need to reconsider how often these exams are needed—and how they’re conducted!—but I don’t think it’s advisable to forgo them altogether, and my health is more important than my partner feeling threatened by someone else seeing a part of my body!

      • Alexis says:

        Elliot,
        “my health is more important than my partner feeling threatened by someone else seeing a part of my body”
        First of all my breasts and vagina are no just a part of my body they are my sexual organs. And it’s not just “someone” its strange male looking at, palpating, inserting into me, and fingering me for crying out loud!!!
        My husband has a big problem with that and so I, frankly. It is just as easy to book an appointment with a female doctor for these exams as it is to have your GP do it – It just requires you to dial a different phone number. We, my boyfriend and I, have been going over all these statements, and we just can’t believe your callous disregard for your partner, and yourself to be honest. Strange.

    • Rae says:

      Sure, they’re performed far more than necessary, but that doesn’t mean they’re unnecessary, but it’s still a “grey area” if the patient REQUESTS it? God forbid, what’s he going to do if his wife or girlfriend starts experiencing actual reproductive problems? Tell her she can either suffer, or she’ll be “cheating” on him if she does seek medical attention?

      Looking at the rest of his blog: In other places, he judges people who are trying to have sex without getting pregnant, people who “act sexy in public”, people who get plastic surgery, and he compared plastic surgeons to serial killers…. and he seems to be writing this from a world that only contains straight people.

      There are many, many good arguments that can be made that doctors perform pelvic exams with unnecessary frequency, and likely for their own sexual motives. The post on this page contains one of them. The reasons you list are others. The post that was linked to is something written by a man whose argument is based almost exclusively on his desire to dictate what other people should and should not do with their bodies or feel about the things that they are doing.

      • Rae says:

        Oops! First sentence should’ve read “doesn’t mean they’re completely unnecessary.”

    • MD2B says:

      Cervical cancer is the most common gynecologic cancer in undeveloped countries due to lack of pap smear as a screening tool. In the U.S. it is less common due to pap smears. That being said, this article breaks my heart. I am a graduating senior at a U.S. allopathic medical school and will be going into Ob/Gyn. Our patients come to us trusting us to do what is best and necessary for them, and to hear about this rampant abuse of power is unacceptable. It is for this reason and more that I look forward to soon being able to provide quality healthcare in a safe and comfortable environment to women like me.

      • MD2B, your comment “cervical cancer is the most common gynecologic cancer in undeveloped countries due to lack of pap smear as a screening tool. In the U.S. it is less common due to pap smears” contains a clear purpose, namely, to convince women to screen. Women visiting this site probably do not live in undeveloped countries. Please read this article about cervical cancer in Australia (a developed country):
        http://www.nhmrc.gov.au/_files_nhmrc/publications/attachments/wh39.pdf In paragraph 6.11 the article states: “Invasive cervical cancer is a rare disease. The annual incidence was below 15 per 100,000 in Australia even before the National Cervical Screening Program began (see Figure 2.2), but current screening is detecting some kind of abnormality in about 5000 women of every 100,000 screened (AIHW 2003).”

        Cervical cancer was less than 15 per 100,00 before pap testing became routine. Cervical cancer has always been rare in developed countries, and is even more rare today. It is inaccurate to equate correlation with causation. Cervical cancer was already in decline prior to pap testing coming onto the scene, most likely as a result of better nutrition, hygiene, and protected sex.

        This site is all about women having access to truthful information about cervical cancer and screening. Many women are unaware that cervical cancer is rare, that a pap test is unreliable as a method of screening for cervical cancer, and that they have the right to say no to screening if they choose to do so. Women are not being offered truthful information or a choice when it comes to pap tests/vaginal exams. Many women are unaware they have a right to informed consent.
        http://www.kevinmd.com/blog/2009/11/informed-consent-missing-pap-smears-cervical-cancer-screening.html

        Men are treated respectfully and offered information and a choice in regards to prostate cancer screening, even though prostate cancer is roughly 19 times more prevalent than cervical cancer. Women however are not being offered information and a choice in regards to cervical cancer screening. Men are being offered informed consent, women are not.

      • Elizabeth (Aust) says:

        African women have unique risk factors for cervical cancer, you can’t compare Australia with Africa. Women here are often told the rates of cc are higher in Africa because they don’t have our “fabulous” program. (that harms vast numbers)
        This is designed to scare women into screening.
        The fact is their rates of cc were always much higher than Australia, the cancer has always been rare here and was in natural decline before testing started…so other factors are also, having an impact.
        Honesty is something missing from women’s cancer screening, we get stories, including the African scary story.
        You’re in a unique position to make a difference, I hope you do. Good luck with your future career. More women are looking for someone who’ll work with them, not dictate, scare, mislead or coerce….or push an agenda for their own benefit…usually profits.

      • Cat&Mouse says:

        MD2B: You nauseate me. B4 you “provide” your version of care, obtain treatment for your narcissistic personality trait. You share the same mantra of doctors that bullied me for years by refusing to answer my most basic medical questions. No answer, no treatment until I verified if I were up to date on my “exam.” I even had to disclose who I’d scheduled it with.

        Then my husband caught a doctor looking me over in the waiting room before telling the nurse he wanted to examine for a yeast infection. I had been prescribed antibiotic days earlier. My husband then, over the objections of the nurse, followed me to the exam room. This doctor saw him, and decided then and there to write the Rx down on the pad… The nurse relayed that he decided on second thought I didn’t need one.

        I never received informed consent for any exam. Exams/Treatments were simply issued and it was expected I’d automatically comply. For anything. And pregnancy? The excuse of bearing children is like a “go anywhere/do anything” pass to a doctor.

        Pain? How many times do we hear “might be uncomfortable or might feel some pressure” or “some women say they don’t feel anything.” Or the “a couple Advil will help with cramping; but this will only last a few seconds.” Such as uterine biopsy. Colposcopy with biopsy. Cryosurgery. Scrape the cervix until you see blood. Doctors always feign ignorance. But immediately afterward somehow remember how terribly painful these exams are.

        Today, no doctor will allow his newborn son to be circumcised w/o local anesthetic. There’s nothing worse than hearing a baby boy scream as his penis’ foreskin is cut. Today this hygienic and religious procedure is painless. So explain why doctors aren’t offering meds/sedation/anesthesia both pre and post to women? In a hurry, lazy, or uncaring? Why leave husbands and family to deal with this?

        Keep your empty promises of providing better care and not abusing. You’re not different than any of the others.

        When a prospective doctor says he/she will provide informed consent, invite the patient’s chosen advocate into the room, provide pain control, be honest, and truly stay out of our bodies unless really necessary…then and only then will women, men, and children “enjoy” advanced care.

      • ADM (Canada) says:

        Even the cervix’s of women in developing countries don’t escape scrutiny. I would think that women in developing countries have far bigger threats to their life and well-being than cervical cancer. HIV/Aids (for women aged 15-44 years, HIV/AIDS is the leading cause of death worldwide),maternal death, survival of their children, violence, tuberculosis, access to clean water and food, adequate shelter, mental health (depression is the leading cause of disease burden for women in both high-income and low- and middle-income countries), injuries such as burns (burns are among the top 10 leading causes of death among women aged 15–44), other diseases such as malaria (Malaria is one of the most severe public health problems worldwide. It is a leading cause of death and disease in many developing countries), access to education, and recently there has been a black plague outbreak in Madagascar.

      • ADM, but none of those things involves penetrating women’s vaginas.

    • shePirate says:

      this agalltyr person is a misogynistic asexual psychopath mchaterton.

      here is some more appalling gems

      -”People who act sexy in public encourage other people to get themselves into trouble with sex.”

      -”I think the religious got it right. Although I normally oppose religion (on principle), I agree that abstinence is the best policy on sex. If you’re not going to start a family, then it’s a bad idea to have sex with anyone.”

      -”A pelvic exam is like rape. Rape isn’t about violence. It’s about the loss of control over one’s own body.”

      -”Only a woman herself or someone with whom she already shares physical intimacy (lover or husband) should perform any physical exam”

      -”Sometimes I think I want to have sex. I’ve tried sex a couple times before, I almost think I’d like to try it again, but I keep running into a problem. when I take the whole truth into account, I find that I actually don’t want to have sex.What keeps holding me back is that I know sex is dangerous”

      -”What women in porn really need is someone (a boyfriend or husband) who actually cares about them, and if they can’t find such a person then they would be better off not being sexual at all.”

      -Jesus could have been a physical alien

      -”Kidnapping an animal and holding it captive, people refer to as owning a “pet”

      srsly..where is anonymous when you need them?

      • Claire-Louise says:

        While the stuff this person is saying is pure bile, your word choice is problematic. It probably wasn’t your intention, but puting asexual along with words like “misogynistic” and “psychopath” implies there is something wrong with being asexual.

  13. Oh Chrissy, I am so sorry that you had to go through that. I hope that by finding other likeminded people it is helping you to get over/deal with it. Yes, you WERE violated, against your will, and if there was any justice in the world, doctors and other medical staff that force (sorry, strongly suggest for the woman’s own good) this sort of examination onto women should be charged with assault.

  14. Chrissy (UK) says:

    Jane, Sue and Jacqui – many thanks for your kind words and support. It is a great comfort that you understand and empathise. If any other man had done that to me, we know that it would be considered an assault as I was not OK with what he was trying to do – to the contrary, I was trying my best to resist. And scared out of my wits as I didn’t know what was happening. But because it is a man in a white coat, it is considered to be OK. In fact, I was just ‘a silly girl’ who would not do as she was told by the good doctor. And all for nothing – they don’t do this kind of ‘routine’ stuff anymore in this country as it is not considered to be necessary. Bastards.

  15. Jane thank you for the link – it revealed a very interesting story. Unfortunately it is really difficult to stop doctors who abuse women http://www.chicagotribune.com/health/chi-doctor-sex-charges-gallery,0,2850650.storygallery
    Chrissy, the first time I had a pelvic exam I was not prepared for the experience. Even though I had an idea of what was involved from having read about them, I had a hard time believing that what was taking place was actually happening to me. Naming the exam a “pelvic” exam is misleading, especially if you are not informed about what takes place beforehand, because the pelvis is not in any way the focus. The VAGINA is the focus of the exam, and the way it is spotlighted, examined, probed, fingered, and spread open is truly difficult to comprehend unless you have experienced it, up close and personal.

    My first experience was enhanced because the dr kicked the humiliation up a notch by not providing a sheet or gown to cover up with. He left me completely naked during the exam. I was in my early 20′s and never knew any better. I just assumed that was the way they were supposed to be done, and it was only years later that I discovered we are supposed to get something to cover up with.

    Drs are only, as you say, MEN who happen to be wearing a white coat, and we don’t know them or know we can trust them – we only know that we’re expected to trust them. There is also an assumption and expectation that we are supposed to be just fine with undergoing this violently intimate exam, yet it goes against all we have known how to be.

    Just because a person has studied such subjects as biology and anatomy does not, in my mind, automatically entitle them to ask me to undress, spread my legs, and offer up my vagina for examination. To suddenly let go of all I have known how to be. But this has been the expectation, and the women who don’t comply have been told to find a way to deal with their own “immaturity”, “modesty” and “silliness”. A blame-the-victim approach that has been a very clever and sadly effective tactic.

    I have recently come to understand that some of those MEN in white coats know exactly what they are doing, and enjoy it.

  16. Chrissy (UK) says:

    Sue, that creep of a doctor was either completely oblivious to your vulnerability, didn’t care or enjoyed the power trip . Doctors like that should not be allowed anywhere near women. What the hell do they learn when they are medical students? I dread to think what their training must be like, just treating people as body parts, with no thought to a person’s feelings or psyche.
    It certainly doesn’t require much in the way of intelligence to understand why a woman is uncomfortable being examined in such an intimate way. Lying naked on our backs with our legs open is a sexual position, and it is a very natural and pleasurable position to be in with a man we love and are intimately involved with.
    Being in the same position for a ‘pelvic’ exam with a doctor, is it any wonder that we struggle with the concept as it remains fundamentaly a sexual position. And then we are expected to allow them to look at and touch our sexual parts, most of the time for completely unneccessary examinations which add nothing to our health and wellbeing. The final insult is that we are expected to be OK with this!
    If we don’t like it and try to avoid it, or get upset by it, we are accused of immaturity, told to grow up, get used to it, suck it up, all part of being a woman, being responsible, blah blah bloody blah.
    It really makes me sick. So many of us have been hurt by all this.

    • Thanks Chrissy, and you are so right it is a sexual position which only adds to how wrong it feels. What I disliked most (before I stopped having paps) was the exchange of glances that sometimes happened between the humming and hawing of “oh no I don’t need a pap today” and the dr’s aggressive insistence. There was the nightmarish dread and captured, helpless feeling I got, and what I perceived to be the dr’s victory, amusement, and look of gloating anticipation. I hated that almost as much as what followed.

      When medical students are encouraged to practice pelvic exams on anesthetized women it teaches them that it is okay to disregard women’s privacy and dignity. It teaches them that they are entitled to coerce and pressure women into these humiliating exams, and even when they seem to know exactly what effect they are having they still ignore women’s feelings about them.

      • Yazzmyne says:

        have you read the essay from Claire T. Porter, “I’m taking back my pussy” ?
        http://womenagainststirrups.proboards.com/index.cgi?board=questionnaire&action=display&thread=12
        She describes her gynecological experiences where you probably will recognize a lot. About feeling powerless and having to endure the sexist attitude from a male gyn which is probably very common for women to experience.

        I agree it’s an extremely sexual position for a woman to be in. The other reason why it is so awful, is that it is not just a sexual position, but also a very powerless one, which I believe can force women to associate powerlessness (basically being raped) with sexual arousal as it is our instinct to spread our legs when we are horny. Thus, for a woman to spread her legs, likewise signals the brain for sexual arousal which she doesn’t want at that time of course (most not), because it is a ‘medical’ procedure and she doesn’t want sex with the doctor.

        Therefore I also believe that these gyn exams are rape even when a woman consents to it. She may verbally and rationally agree to it, but her body screams NO and most women do not listen or respect their own bodily feelings in this context. With all the fear mongering about cancer and the fear for the exam itself, she can’t even make a rational decision (and not that it has to be a rational one, because rationality is used to justify the whole ordeal and rationalize her feelings of violation away) because the mind is locked in fear and can’t think clear anymore and this is exactly what doctors want. There are so many benefits for them to keep using the medieval pelvic exam:

        to satisfy their sexual lusts
        for the powertrip
        for the money
        and the fear this exam generates in women also keeps them traumatized, in fear, unable to think CRITICAL about the so called need for them

      • Anonymous says:

        It is true re. Anesthetized women having pelvic exam performed on them without their knowledge. It’s COMMON practice in Canada at all teaching hospitals. The following is proof see for yourself.
        http://www.theunnecesarean.com

    • syd says:

      male ob/gyn are nothing more than perverts that have licenses thats it.

  17. Yazzmyne says:

    It’s so annoying to read many women’s comments on forums who are pap happy and see male gynecologists, arguing that male gyns couldn’t possibly be spending all those years in med school just so they can ogle at and fondle naked women for a living.

    And why not? Besides they get to view and penetrate naked women, they are even being paid for it (as opposed to regular men who need to pay to watch porn or visit a prostitute) and they receive a high status in society and lots of respect to sexually dominate women on top of it, the nasty perverts! All those years in med school very much pay off in the long run!!

    In a society where men relentlessly make sexual comments whenever they see ‘boobs’ and vagina’s, why does it have to come to a surprise that men in a medical context have these same thoughts when they see naked female patients?

    The argument that the context is too cold and clinical doesn’t fly with me. It can only arouse them even more, when they are not ‘supposed’ to have sexual thoughts because repressing sexuality results in even stronger arousal, but they are very good in hiding it. I’m sure many of them also use the visual imagery they get in their offices to jack off on when they get home. The fact that the woman is completely submissive and powerless gives them the added powertrip too, it’s no surprise then either that it was a man who invented this exam, they’ve always enjoyed to sexually dominate women.

    There is in fact a male gynecologist who ironically argues that men should never be a gynecologist and says most of them treat women like sexobjects. I also agree with him that they have a subconscious motivation (and not always subconsciously, but I guess the so called ‘good doctors’ have this subconscious motivation as opposed to the ‘bad’ ones who are at least more aware of their own motivations and can admit for themselves why they are in the business) to be in a powerful position towards women.

    Here’s an article about what he has to say:
    http://womenagainststirrups.proboards.com/index.cgi?board=questionnaire&action=display&thread=39

    The late doctor Robert Mendelsohn also wrote a book ‘Mal(e) Practice’ in where he argues that gynecologists are misogynists.

    When I started my yahoogroup, Women Against Stirrups in 2004, I could hardly find any site, blog or forum that questioned or criticized the practice of gynecology, much to my shock and frustration. I did find one blog that questioned the motivation of why *men* would choose this profession.

    One medical student commented:


    I,m a guy and it’s good to read some common sense. I
    went to med school but dropped out in my 3rd year for
    money reasons and the fact I was disappointed with the
    bulk of drs. I had soo revered for years. First, there
    was a very strong message that MEN should be drs.
    Women lacked smarts, physical strength, and strong
    character to be drs. Also the group that was most
    sexist, and most interested with having “fun” with
    females were those going into the personal areas of
    medicine; ie. OB|GYN and urology. This experience has
    made a BIG impression on me. I strongly think it is
    weird and wrong for a women to see a male dr. While in
    school it struck me. How does a guy with all the parts
    and hormones of a guy suddenly get a pc. of paper and
    get the right to cross the line that husbands and boy
    friends only do. Too often the word “professional” is
    used to give extreme rights to those who should not
    have them. I consider it sexual assault for a female
    to be intimately trouched by a male dr. And I think it
    lowers the womens dignity about as far as it can go. I
    think if women just think for a moment…”this is a
    guy, who went to school and has a title. No matter
    what though, this is a GUY!” And as pointed out what
    kind of normal guy would want to be an OB|GYN?? What
    would be his motivation?

    Women get some brains…men have dominated women in
    all areas for centuries and have always given
    themselves the right to cross lines that are walled
    off to women. It is only recent history that women
    were “allowed” in Med school.
    IRV”

    Some other comments I collected about male
    gynecologists that show
    they aren’t as well-intentioned as they try to make themselves out to be:

    Dr. Alice Rothchild speaks about her student years
    in gynecology :”.. women were always referred to as
    “girls”; one frequent comment by the chairman was,
    “The only good uterus is a uterus on the table!”;
    middle-aged women were referred to as “the three F’s”
    (forty, fat and fertile).
    ..
    Our gynecology text advised women that their role in sexual intercourse was primarily to satisfy the husband.”
    http://www.ourbodiesourselves.org/rothchil.htm

    (this story I read in a magazine:)
    A journalist wrote that he had a chat with a gyn,who was bragging
    about the fact that he and his colleagues were once
    invited to attend a congress about HIV, where
    afterwards they were invited to have sex with prostitutes
    on the costs of those who organized the congress( that
    was the provider of a certain brand of condoms, I
    believe)

    (From a magazine, Interview with a prostitute:)
    A call girl talks about her job and her clients, one of her clients; a
    gynecologist called her to make an appointment in his
    gyn office. She waited in the waiting room behaving
    like a normal patient untill it was her turn. After
    they had sex in his gyn room,(he would first have
    licked her pussy while she was on the examining table
    and afterwards f##ked her) he put his pants back on
    and called in the next patient.

  18. Chrissy (UK) says:

    I have often wondered how male doctors are deemed to be capable of stepping outside of their biology. Men are very sexual beings, highly visual and by nature very much attracted to women, yet male doctors after a number of years of study and training are considered able to set this aside and become completely non-sexual in the company of female patients?

    I have also not yet met a man who does not carry some degree of male chauvinism about him, no matter how small. It would seem that medical school may well enhance this chauvinism and enable them to abuse their power and position. I also don’t buy the cold and clinical setting is off putting for them. It may be cold and clinical for us, but it is their work place and is a very comfortable setting for them. The power dynamic between men and women is amplified in this situation. Are we really supposed to believe that they don’t enjoy this power?

    Yazzmyne, I found your articles to be very interesting. Your comments on the vulnerability of women during gyn exams resonated with me. How many times I have lain there with alarm bells ringing in my head – it just feels so very, very wrong. I struggled with these feelings for years, thinking I was a really strange person, as no one else appeared to think the same way. You know, the ‘all part of being a woman’, ‘it’s OK, he’s a doctor’ garbage that gets thrown at us when we object to being exposed and touched by complete strangers. It is such a relief to find other women who feel the same way about these exams and the disgusting way gynaecology is practiced to the detriment of women’s mental and physical health.

    • Chrissy, I agree that medical school may enhance the male chauvinism that is inherent in every man to some degree. Some medical drs seem to have their own special brand of chauvinism, one that goes well beyond the standard. Some drs seem to develop a way of being and speaking that reminds me of dog trainers teaching their pets how to do tricks. Maybe they have a class in med school that is similar to a dog training/obedience class, geared towards “handling” patients – Patient Training and Obedience 101.
      I like your points about the cold and clinical setting being a comfortable setting for them, and how it creates even more of a power imbalance. Also, we are naked while they are fully clothed. We are in a very vulnerable and sexual position on our backs with our legs spread wide. The light shining on our vagina also adds to the power imbalance. In addition, the proximity of the dr’s face to our private bits is extremely disconcerting. The alarm bells start to ring very loudly at that point. And I agree it is such a relief to be able to find others who feel the same way.

    • Janet says:

      your a smarty Chrissy, I feel exactly the same way and could not have said it
      better myself. It’s absolutely ridiculous thinking they have us all fooled. I have a male Doc friend who is forever trying to look down my blouse when he thinks i’m not
      aware,

  19. Mary says:

    From Unnecessary pap smears the point of view for a doctor’s wife.
    “I was married to a male doctor for 12 years, believe me, they DO notice, sometimes enjoy and will change the way they do a consult and what is included if they find the patient really attractive.
    My ex-husband was careful not to do anything that couldn’t be justified medically or by usual procedure. Given doctors in the States include routine intimate exams when not clinically necessary, it gives them a lot of leeway.
    My ex-husband never felt he was taking advantage, it was a perk of the job. I strongly disapproved and he stopped mentioning it to me but when his colleagues had a few drinks at our home, the lascivious talk would start. Even one colleague who strongly denied he even noticed, he was a professional after all, admitted you can’t turn off the male genes and he had his “favorites”.
    It disgusted me.
    My ex-husband warned me away from male doctors when we met and told me to forget annual physicals, they were not clinically necessary or even helpful.
    I still use a self-test kit my ex-husband sourced for me every 5 years. His colleagues don’t mention self test kits to their patients because they want to do the exam. Although one obese older patient got the offer of a self-test kit.
    It goes on…unspoken and denied, but use your common sense. Do you really think a heterosexual man is not going to notice and enjoy having a young and/or attractive woman naked with legs spread apart in front of him and being able to touch and probe? My ex was surprised that many young women were happy to expose themselves like that now that female doctors are available.
    Anyone who thinks they don’t notice after a period of time is kidding themselves. Unattractive women and older women are safer, my husband would go through the motions or express his disgust to me if they were overweight or unattractive in some other way.
    Some young women don’t care and even feel more comfortable exposing themselves to a man. A young woman (family friend)told my ex-husband that her doctor had an erection after giving her a pelvic exam. My ex-husband covered for the doctor, but told me later that sometimes that happens, just as it happens elsewhere in life when you’re stimulated visually or physically.
    Don’t kid yourselves…a medical degree does not change all the normal urges and reactions.”

    • Mary, great addition to the discussion that reveals a whole new side of the speculum. And great find from the annals of Blogcritics. The patience required to sift through the 177 pages really does pay off with some very revealing information, thanks for sharing this.

    • Greg says:

      You are so right….I worked in the medical field and heard discussions between residents when patients and other nurses were not around. I guess they thought because I was a man that I was ok with it. I forbade my wife from going to anymore male doctors for women issues.

    • Janet says:

      wow Mary, thanks for sharing

  20. Wow. This post keeps showing up in my blog stats. Apparently people end up here a lot, and apparently my own blog post that compares a pelvic exam to rape is linked somewhere above, but frankly I don’t want to get actively involved in the discussion because I think I’ve already described my feelings in great enough detail, and I’d only end up arguing in circles. Some people seem to prefer to put their faith in fallible human beings (“doctors”). Other people (like myself) would rather put their faith in themselves and let nature take its course. Although, I did try to suggest a reasonably respectful compromise between these two extremes at the very end of my blog post.

    But the title of this post is what keeps getting my attention. Why should anyone care what a male doctor thinks about a pelvic exam? He’s not the one being treated like a piece of meat. I don’t care what excuses he thinks he has for his behavior.

    If you convince someone to allow you to disrespect her, it’s wrong. If someone actually asks you to disrespect her, it’s still wrong. There’s no getting around the lack of respect. As far as I’m concerned, there’s pretty much no justification for disrespecting someone’s body. Physical illness be damned. Better to die with respect than to live with disrespect.

  21. What I find odd are the number of “Christians” who I bet put their faith in doctors. Maybe it isn’t clear to many, but in the Christian religion “God” represents nature and spirituality, while “Satan” represents the artificial and materialistic world created by human beings.

    Take as an example when Jesus went into the desert and was tempted by “Satan” to be given all the power and riches in the world. Take as another example the tree of knowledge in the Garden of Eden. Knowledge is what enabled this artificial world we live in right now to be created.

    When you put too much of your faith in the artificial creations of human beings and trust that they will “save” your life, you are basically worshiping “Satan”. I’m an atheist, but the symbolism is clear to me now.

    Remember that he who saves his life will lose it, but he who loses his life will save it.

    • Nichole says:

      I’m a Christian ad I completely agree with you. It’s been very frustrating for me to speak with other Christians about not vaxing, using homeopathy, herbs, etc and they look at me like *I’m* crazy! They definitely rely on doctors over and above God, it’s so sad to see them getting sicker and not realizing it’s time to put the doctor aside and call on God.

  22. 12thhouse says:

    Just wanted to point out that if you’ve had a hysterectomy but still have your cervix you still need regular exams.

    I had a ‘breast exam’ from a chiropractor when I was 18. It was very clear it was not a typical breast exam. I never went to him again. About 10 years later with the self-confidence of a young woman instead of an adolescent, I wrote a letter to the Chiropractic Board knowing statute of limitations was done but said if another woman filed a complaint, I wanted that incident on file. Two more piled up and the investigator said thanks to the objectivity of my letter and the amount of detail, he was able to dis-bar that doctor. The other two men had had affairs with him, clearly I had no personal bone to pick.

    As long as the doctor is practicing its not too late to voice your experience and concern.

    • Elizabeth (Aust) says:

      12thhouse, I couldn’t agree more…one complaint can make all the difference. I know when the Police were investigating a dermatologist here and it received some media coverage, more women came forward….
      Women may walk away from an assault and try and rationalize what just happened or mistakenly believe they’re the only victim of this doctor/nurse etc…how could they take on a specialist? Many probably fear they’d be fobbed off with the, “you must have been mistaken” line. It would be frightening to stand alone and point the finger. These men choose their victims carefully too, looking for those unlikely to challenge them and make a complaint.
      Similar fact evidence is very important…often these assaults follow a pattern, the abuser has a modus operandi. (mode of operation) One complaint can turn into multiple complaints that are all strikingly similar.

      I depart company with you on one point though, no one “needs” regular exams, all cancer screening is elective, to be rejected or accepted as we see fit. I’m not surprised you use that terminology as it’s all women ever hear, we must do this or should do that…I have not had a hysterectomy, but have made an informed decision not to have pap tests and would never allow pelvic or breast exams, thankfully, the last two are no longer recommended here in Australia. (I’d refuse them anyway)
      We have to challenge the “should” and “must” thinking. I think that terminology is used to manipulate our thinking, so in the end we view this testing as compulsory. It’s no longer a choice, an option, but an unwritten law and that’s wrong on every level.

  23. 12thhouse, I am glad that you were able to get something done about that quack, but I find it very, very offensive that you have decided to tell other women that they “need” regular exams. Women don’t “need” any sort of exam. Do not ever presume to tell me, or any other woman what she does or doesn’t “need”.

  24. Anonymous says:

    Don’t know if this topic is still open, but I need to provide my input. I am been in the medical field for over 30 years, the majority of it as a physician’s assistant. I am male. The numbers of perverted males out there doing intimate examinations on women is phenomenal. I have heard stories that make me want to leave the profession. I recall one internal medicine resident who went on to an OB/GYN residency and wrote back to his old friends to say “I’m still not tired of looking at pussy.” I have seen young women forced into unnecessary pelvic exams and leave the room in tears. I knew of an OB/GYN who openly filmed his pelvic exams on young Planned Parenthood patients. When one protested the nurse told her she had signed a permission form in the waiting room that she could be filmed. I have been in an operating room where medical students lined up to examine anesthetized women (I am ashamed to say I was young and naive then and stood by and said nothing; today I would be in the administrative office screaming). I have done many intimate exams on female patients, but only when they were absolutely indicated and with the utmost professionalism and caring. I have three daughters under the age of 20 and would NEVER allow them to be examined by a male provider. I must agree that there are, for lack of a better word, perverts out there with medical licenses who will take advantage of women who were sadly taught that they must succumb to whatever the man in the white coat says. I so admire a woman is able to stand up and say no when being pressured by a doctor to do something she knows isn’t needed. And how my heart aches for those who are too scared to say no.

    • Anonymous, your comment hit home for me at a deep and significant level. I really appreciate you sharing your knowledge on this topic, thank you. Your daughters might not realize it yet, but they are very fortunate to have your experience to help guide and protect them.

  25. Nichole says:

    I am a victim of sexual abuse, every male in my life has taken advantage of me in one way or another, that is, till I met my husband. Having physical exams, pap smears, pelvic exams and breast exams has ALWAYS made me feel violated, I hated it every time I would “need” another one. After reading this I’ve become so enraged, going back in time to each and every exam, from the time I was a child and the doc spread my legs and felt around to “check for proper growth” down there, to the time I was a preteen and the doc made me hop across the room to check breast development, to all the “necessary” pelvic exams as a teenager and every time in between! I was burning with anger, hatred in my heart, the desire to get revenge on these sick sadistic freaks, then I just broke down crying. All my life, the people who are supposed to care about you, do right by you, keep you safe and healthy didn’t. Deep down I always knew this was true, I felt it every time, I feel it now which is why I refuse ANY of that for my own children, but reading this brought up all the trauma and unresolved feelings about it. I was VIOLATED, not once, not twice but over and over again and not just by your average pervert but by doctors too. I refuse this life for my daughters, I refuse it for any other woman, we need to do SOMETHING to stop this type of abuse that goes unnoticed!

  26. Heidi says:

    When I was 18, I had state-funded (welfare) insurance because I was poor and naive. I went to the local clinic and the PA gave me a “full” exam which included him putting one finger in my anus while his other fingers were in my vagina. That was the longest, most uncomfortable and painful exam I ever had. I did not know for many years that I was violated. I was around 30 years old when I realized that there is no “female” exam like that! Now, I am disgusted. Yet, it continues. I had Kaiser insurance for several years and they want me to get a pelvic exam every 3 months. I had two exams scheduled in their “women’s health center” within a month! I canceled that insurance for that reason. My new provider started in again with needing the exams but I refuse to go. If my comment helps anyone, that’s why I’m providing it. What can we do about this abuse ladies?

    • Em says:

      Most of my (female) providers prefer to do a rectovaginal exam (the type you describe and insist does not exist) to more accurately asses the uterus and because they are more likely to pick up on any problems with a more thorough exam.

      There are respectful providers. I have only gone to midwives and others recommended by women I trust. In general this care has been nurturing, helpful and reassuring, since there have been several reproductive cancer deaths in my family – women who did not have access to consistent care.

      I gather no one here knows anyone whose life was saved by the discovery of an abnormality during a pelvic or pap. I do.

      • Em, the role of the bimanual exam (insertion of fingers into the vagina) is to detect ovarian cancer. The role of the rectovaginal exam is less clear, and you will get a different answer depending on which doctor you ask. I have never had a doctor perform a rectovaginal exam on me, but all doctors I have gone to have inserted fingers into my vagina. The bimanual exam has poor specificity and is done differently by different doctors. Research has shown that insertion of fingers into a woman’s vagina has never accurately detected any ovarian abnormality – ever. Please read this article written by three female doctors: http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/pdfplus/10.1089/jwh.2010.2349 You will find the section on bimanual exams on page 7.

      • Heidi says:

        Wow, how wonderful to post something about being violated and then being told that my violation did not happen. I am not insisting that anal exams “does not exist.” I was told this by later providers that it was unnecessary to have an old man’s fingers in my anus when I was 18 and perfectly healthy!!!

        I do know there are respectful providers. I had one midwife for my third child who was incredible. But she could not get an MD to support her, so she was forced out of practice. I have yet to find another MD or a PA who respects their patients. Just last week, I went to my new doctor for a “follow up” appointment to talk about whether the back pain medication he gave me was working. He had a male student in the room and they did another “full” examination of me even though I was just there to say, yep the medicine is working. This exam included both of the men lifting my breasts with their hands simultaneously and placing their stethoscopes under my breasts to listen to my chest. That was another first for me. Sure, they may really want to hear my chest sounds, but you know, I prefer a man buy me a drink first before he grab my breast with his hands without asking and cup it in his fingers for several seconds!!!

        As for your final statement, Em, regarding anyone knowing someone whose life was saved by an abnormal pap. My life exists because I had an abnormal pap that lead to cancer treatment. My grandmother’s life was saved by a hysterectomy. My mother is currently in treatment for cancer of the cervix.

        Thanks for attacking me! Do you know any victims of rape in real life? How about you go mock them and leave me alone!!!

  27. LS says:

    I don’t know that I agree with this — my female doctor (when I was 17 — first time at a gyn) was really rude and insensitive and treated me like I was stupid for asking her questions. It was such a bad experience that I didn’t go back again til now — age 28. My male doctor was done in less than 2 mins (open, pap smear, done) then I made him give me a breast exam also, but he patiently answered all of my questions. Bleh at both of them, but the male was the better of the two for answering my questions.

  28. C. says:

    I really dislike how this guy just generalizes to ALL male doctors, and all men really, based on himself, a few examples, and a sketch little study he set up in his practice. Please. This is a terribly biased post, and should be taken as one person’s perspective.
    I won’t deny, obviously, that some doctors (male or female) may unfairly take advantage of patients, directly or indirectly so. But to say that all do, and male ob/gyns are just there for the thrill, is a gross injustice.

    • FutureDoctor says:

      THANK YOU for saying this! I am currently a medical student and was incredibly off-put with the way that it was generalized to all male Doctors. I’ve seen colleagues (both male and female) put in countless hours of studying and practicing to make sure that they are going to be excellent Doctors in the future. I also have colleagues who are more or less afraid of going into this field for fear of patients who will think that they are trying to take advantage of them (and again, this applies to males AND females). I admit that there are creeps out with blurry intentions, but please PLEASE understand that not ALL male practitioners are the same.

      • Elizabeth (Aust) says:

        For me it’s not a question of a doctor taking advantage, I simply feel more comfortable with female doctors/nurses etc…and I don’t have pap tests, mammograms, pelvic or breast exams. I’m talking about general care. I see my choice of doctor as my business and don’t feel the need to justify my decision to anyone. I find it curious that sometimes a request for a female doctor will be met with, “a nurse will be present” – that misses the point entirely, if I don’t feel comfortable with a male doctor, how does adding another set of eyes help?
        If I ever needed an invasive exam or test for persistent and unusual symptoms, I’d insist on female medical staff. My choice…
        I wouldn’t worry, some men and women prefer same gender care, others don’t mind.

      • Mei says:

        Oh, boohoo, we made you men feel bad and now you’re going ‘wah wah not all men are like that! :(‘
        Knock it off. There are enough of men out there who are predators that we need to assume that almost every man we come across is a predator for our own safety. Change the behaviour and thought processes of all ‘those other men’ so they respect us, and then we’ll stop generalizing.

      • Danielle says:

        -claps

    • Barb says:

      C. I think you missed the point of the study. The Doctor is not stating that all male doctors are taking advantage, rather a man likes to look at attractive naked women and ” doctors are no different”. If your attractive, a man cannot help himself to notice all your attributes. I think all women who are attractive know deep down the doc doesn’t’ mind, ‘at all’, examining and probing your body. To think otherwise is truly naive. But some women with issues rather enjoy the exchange now don’t they. My x- girlfriend admitted that one. Disgusting and completely inappropriate.

  29. LuvscatsVa says:

    I am a female physician myself and these comments are very disturbing to me. I have not personally seen or heard my male colleagues acting in this manner but I believe it. Before medical school I had a bad experience myself in college with a male doctor and since then will only see female doctors for my pelvic exams. I will encourage my daughters to do the same. Like C. Says, I doubt all male doctors are perverts, but I feel more comfortable with someone who at least has the same organs and experiences.

  30. Katherine says:

    After reading all of these stories, I feel so grateful that I’ve had zero experiences like this. Some of these experiences people have had make me want to puke and some make me absolutely furious at the same time. I just want women and teens to know that if your doctor is doing or asking you to do something unnecessary that makes you feel uncomfortable, don’t be afraid to speak up. I’ve had to specifically ask for a female doctor to do my breast exam before when I went in to get a lump checked.
    Given there are probably some great, professional male doctors out there, but in my personal opinion, a man has no right to examine my body and make judgements on it when;
    a. He does not have a vagina or any of the experiences that go along with having one.
    b. He does not know how it feels to lay on a doctor’s chair stark naked with his legs spread wide open for the world to see and poke at.

    I’m deeply sorry for all of the wrongs that have been done to female patients, and I hope sometime in the near future something major is done about it.

  31. Anonymous says:

    i have seen several dr’s, both male and female. i will never again see a female GYN. everyone that i have ever seen has tried up tell me that their experiences were so much worse than mine, and refused to do proper exams on me. the only 2 doctors who did proper exams on me were both male. and thanks to both of them, i was able to have a full hysterectomy that was severely needed. other doctors would tell me that i was “too young” to have the kinds of problems that i had. So while i agree that there may be many male dr’s out there that can’t put aside their proffessionalism to perform necessary medical exams on somebody of the opposite sex (and that goes for both males and females), there are good dr’s out there that can. so while i respect your opinion and your desire to be seen by a dr of the same sex, i do not agree that it should be that way for everyone, and i don’t appreciate the fact that you tell women that they don’t need those exams, and especially by male dr’s. while it may be true that some don’t, it’s also true that some do.

    • Mary says:

      Anon, The fact is the medical journals have found no evidence that routine breast and pelvic exams are of any clinical value. No one here is saying if you find a lump in your breast or you have symptoms that you shouldn’t have an exam. But if you are asymptomatic the exams are of no use. This isn’t opinion, this is the latest medical evidence.
      As for you getting a male doctor perform a hysterectomy- I did come across a study that showed that male doctors are more likely to recommend them than female doctors. However, the study I read inferred that it was not a good thing and it showed that it may have to do with there being more older male doctors who are less up to date with the latest ways to deal with female issues.Personally I find hysterectomies performed on women who do not have cancer are a symptom of a male dominated profession where there is no regard for female reproductive organs and even some misogyny. Doctors do not remove testicles and penises unless there is cancer. Yet womens organs are treated as though they are disposable. I think your female doctors showed some respect for female organs and not something you just throw out.
      The uterus performs many functions besides supporting a fetus. It produces prostacyclin which prevents blood clots sticking to your blood vessels which is why women have an advantage over men with heart disease. It also houses the oxytocin receptors. The same hormones that make your uterus contract during childbirth are the same ones that give you contractions when you orgasm. Taking out a uterus unless absolutely necessary to me indicates ignorance on your doctors part of the other functions that it has. You did not indicate what you issues were but I am sure there were other ways to deal with them than removingthe organ. Symptoms are a sign of a problem. A good doctor tries to fix the problem, not rip out the organ giving you the problem. That’s just an ignorant overreaction.

      • Anonymous says:

        that’s right, you do not know what problems i had. the problem wasn’t that female dr’s i saw refused to take out my uteris, it was that they refused to believe i could have the problems i did. they all said i was too young to be having these problems and comparing my situation to their own, so they refused to even look at any options except throwing more birth control at me. i understand a hysterectomy is an extreme step. but i spent several years trying all the alternative options and things only got worse. since my hysterectomy a month ago, i can tell you i have not had a single problem that i had before, because they were all tied to irreversable problems with my uteris. i have have to respectfully disagree with you that cancer is the only reason to have your uteris removed. i do not reccomend that every woman do it, and i do not reccommend they take that into account lightly. i did not go into making this decision lightly. i had years of tests, and research (not online google searches either). i didn’t do it because it was convenient or because a dr pushed me into it. i did it because, in my case, it was what was needed to be done.

        in my comment, i might not have been clear. i agree that some women may never have any problems and therefore do not need exams. i also agree that there may be some male dr’s that will take advantage of the fact that they “get to” be around that all day. however, what i got from this article was that the author believes women should never been seen by a male dr because all male dr’s are pigs. if you hear of a certain dr that somebody else has had problems with, or even if you get a funny feeling when sitting in the waiting room, by all means, find a different dr! God gave us women’s intuition for a reason. however, there may be women reading this that have had problems, and should get checked out, but will now be too scared to because the only dr’s in their small towns are males. i will say, though, on that note, that any good dr, will always give you the option of having another woman (be it nurse, friend, dr, parent, etc) in the room with you while doing the exam.

      • Mary says:

        Anon, can’t you say what the problem was that you had with your uterus? I am interested to know because I still find it hard to believe that it could only be fixed by a hysterectomy.If your female doctors “threw more birth control pills at you” , then I suspect it was a hormonal issue that should have been fixed by perhaps an endocronologist. From what little information you gave, the physical removal of an organ for what sounds like a hormonal issue is IMO not the appropriate treatment. BTW my mother had a hysterectomy years ago. It brought on many permanent problems that did not appear in the first few years. I hear of too many doctors in the US quick to offer hysterectomy when in other parts of the world it is not nearly so popular.That, to me suggest US doctors are way behind other countries when it comes to fixing women’s health problems. I don’t know if you are in the States, but I would be weary of an American doctor advising a hysterectomy.

      • Elizabeth (Aust) says:

        1 in 3 American women will have a hysterectomy by age 60, 600,000 are performed every year. That’s a very high number, many are unnecessary. We have the reckless overuse of the pap test and huge over-treatment, pressure and coercion to have unnecessary pelvic exams that carry risk, add unhelpful breast exams that lead to biopsies, mammograms that benefit few, but lead to significant over-diagnosis….and women being denied the Pill if they refuse the excess…and a lot more. It shows IMO, a deeply entrenched disrespect for the female body and for women generally…and a cavalier disregard for our health, rights and lives.

  32. Anonymous says:

    I’d hate to accidentally offer to buy one of you ladies a drink….

  33. VS says:

    Wow, this is very disturbing. I had a female GYN from age 18-29 and she INSISTED I get annual paps and pelvic exams or she would refuse to give me birth control. She would not budge on this, even though I have been monogamous since 16 and have never had a STD or any suspicious results. I just see my general practitioner now since I have permanent birth control and she is fine with me going 3 years and declining them all together if I prefer (however she doesn’t have the option to threaten to withhold my BC)

    My OB was a gay male. I was very comfortable with him. And honestly I realize people are only human, it’s not wrong to look or to be mildly aroused by what you see, but how you handle that is what matters, you need to stay professional at all times including when talking with other doctors

  34. Abigail says:

    Glad to hear as a woman I can’t even get a test done without being sexualized.

    Awesome.

  35. JudyC says:

    I remember when I was 20, not long married and very naive (40 yrs ago) and pregnant my husband wanted the best for me and sent me to an OBGYN for antenatal care. He was just a dirty old man. Each visit he had me strip off and up on the couch and did a pelvic exam. I knew no better. I just felt terrible about it. I was so glad when we moved away from that town to another and the did didn’t do anything like that. I had to wait for ages in the Dr office onetime and I noticed he had a paper on his desk with a list of the OBGYN in the state. I had time to check it to see if the dirty old man was on it. He was. I eventually became a midwife and then I knew just what a dirty old man he was. Yuk.

  36. Nicole says:

    Do you ask your doctor what their sexual preferences are? What if your female doctor is gay or bisexual, isn’t that the same as having a heterosexual man performing the exam? Of course the choice is yours! Personally I prefer male doctors because women always pamper me and that makes me uncomfortable. But I think it’s wrong to judge all male doctors just because they are male!

    • nnnnnnno says:

      No. It’s not the same.

      • Elizabeth (Aust) says:

        I agree nnnno, it comes down to patient comfort, (fear of assault, embarrassment, power dynamic etc.) there should be no need to justify our preference for a female or male doctor, it’s a personal decision that’s our business. I well recall the days when women were mocked if they mentioned their preference for a female doctor or they were patronized/dismissed by medical people. (or their receptionists)
        So IMO, if a women (or man) is uncomfortable with a male/female doctor, then they can judge all they like, and use the doctor of their choice. In the provision of a service, I’m free to choose the person who provides the best fit, whether that be a doctor, dentist, accountant or anyone else.
        The profession needs to be reminded some women (and men) mind very much, that’s a fact, and it’s inappropriate to judge, challenge, mock or engage in debate.

        Nicole, you prefer male doctors, so be it, your choice, but then aren’t you doing the very thing you’re criticizing others for: judging all female doctors, assuming all will pamper you? If you’re saying it’s wrong to judge all male doctors just because they’re male, isn’t it equally wrong to judge all female doctors because they’re female? Surely your point would be best made by having NO preference at all, male or female doctors are fine for anything.
        Of course, when you read through this and other forums, I can’t help but think a lot of the trauma might have been avoided if these women had opted for a female doctor or had that choice. Often it only becomes an issue after our eyes are open and we’re suffered abuse. The greatest risk is when we’re young and that’s often a time when we’re most vulnerable. (less confident, more likely to be intimidated by doctors and others, less life experience, more likely to use free clinics/unknown doctors, need birth control (that consult can trigger abuse) childbirth etc.)
        I was aware some doctors were predators at an early age and avoided doctors altogether, now I simply feel more comfortable with female doctors, my choice…and I also, happen to have a female dentist and accountant. It’s telling that no one thinks it’s odd having a female dentist or anything else, but some feel the need to scoff at the preference of a female doctor, I see that as their problem, not mine.

      • Alex says:

        If the woman is lesbain or bi, I figure it’s the same as far as gratification goes. It’s still an attack to impose these things on someone, whether the assailant gets any form of gratification from it or not.

        I don’t personally figure any male gets into this profession for non-pervy reasons. I know that’s judging them all the same way, but they didn’t accidentally get into this profession. Men also tend to be more confrontational in their style (although the women learn the same thing or were already that way to begin with).

  37. Kyle says:

    I’m a Doctor from Australia, not yet specialised, only a couple of years out of medical school in fact and I just can’t believe this article. Maybe it’s a generational thing. Maybe the original author has issues and so is projecting them onto people around him but this just doesn’t match my experience.

    I’ve never enjoyed doing a pelvic exam on anybody and I’ve never met anybody who has. I’ve certainly never been in any setting where I’ve discussed a pelvic exam socially or conversationally for any reason or where any other doctor has done so, even though I’m a bit of a fixture in the rec room. I also can’t imagine that if anybody tried to discuss one that the other doctors I know would think it was acceptable.

    To be honest I don’t do many pelvic exams in hospital or on GP (family doctor) rotations, probably only one a month or so averaged out, and not many of those on young women. Breast exams tend to be limited to woman who’ve felt a lump so they’re understandably very scared and the situation is very serious, I’ve never seen one done or heard of an actual case of one been done without justification (except on one famous American TV drama).

    The truth is that what’s described in the author’s post just doesn’t wash with what I’ve seen, or my personal experience. I’m not sure if it’s a cultural difference between generations, or a cultural difference between countries, or if he’s just a sicko and projecting onto those around him, but it’s not my experience at all!

    • Mary says:

      Kyle I definitely think it’s a generational thing. I have found older male doctors to be so utterly arrogant that I just cannot bear to be in the same room as them. Their sense of entitlement, the lack of respect for modesty. I don’t think any of that was taught in medical school years ago. My mothers generation were treated like pieces of meat. I know some that had to give birth to a room full of medical students without their permission and I know one whose vagina was used for teaching purposes, again to a group of male medical students, when she was in hospital for something totally unrelated without her permission. This happen over 40 years ago and she is still traumatised to this day. A complaint to the hospital resulted in her being banned.
      As for breast exams I have had to endure one everytime I went to the Family Planning clinics along with my forced pap smears. They would make you have one if you wanted the pill. I didnt know that I could refuse because they used to tell us we wouldnt get the pill without one. All lies of course.
      Once I asked my male GP for the pill. Big mistake. He tried to persuade me to try something else. I refused as I am not keen on having foreign objects in my body. He got angry and only gave me three months supply and told me I was having a breast exam at my next visit.
      As I said in my other post male doctors have some real problems with women making up their own minds. I would like to find a new young doctor but I don’t know where they are.

    • F.L. says:

      Appreciate your input Kyle and glad to hear that your experience is different. That said, the problem is that you may not be representative, and even a small number of people with dangerous attitudes can do a lot of harm if they are enabled by the system they are part of. Women are continually placed at risk of many negative outcomes due to a culture of ignorance and a continuing use of self-serving denial by those within the profession. The posts on this and other blogs provide lots of evidence that very bad things happen to women as a result of a paternalistic system that enables the harmful practices. The following comment about systemic factors that enable harmful practices is from
      http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/critical-decisions/201208/inappropriate-touching-in-the-doctor-s-office/comments#comment-250527
      It would be progressive if all physicians took seriously the information on this and similar sites and started to be part of a solution rather than continuing to deny, minimize, or reject the knowledge, expertise and lived experience of those who have spoken about the harmful practices.
      Abuse may be encouraged by the system
      Submitted by john davies on August 31, 2012 – 7:57am.

      “When the ‘pill’ (oral contraceptive) was first widely available in the 1970s, the drug companies crafted guidelines for its prescription that justified a prolonged sexual assault for any male doctor that wished to take advantage. It was common for females wanting the pill (some of whom were children, requiring it for non-sexual reasons), to be forced to do a striptease in front of the doctor, and then, when naked, have their breasts groped for an extended period.

      The drug guidelines allowed just about every form of touching and questioning a perverted doctor could wish for, and what’s more, the same was allowed every few months when the prescription was renewed.

      Did every doctor use the opportunity of the pill to abuse their patients? Of course not. But, remember, the pill, which was not ‘medicine’ treating an illness, was required by very many extremely healthy young women at the beginning of their sexual life- and this was putting temptation beyond compare in front of a generation of male doctors.

      In many European countries, this practice continues, where women are expected to strip naked in front of the male doctor, and stay fully naked, even for questioning and exam stages that require no bodily access at all. This process, while a treat for some bad doctors, is designed to make people submissive and pliable to ‘authority’, which is why the more forceful populations of English-speaking nations no longer tolerate this behaviour by doctors.

      The intimate medical inspection of any Human beyond early childhood is very controversial if that inspection is done to a person without any previous signs of disease or injury. Certainly, the examination of the external genitalia of patients who did not previously suggest they thought they had a problem there is almost always going to be abusive, and without medical validity. When doctors got to grope every single young adult that was forced to appear before them (with no medical justification at all- which is why such school exams no longer occur in countries like the UK), latent abusive tendencies were bound to be activated in a significant proportion of doctors.

      When doctors are told they are allowed to touch the clitoris of a female, or the penis of a male, or ask intimate sexual questions (obviously in situations where the patient has not previously suggested a problem in those areas), the doctor is being programmed to be abusive. Add to this the fact that doctors are clever enough to be extremely manipulative, if they so wish, and are protected against legal action by a raft of extremely powerful and influential professional bodies, and you craft a nightmare.

      Go read about the Mormon doctor who spent a whole career abusing a town of victims, from young children to the oldest women. Go read about one of the highest men in Australia’s medical community, who made a speciality of subjecting young, attractive flight-stewardesses to prolonged sexual assault in the name of a regular medical inspection.

      The common pattern is the abuse of patients who are not appearing in front of the doctor because of illness, but because of some required inspection. Indeed, most claims of abuse are against doctors who only see the patient once, because of some required work-place or insurance medical inspection.”

      • Elizabeth (Aust) says:

        FL, an excellent post. (how did I miss it?)
        I often wondered (at age 18 or so) why women were forced to submit to an assault to get the Pill, so many of my Uni friends were distressed by those exams, some couldn’t do it and managed with condoms, others took the “sophisticated woman” approach…I’m mature and can cope with all of this, whether that was true deep down, I’m not so sure.
        I KNEW those exams were unnecessary.

        It shows how a male dominated medical profession will take advantage in the worst possible way when the system provides the perfect opportunity. Many could tell themselves they were just following clinical guidelines, knowing full well there was absolutely no clinical need for these “exams”.

        I know these practices were abusive.
        I noticed very early on that some women who might not be considered attractive, got the pill with no fuss at all, a quick blood pressure test, while the attractive ones got the works. There is no doubt in my mind these women were being assaulted and the system enabled it and protected their abusers.
        One girl with a weight problem and bad acne got the Pill for many years with just a blood pressure test, nothing else, but the SAME male doctor had very different requirements for several other girls staying in the same College. (women do talk and compare notes)
        Of course, many women felt trapped if they wanted the Pill, and there were very few female doctors in the late 70s.

        Some women were also, scolded about their morals (pre-marital sex) and even questioned about sexual practices. One of my friends (a virgin) was questioned about her sex life in general consults, she found it puzzling, I felt he was waiting for her to ask for the Pill or admit she was sexually active so he could force the exams onto her, although some women got pap tests even before they were sexually active. IMO, some doctors simply couldn’t wait with that sort of temptation in front of them. (of course, they could cover their tracks by simply saying, “I thought she was lying”…) I think some doctors got a kick out of simply questioning young women about sexual matters and even enjoyed the tussle of wills leading up to reluctant young woman submitting to the “exam”, his power had won the day. Remember sexual assault is mostly about power.

        What chance did young women have who simply wanted to get medical care or the Pill? Not having access to the Pill must lead to unwanted pregnancies, so I assume some of these women were later abused when they needed pre-natal care or during childbirth, the system of abuse eventually got them.
        It’s interesting when women get talking, the accounts spill out…so much trauma is still so raw, even after the passage of decades. It was painful even when they thought it was necessary, horrifying to find out it was unnecessary.

      • ColeyX says:

        ‘Go read about one of the highest men in Australia’s medical community, who made a speciality of subjecting young, attractive flight-stewardesses to prolonged sexual assault in the name of a regular medical inspection.’

        Hi, does anyone have more information about this case?

        I tried looking on Google but I can’t find anything about it. xx

  38. Mary says:

    No Nicole, having a gay or bisexual female doctors is not the same at all. I’m sure I’ve had lesbian doctors do exams on me. It hasn’t bothered me at all.
    It just that everytime I read a story in a newspaper about sexual or some other kind of professsional misconduct it seems to be committed by a man. There’s even a book called America’s dumbest doctors full of stories of some unebelieveable crimes committed by doctors and about 90% of them are commiteed by male doctors. The authors even say they tried looking for more crimes committed by female doctors but they just couldn’t find that many. So I think the prudent thing to do is to hedge your bets and stick with a female.
    BTW I have probably dealt with more male doctors than female and I find the same problem with all of them. They will give a choice of some treatment and if I don’t pick the one they want me to have they try to persuade me. They seem to not like me making my own decisions. I have never had that problem with female doctors- they have always respected my choices. With some male doctors I’ve had to resort to yelling at them because they don’t listen. I think some of them have issues with women having a mind of their own.

    • Nicole says:

      Well I feel sorry for you, in Sweden men aren’t afraid of women maybe that’s why I have no problem with a male doctor. Mind if I ask if you would go to a gay male doctor. And I don’t appreciate the fact that you seem to tell me to reconsider my choice and want me to go to a female doctor. I’m perfectly capable of making my own decision!

      • Mary says:

        Do what ever you like Nicole. I don’t tell others what to do.It’s only my experience. I probably wouldn’t go to a gay male doctor. Only because I have worked with gay men and I found a lot of them thought women’s bodies to be repulsive. I would hate to think that a gay male doctor is repulsed by me.

      • Anonymous says:

        You are honestly an [word removed by moderator].

      • Mary says:

        Can you explain your reaction? I was asked a question and gave an honest answer. You gave, I assume, some abuse without any reason why you think it was justified. Add something intelligent instead of insults. It only reflects on you. I don’t see what wrong with my answer. I used to hear gay men say “yuk, women” around me. So why would I want to go to a gay male doctor and think of that at the back of my mind? (And I don’t have a problem with gay men, my best friend was gay). My answer is justifed. Not only do gay male doctors not have the plumbing, but they don’t even have a female partner with whom they might be able to share experiences with such as pregnancy or period pain.
        One again say something intelligent instead of hurling insults and add to the discussion, if you can.

      • C0 says:

        I think anon was responding to Nicole, because otherwise it’d be nested under your comment.

      • Yazzmyne says:

        It’s obvious that the gender and sexual orientation of gynecologists does play a role in how they view women’s genitals because I too have heard of a male gay gynecologist while defending the argument that ‘not all male gyns are in the business for the sexual thrill’ because he is gay, he couldn’t help but inform us that a lot of vagina’s he had to examine, were just ‘yuck’. So if a gay man naturally finds vagina’s disgusting, is it that far a stretch to believe that a heterosexual male dr may enjoy examining a woman’s genitals? And being turned off or on by the sight of vagina’s is also proof that they aren’t so objective about it as they want us to believe. I’m sure most heterosexual gyns aren’t scared of women either regardless of the country they are in.. especially not when she does what he wants and he’s standing fully clothed in between her legs while she is buttnaked..

  39. Lexie, would you be able to re post your comment without the Gravatar picture of naked breasts in it? Thanks, Sue

    • pet lexie says:

      I am not retyping all that out, and frankly I find it EXTREMELY offensive that you would ask me to change my Gravatar image, and even if I did change it to post here the min I changed it back it would have changed here. I have used that account to respond on about 50 different forums and have never in the 6 years I have been using it been asked that and when someone once asked me about why I use it I inform them it was an image created by a great friend of mine who suddenly passed away of a heart attack due to the neglect in the American medical system for those that can’t pay their exorbitant rates. Also by asking me to do that you are not being any different than the dr’s you are writing about because you are sexualizing a body part just as they are but instead of being under cover about it you are publicly turning breasts into a dirty thing rather than the way I nourished my daughter.
      I logged in from a different account to respond to this and would have taken it up with your privately if I could have found a link to e-mail you. This is one blog I won’t be recommending or reading again.
      Lexie

      • Pet lexie, I apologize for offending you as that was not my intention. The breasts in the picture were beautiful, and yes certainly for nourishing an infant the way nature intended. It was more that, given the topic, well I did just think the two shouldn’t be put together, naked breasts and speculum pictures. In any event, I am sorry for offending you and I appreciate you commenting here.

  40. HippieMaMa says:

    As a woman who was sexually molested by a Doctor at the age of 5, this article was hard to read…even got hot flashes and dizzy… But this is what I have always been afraid of… Ever since I had an Un-gloved pelvic exam during my kindergarten physical… I’m so disturbed by this…

  41. Jen says:

    I’m 26 and my obgyn informed me that I need to have to still have it done every year even though I had a hysterectomy. But he is also very inappropriate in sooo many ways, he even offered to “help me out” with a sexual problem I was having. He is no longer my obgyn. I see a woman now, mainly because I blame him for needing the hysterectomy in the first place. I have 3 friends that also stopped going to him because they thought he was a pervert. He is very attractive too so I think it gets away with it a lot because of that. I had been seeing that obgyn since I was 18.

  42. Lisa says:

    Thank you for writing this! Who is its author?

  43. Anonymous says:

    This is bullshit!

  44. Kleigh says:

    Doctors can not legaly refuse woman the pill untill she has an pap smear or pelvic exam. there is a Harvard law student. Heather Dixon that wrote a paper on how the pelvic exam requerment for the pill is not legal. for one it prevents the womans right to bodily privacy. and prevents informed concent.

  45. Valkyria says:

    I wasn’t ready for my first pelvic exam. I was 15 or 16 and throwing up bile on my period, so my mom took me to her OB/GYN. She (the OB/GYN) dismissed my mother’s concern that I had PCOS (I’m pretty sure I do), and told me I needed a pelvic exam ‘to make sure I don’t have two vaginas or anything’.

    I said that I didn’t want it, but was made to do it anyway. When I told the OB/GYN I hated using tampons, she reacted oddly. I think she thought I was molested or something I don’t even know. I wasn’t used to having things up there, so I didn’t use tampons. But I had to endure the pelvic exam, a completely foreign and uncomfortable experience. I didn’t like the OB/GYN’s finger up there, nor the metal thing she put there as well. As someone who’d only used tampons once because they felt weird, this felt very invasive.

    I didn’t like it and I felt weird down there for a long time afterwards. I cried the entire drive home because it felt weird and hurt.

    Thankfully I switched ob/gyns and am very comfterable with my current one. I guess I’m a bit overdue for my obligatory ’21 years old get a pap smear’ pap smear, but I hope it’ll go okay.

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  47. Anonymous says:

    No one is obligated to have a pap smear. any doctor that told you that is lieing.

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  49. Patti says:

    I am not sure what to make of this article. I think it casts a broad brush on the profession. I had my first Pelvic exam when I was 16 – went all by myself with a forged note from my mom because she was not really interested in taking care of me. The GYN was a really nice lady, the procedure was uncomfortable and I still think it was necessary. I had other GYNs at Planned Parenthood through my teens and twentys until I could get insurance. None of the experiences made me feel violated, and I had been sexually assaulted in the past so let’s just get that question out of the way. I do not question the experiences of any of the commenters, I just have concerns with the author’s quick call to judgement of all male ob/GYNs as perverts. The OB/Gyn practice where I went with both of my children was ran by two male docs and they could not have been any better. They were professional and courteous and always had a nurse in the room with them if my husband could not make the visit. Maybe I am just lucky but I think there are just as many compassionate, caring non-perverted male doctors as female. IMHO.

  50. CCCC says:

    My mom had a hysterectomy in her 30′s, and in her 50s got cervical cancer. it was caught and taken care of, idk if it was because she got regular pap smears (idk if she does, is what Im saying) or if she noticed symptoms and got it checked out, but isn’t that a reason to get checked regularly? especially for someone related to someone with cervical cancer.

    granted, i would much rather have regular checkups with a women than a man

    • Diane (US) says:

      Cervical cancer is a rare cancer. It is less common than cancer of the ovaries, kidneys, pancreas. Less common than lymphoma. It doesn’t even scratch the top 10 most common cancers. Do you get checked for all of those?

      There are also ways to screen for cervical cancer that are more sensitive, more accurate and less invasive than paps – for instance, the CSA blood test, if you have a family history or are truly worried about this rare cancer.

  51. Jasmine says:

    I was violated by a WOMAN doctor. I was in my teens and had to go for regular pap smears because I was misdiagnosed as having PCOS. I was already uncomfortable with the idea of having one but she made it worse because she was so cold. After becoming visibly frustrated with me because I was so uncomfortable, she accused me of not being able to go through with the exam because “I must have been sexually abused in the past.” Which I most certainly have not. As a matter of fact, the closest I have every been to someone sexually abusing me was that day, in that exam room with her. A couple weeks later, I got a letter in the mail stating that she would have to drop me from her care and I would need to find a new doctor. I was so traumatized by that experience, it took my new doctor YEARS to get me comfortable with her. But she was kind and patient and I don’t fear those exams anymore.

    • Anonymous says:

      My god, that sounds almost exactly like what happened to me. I was forced into my first pelvic/pap because I wanted to be on birth control, and they refused it to me unless I complied. I was literally bawling on the exam room table while she did the procedure. Then she and the nurse left so I could ‘compose’ myself and I pulled on my clothing as fast as I could, feeling utterly and totally violated. The Dr. said I should get counseling for previous abuse, gave me my prescription, and sent me on my way. Later I got a letter saying I was no longer welcome.
      This was over eight years ago and I’m still bothered by it.

      • justoneguy says:

        It sounds as though you never said a word to them about any history of abuse, but then your rights were abused (clearly coerced you into the test), you were emotionally and physically abused (continuing the exam while you are crying, assuming you need counseling for past abuse), and then they added further abuse by sending you letter denying you health care. No wonder that you are still bothered by it eight years later.

  52. Greg says:

    My wife worked in a clinic around male residents. When she was pregnant we told her male OB/GYN we did not want any residents present or involved because of her working relationship. When she was in the hospital prior to childbirth a resident showed up and said he had to examine her. He explained that this was necessary. I was livid. We eventually capitulated but I was suspicious as well as upset. This resident worked in the clinic. This so called christian resident ended up getting a female resident pregnant and then would not even talk to her. I also worked in surgery and witnessed a resident get an erection putting a body cast on a 15 year old girl. Not all doctors are dirty but there are plenty that are. I would recommend women not marry a doctor. Their ego is such that they feel they can hit on any nurse and get away with it. One orthopedic resident took nude pictures of his conquest at medical conferences. Little did he know his wife found the pictures. She was waiting until his residency was done before divorcing him. That way she could insure he paid heavily for his transgressions. I suggest all women go to female doctors. Men are men, whether they are doctors or cops. They all have sexual thoughts…Period!

  53. Greg says:

    One other thing. One of the PA’s in town is known for telling the girls needing sports exams that they need PAP smears. Mothers, you better be going with your daughters to make sure this kind of thing isn’t happening to your daughters.

  54. Carol says:

    When I was 21 years old, I had a large cyst on my ovary. I had it surgically removed and my GYN wanted to see me every 6 months. Due to the insurance I had, anything more than 1 visit to the GYN a year required a referral.. I called my primary care physician for that referral. I was told that they wouldn’t give me a referral as they could do the exam in their office. Well, I had been seeing that doctor since I was 10 and didn’t feel comfortable with him examining my private areas.. He’d already seen everything else on me, but he didn’t need to see that… I pushed for the referral and wore them down until they finally agreed to give me one… The day of my GYN appointment, I went and picked up the referral and happily went on my way to my appt… When I got there, the office staff informed me that my referral wasn’t signed by the Dr. therefore wasn’t valid… So, I take myself back to my primary Dr. and was promptly informed that he would not sign it since he could do the exam himself…. Well, I’m not one to take crap from anyone (especially when I was 21).. He came out to talk to me and informed me that it would be unethical for him to refer me to a “specialist” when he could perform the exam… He pretty much eluded that it would be insurance fraud.. I proceeded to inform HIM that I wasn’t comfortable with him examining me in such a way.. I have known him since childhood and didn’t want him looking down there… He absolutely refused to cooperate with me and we ended up yelling at eachother in the waiting room.. I pretty much told him to Kiss off (not so nicely) and walked out. I never went back to him… A few years ago I went to a dermatologist and guess who is working in the office… My old primary care physician… I really wanted to say something to him… Now that I’m 44, I really now understand how wrong he was… That was pretty much sexual harrassment and he really shouldn’t be allowed to perform gynelogical exams… There is something very wrong with a Dr who insists on performing an exam that the patient is clearly uncomfortable with… As soon as they see the discomfort, they should OFFER to refer the patient….

  55. Mandy says:

    I have only had two pelvic exams, one at 17 and one at 20, both times for birth control. I have always had a female doctor because I was FAR to shy to even think about having a male do it and my first one was about as fine as a pelvic exam could be. The doctor allowed my mother to stay in the room, she talked me through everything and she made sure I was comfortable with ANYTHING that she did before she did it.

    I went back to her for a year later to refill my birth control prescription but she told me that someone my age did not need to have one every year, but every other year, so she didn’t do the pelvic exam but gave my prescription.

    When I moved to Arizona I had to change doctors and I was sent to Women’s Health to get my new birth control. I had my husband come along because I was of course very nervous but again I had a female doctor. She asked me when my last pelvic exam was and I explained to her that it had been over a year and what my previous doctor had said. She called us both crazy! A few minutes later I was in a paper gown and she had shooed my husband out of the room. She did not talk to me though the entire thing, it all happened so fast and it hurt way more than my first one. She also started doing a breast exam that was NEVER mentioned. It made me uncomfortable and nervous but since she was a female doctor I did not say anything.

  56. Lauren says:

    When I was about 13 I getting a chest x-ray, which I had gotten done before. This time the doctor was a man. I purposely did not wear any metal, and I told him that. He asked me to take of my shirt anyway, and I did. Then he said take off your bra (a sports bra with no underwire/metal), and I told him no, because I’d never needed to before. He kept insisting that I need to take off my sports bra and I said no, so I went out and got my mom, and he finally told me I could keep my bra on. Does anyone know if that was normal? I generally trust my gut in those situations and it didn’t see right to me. I’m 16 now, and haven’t had any pelvic or breast exams yet, but I know I will never let a male doctor perform one on me.

    • Carol says:

      Lauren, that is not normal. There was no reason for him to insist for you to take off your bra.. I would suggest that your mom always be present for any exam… Anytime my kids have had xrays, I’m in the room.. Behind a wall of glass, but in the room watching everything… I’m so sorry you had to experience that!

  57. Caitlyn Cavanaugh says:

    Reblogged this on Ricky Still Loves Lulu and commented:
    Me oh my this is disconcerting. I recently had to have a lady-parts procedure (I honestly can’t remember what it was called). It was traumatizing for a number of reasons, from the nurse vacantly staring at me pre-procedure and saying, “Well, since your pap came back kind of abnormal you have HPV” (this is without looking at any of my test results), to having a male gynecologist who, upon completing the exam, rather than telling me I could sit up, just leaned forward and offered me his hand. It didn’t help that he insisted on talking about the circus the whole time he was down there, either. I’ve never been comfortable with male gynecologists, and it’s a prejudice I’m comfortable hanging onto.

  58. Kara Dennison says:

    I’m 32 and had a hysterectomy last October for stage IV endometriosis. I go to an all-female clinic and they told me right off that pap smears are a non-issue for me. That said, I’m glad to know about this in case for some reason I have to switch, and it sheds some light on previous (male) gynecologists who did a lot of exams while completely missing cysts and tumors that were slowly killing me. My actual surgeon, a gynecological oncologist, was male, but deferred to my actual gynecologist (female) for exams and ultrasounds, and I think he did a grand total of one pelvic post-surgery to make sure the stitches were healing and then he sent me on my way. There are ethical male gynecologists out there. I’m just sad that this seems to be the exception rather than the rule.

  59. Stephen says:

    Same old same old. There is a consistent pattern with these stories–they are all very similar, i.e. a young woman goes to the doctor because of a sore throat or because she needs the pill, and the male doctor insists on giving her a pelvic exam, and if she refuses, the doctor gets defensive.

    The problem is that people are like sheep. We are trained since childhood to just go along with whatever is popular and acceptable. For so long the media has told women that they HAVE to submit to these invasive exams. Doctors simply cannot tolerate people questioning them with critical thinking. They hate people thinking for themselves.

    There is no question that many male doctors find it a turn on examining attractive women. To pretend otherwise is ludicrous. The thing that angers me is the idea that women HAVE to submit. These exams MUST be done; if not, the woman might die. It’s all scare mongering. I really wish people would come out of their trance and think for themselves. We don’t have to do ANYTHING. It’s our bodies. Stop being sheep and do your own research. There isn’t a single shred of evidence that pap smears save lives. It’s all down to brainwashing.

    • C0 says:

      Ugh wtf is with the posts that deride and blame AFAB people, after being culturally raised as women, for feeling pressure to defer to men in positions of authority? Fuck off with your “sheep, do some research and have some guts to think for yourself” issue. People who are AFAB and perceived as women are not to blame for growing up and existing in a patriarchy. You’re clueless if you think no woman has ever doubted and blamed themself for situations like those just discussed. If you’re really so interested in preventing the encroachment on the autonomy of people who are perceived as women, direct your energy towards those at the top of the hierarchy and with the most power. Fuck yourself for victim-blaming.

      • Stephen says:

        CO, your anger prevented you from understanding my point. I never once said that women are to be blamed for their own assault, you [word removed by moderator]. I said that people are like sheep because they, male and female, are trained since childhood to trust other people instead of thinking for themselves. Now that we have the internet, we have no excuse for ignorance. The medical profession knows that they can brainwash BOTH men and women through the media.

        That was my point, yet you overreacted like a typical hateful feminist. In future please pay attention to what people say before you reply in anger.

      • C0 says:

        Lmao, “dumb cunt.” You’re definitely enlightened and above all the sheep and brainwashed zombies, little boy.

        Listen to you. You don’t even understand what you even wrote. Telling people that due to some personal failure of not being informed enough and not thinking for themselves is the reason why they were assaulted is BLAMING THEM.

        Not everyone has access to the internet, you overprivileged [word removed].

        What the fuck does it matter how “ignorant” someone is or not? They never should be and never deserve to be assaulted. It’s fucking irrelevant.

        Btw quit derailing with tone policing, you tiresome, clueless piece of [word removed].

      • Stephen says:

        This comment has been removed.

      • JudyC says:

        Stephen, your point would be more valid if you did not use bad language to get it across.

      • C0 says:

        Damn dude, are you 14 years old and just realized that your parents’ vision of the world isn’t the only interpretation there is? You burst in here whining about sheeple and trances and checked back to see if people were impressed that you finally discovered the concept of social constructs and that sometimes people lie for money.

        Listen, if you love misogyny and hate feminism so much, what the fuck are you doing here?

        lol, did you even read my replies? If you don’t understand what the fuck I’m saying, don’t fucking reply. There’s a shit ton of sexism and feminism 101 resources out there, and check out racism 101 for intersectionality. If you ever become sincere in learning how to be a decent person instead of getting all ~emotional about being infested with ego, someday you’ll thank me for putting you in your place with my diamond-grade cunt.

        We all gotta start somewhere, and some of us start out as a pimple on king kong’s balls.

      • Claire-Louise says:

        Perhaps so many feminists are “hateful” because they get told things like their emotions are making them incapable of comprehending what’s being said, rather than being a valid response to it.

    • Maria KT says:

      I see this as a very valid point and not as victim-blaming. Stephen has put just as much responsibility on doctors as he has on the patients in his comment.

      • C0 says:

        It is never the patient’s responsibility to prevent their own assault.

        Check how anesthesized patients were used as teaching tools for vaginal exams without their consent. No matter how informed and assertive they were, how could they have prevented that from happening?

        Stephen’s line of thinking deflects from the root of the problem and focusses only on the symptoms.

        It’s one thing to decrease your chances of being assaulted or the victim of some other crime as much as you personally can, but it’s completely another to say it is your own fault for not being informed and for being a ~sheep.

        The only way to eliminate misogynistic assault is if abusers did not assault anyone in the first place. These fuckers need to be shamed and outed by their fellow male colleagues.

      • A says:

        In the world we live in we HAVE to stand up for ourselves. Of course this can’t be done ALL of the time. But when we fail to educate ourselves and take a stand for our rights then people WILL take advantage of us. That is the world we live in. It would be great if the world wasn’t like that. It would be amazing to know that everyone we come in contact with are genuinely concerned about us and had our best interests at heart. That’s a world where all of us want to live. I understand Stephens point though. I don’t believe he was saying it’s the abused fault that they “allowed” themselves to be taken advantage of but that is how you took it. Although I’m thinking, It’s probably how you’ll take my comment too.

        It’s true that (especially with Women) we have been taught to support the men in our lives and through out history to not question but to be submissive. That is the point Stephen was making. We live in an age (or at least culture) where we can step outside of that box now. If we want the world to change, if we want to be treated better then we have to unite, educate and demand the change. A form like this helps us get there.

      • C0 says:

        I don’t argue that people should not stand up for themselves. \

        “We HAVE to stand up for ourselves … [if not,] then people WILL take advantage of us” does imply that if someone fails to “stand up” for themselves (which in itself can be problematic- I’ll get to this) then they are at least partly responsible for being taken advantage of. The implication is that if only they had been educated… if only they had spoken up… if only they hadn’t been too afraid, too frozen, too shocked… then they wouldn’t have been abused.

        Even if someone does “stand up” for themselves, the potential for abuse is still there. Sometimes, depending on the situation, people may not be willing to retaliate against their abuser for fear of worsening the situation (further physical attack, death, etc). What if the victim is underage? What if English is their second language? What if they are an undocumented immigrant? Etc.. there are many reasons why someone may not choose not to “defend” themselves.

        I find the discussion of people “standing up” for themselves problematic because the goal posts are easily moved. How much is enough? If someone does their research and is attacked, did they not do enough research? If someone was assertive and attacked, were they not assertive enough? I don’t think this kind of discussion is productive because it shifts attention to what the victim did or did not do to to bring the attack upon themselves (I know you don’t see your own argument that way, but what else is the point of talking about what a victim should or shouldn’t do, “or else”?) instead of highlighting the abuser’s behavior, tactics, responsibility, etc..

        Again, I am not arguing against people learning how to defend themselves. I agree that it would be beneficial if people learn about what abuse is, their rights in the medical setting, their right to autonomy, common tactics of abusers, because this is the kind of world we live in. BUT. If they do not, then I don’t think they should ever be shamed for it.

        Because it very much simplifies the variety of experiences an abuse survivor may have, or come from.

        It also implies that abuse is so easily AVOIDED- again, the emphasis being on the responsibility of the abused- rather than examining WHY there is this pattern of men abusing perceived women.

        I also disagree on your separate comment, http://forwomenseyesonly.com/2012/09/09/the-other-side-of-the-speculum-a-male-doctors-point-of-view/comment-page-1/#comment-2879

        Not only is it tone-policing, but it sets up a false equivalency. Someone in a privileged position abusing the marginalized holds the weight of the status quo behind them. Moreover, I don’t represent you. I only represent myself. Because women are not a monolith. Someone who would use me as a “representative” of “all women” (please, as if they would really define that as anything other than “white, cis women”) is a fool in any case.

  60. Karen says:

    When I was a minor (16) my doctor, male, sent me to his friend who was a doctor to have a transvaginal ultrasound to prove that I had a genetic disorder. I didn’t know enough to question the logic.

  61. kriss says:

    I am currently a college student studying biology and am planning on being a doctor – quite possibly an OB/GYN. I am deeply interested in the field and don’t think I would ever conciously take advantage of my position of control over any patients, but it definitely scares me that some doctor’s might and do. I have never felt overly uncomfortable or taken advantage of in a doctor’s care but that could be partially because I grew up in the military health system and haven’t needed a gyno visit yet. I definitely will keep this in the back of my mind as I continue my education and eventually pursue my MD. I think that if you have the time and opportunity to choose your own doctor’s definitely educate yourself and find one you can be comfortable with – I have heard plenty of women who are happy with their male OB/GYNs and I assume they would never suggest I talk to them, because of my interests, if they weren’t professional about exams or anything else. Don’t jump to conclusions, but be confident if you are uncomfortable or feel the need to seek a second opinion. Sadly it seems a lot of people get stuck because of insurance issues and such… Someday I hope that I can be a female OB/GYN and provide many women with peace of mind and relief in a stressful and vulnerable position.

  62. monica says:

    When I was 17 I had my first pap smear done by a woman doctor. She had her finger inside me and “felt” me a little too long. During it I didn’t know better that she was lingering too long. Afterwards she told my mom “I think she liked it”. So, moral of the story is it’s Not only men doctors whom conduct themselves in a disorderly and unprofessional way. Men are not only the ones whom put sexuality in pap smears and pelvic exams. This article is precisely why I would never have a male gyn. I will never let a man do an exam on me like that. Unless it is my husband. But, you also have to be wary of women gyn’s as well. You really just have to research whom this person is. If you are transferring care to a new gyn book a longer appointment if you can so you can get to know them a little first. If you don’t feel comfortable with them with your clothes on then don’t get undressed for them. go to someone else.

  63. mouse says:

    I don’t get the U.S obsession with genitalia, if they’re not unnecessarily chopping bits off bo6s, they’re putting things into girls.

  64. Nicci says:

    This blog is disturbing. The comments made are so so sad. Until this very day and reading this I have never thought back to the day my mother took me at 16 to her gyn for a ‘check up’. I think she wanted to check if I was sexually active. The gyn must have been 70 if he was a day and I remember so clearly how violated I felt. I was molested by my stepfather at 6 years old, date raped at 15 (all without my mother knowing) and had to be subjected to an unnesessary ‘check up’ and internal exam by a gyn at 16. It’s no wonder I have huge issues with sex to this day and I’m 39. :(

    • Tin says:

      I am terribly sorry to hear of your violations. May I suggest that you explore an avenue to prevent others from experiencing the violations to which you were subjected. The only sexual violations that I have experienced have been at the hands of doctors. Two such occurrences took place at a major clinic in Midwest. There is a serious problem with women being sexually violated and exploited by doctors.

  65. Elizabeth (Aust) says:

    Nicci, I’m so sorry.
    That’s the real tragedy here, that almost all of this damage was/is avoidable. Routine pelvic exams are not recommended anymore for good reason, they carry risk, even unnecessary surgery and there is no evidence of benefit. Dr Carolyn Westhoff, ob-gyn (and an American) has written several articles on the futility of this exam and the risks, she partly blames this exam for your high hysterectomy rates (1 in 3 US women will have one by age 60 – gulp…so much for the well-woman nonsense) and for the loss of healthy ovaries after false positive exams. You’ll find her articles online.
    Putting women and teenagers through an unnecessary invasive exam that carries risk is hard to understand, IMO, it’s very bad medicine and seems to be protected by a medical profession that now relies on this annual exam to keep up revenue/profits. I’m middle-aged and have never had a routine pelvic exam and never will…I would never risk my health by handing over my asymptomatic body for an unnecessary rummage-around. Routine breast exams have been out for some time as well, there is no evidence of benefit, but they lead to excess biopsies. I’ve always refused them. I’ve also passed on mammograms (when I turned 50) and have never had pap tests. (as a low risk woman) All informed decisions made after I did my own research, I found official sources of information to be biased and unreliable and most doctors just recommend women have screening, some pressure, some use coercion. I found a great doctor who listens to me and respects my decisions.

    The damage that is done in the name of women’s healthcare is shocking…we need to trust our bodies and protect them from harm. If we make an informed decision to test, at least we understand what we’re agreeing to, we’re not just having something “done” to us.
    The doctors I respect are the ones who are fighting for change – for some respect for informed consent and for evidence based testing. Excess is about profits, not doing what’s best for women.
    I admire the doctors who respect, defend and protect women, not defend and protect pap testing, mammograms etc
    People like Dr Gilbert Welch, Dr Margaret McCartney, (who declines pap testing as well) Professor Michael Baum, UK breast cancer surgeon, Dr Peter Gotzsche from the Nordic Cochrane Institute and a few others.
    These doctors remember the motto: first do no harm.

  66. Maria KT says:

    I think most women have a very strong natural sense of who’s creepy or not – even when it is a doctor. However, society keeps imposing things like “grin and bear it” when in fact, it is your own body – you have your own choices and you do NOT have to bear it.
    My own mother has always supported the notion that male gynecologists are better at what they do than female gynecologists. Sound absurd? And sexist? Well, it is. She has no claims to back it up and repeats it like a broken record, as though it is the ultimate truth. And she keeps on going to male gyns because she truly believes in this. Mind you, she is only 42 so it is safe to assume that it is not quite a generational thing. I believe it has to do more with what society is imposing on us as women AND as patients. Put your health and trust in the doctor’s hands – he knows best. But sometimes he doesn’t. All the comments I have read above are proof of this. And I think it is time to start listening to people’s experiences and concerns rather than belittling them. Telling a woman who has been molested by a male gyn that not all male gyns are like that is a poor way of facing the issue she has faced. It is basically like telling her “put your valid concerns aside and simply love men even when they are predators”. No. Just stop this approach all together, because you are doing more harm and good.
    At age 17 I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s disease, which according to my doctors messes up your hormones almost entirely, but I also had irregular periods. My ever so caring grandmother found a very respected and “professional” endocrinologist whom we visited when I had just turned 19. We both sat and showed him my blood tests, spoke about my hormonal issues, about my diagnosis etc. Mind you, in front of his office, the women were largely in their 40s and 50s because apparently it usually takes a while for this disease to be caught and I was “lucky enough” to know early. When we brought up my irregular periods, the endocrinologist immediately said I should be screened to make sure there are no cysts or anything else wrong , causing my hormonal disbalance even though as a endocrinologist he knew that my Hashimoto’s disease was messing up with my hormones. My grandmother was quick to say that no, I couldn’t be screened internally because I was a virgin. The doctor looked at me, in disbelief and said “Really? Not even once?” I honestly didn’t know whether to laugh or cry as a reaction. His question was beyond absurd so I just smirked and confirmed that no, I had never had sexual intercourse with a man. Boy, I wish that had discouraged him. I don’t know if he didn’t believe that a 19 year old girl could be a virgin or if he thought that I was lying to get out of it, but he kept pressing during the same appointment and during the next one. Myself AND my grandmother who was with me each time, had to insist that, no, he is not “examining” me that way until he finally settled for screening me through my stomach, looking clearly displeased with the fact that neither of us would budge. And even after that screen showed that nothing was wrong with my uterus, glands etc, do you know what he said? That an internal exam would still be more reliable, as a way to guilt us into “doing the right thing”. He wasn’t even a gynecologist. Let that sink in. When we left the office, my grandmother and I agreed that I wasn’t going back to that doctor. We listened to our instincts and I was better off for it.
    Two years later, at age 21 and still a virgin, I went to a female gynecologist who upon learning that i was a virgin simply said “That’s okay, we can screen your ovaries/uterus etc” from the stomach area. And that was it, she did , it was all fine yet again, no cysts etc. Close to the end of the appointment, she said “Make sure to tell your next gyno you’re a virgin so that they know to screen you like this and not internally.”.
    My next gyn, two weeks after that was a man, and the first thing he said when my grandmother and I went into his office was “Who’s getting the pelvic exam?”.
    The clear differences between these experiences have got me thinking that even though many male gynecologists are good at what they do and probably do not abuse their power, I am simply better off with a woman. And no amount of pressure from my mom or society has managed to convince me to get a pelvic from a male gyn and I don’t intend on letting it happen any time soon.
    Trust your instincts, ladies. If you don’t like a doctor, do not agree to an exam with him. Stick to your guns and don’t let yourself be bullied into a humiliating or painful experience. Because trust me, you are unlikely to forget the time you gave in to do something you knew would embarrass you. And to all the doctors abusing their power, shame on you. You shouldn’t be a doctor in the first place.

    PS: My mother has told me about her horrific experiences with the male midwife during my birth and still lets society brainwash her into believing male doctors are more capable of handling a woman. ( Word choice on purpose ) I’m sure they believe they are.

  67. Elizabeth (Aust) says:

    Maria, I think women who are bullied or coerced into invasive testing often carry trauma right through life. It never leaves them…
    I saw a study that showed opportunistic pap testing can lead to psychological issues, yet our screening authority encourages GPs to do just that….screen opportunistically. It’s not surprising women end up traumatized, we may be happy to see any doctor for a ingrown toenail, but he/she may not be our choice for a pap test. We may also, be caught off guard and unprepared mentally and physically for an invasive test. We’re being forced into something we don’t want at that time or at all.
    I’m pleased your grandmother supported you…the consult room can be an intimidating place. I think we need to be careful with doctors, especially new/unknown doctors, stay alert and have an exit plan if you become uncomfortable. It’s far better to make an excuse and get out, than live with trauma for the rest of your life. I think coercion is a very serious matter and IMO, coercion negates all consent. Hardly surprising some women feel they were assaulted after being forced into testing…when informed consent is required for all cancer screening and the Pill has nothing to do with cancer screening, it is IMO, an assault. Can you imagine a man being told he must have a rectal exam or he can’t have Viagra? Or a colonoscopy before he can receive non-emergency medical care…yet many women face coercive demands on a regular basis, especially American women.

  68. K says:

    So when do you need an exam? I take the depo shot and have been told i need a yearly exam now that im over21

  69. Elizabeth (Aust) says:

    K, by yearly exam I assume you mean the well-woman exam. This is not recommended in many countries, it’s not an evidence based exam and IMO, is far more likely to harm you.
    I’d take a look at the evidence base for these exams and practices in countries like the Netherlands, Finland and even the UK. Routine breast and pelvic exams are not recommended at any age in symptom-free women and no pap testing is offered before 25 in the UK and 30 in Finland and the Netherlands and under the new Dutch program only HPV+ women aged 30+ will be offered a 5 yearly pap test.
    At 21 I can’t think of any routine health checks or screening that might be helpful…if you’re on the Pill, a regular blood pressure test is necessary. Otherwise, I’d just be seeing a doctor when I need to…for medical advice or for symptoms. In mid-life many people see the doctor every year or two for general checks (blood tests, BPT)…and some people have mammograms and bowel cancer screening. (at 50)
    Some countries recommend breast screening at 40, but I’d be very careful following that recommendation. I know some American doctors do routine visual checks of the genitals, this is not recommended in many/most countries. The very suggestion is horrifying, I’d run, not walk out of that consult room.
    Basically, most of the invasive exams and testing on the symptom-free female body are IMO, unnecessary, unhelpful and even harmful and cancer screening is elective…always make sure you know what’s being done to your body. A simple test can lead to some very ugly places.

  70. Elizabeth (Aust) says:

    There are many articles covering pap tests and young women and why they’re a bad idea.
    This is a summary from the UK that may be of interest.
    http://www.screening.nhs.uk/cervicalcancer-qa
    In my opinion, the new Dutch program is the best in the world for those women who wish to test, it identifies the small number of women at risk and protects the vast majority of women who are not at risk from unnecessary testing and over-treatment and it offers HPV self-testing.

  71. Betsie says:

    My husband is an internal medicine resident, as are many of his friends. I showed him this article and he and his counterparts all agreed that when doing pelvic exams, there is absolutely nothing sexual about it. It’s ALL about context. I don’t find the tone or supposed intent of this article to be helpful or insightful at all. If your motive is to induce anxiety in women, well done. I am certain you will get many page views because of this, but at what cost?

    I’m not saying there aren’t some physicians out there who don’t get a rush out of giving a pelvic exam to an attractive woman, but there are many, many who don’t. My husband says he finds pelvic exams terribly awkward and would prefer never to have to give one ever again.

    • Hannah says:

      If I were secretly a sexual predator who loved giving pelvic exams, and when confronted my co-worker and the wife of my co-worker, I would lie and say that “there is nothing sexual” about pelvic exams. It’s a shame that you are callously dismissing the experiences of many, many women in this thread of comments. This blog post is about AWARENESS and letting women know that they (not doctors) are in charge of their own bodies. Even if your immediate circle of doctor friends were telling the truth, that is only a handful of doctors in one geographical location out of hundreds of thousands of doctors.

    • Anonymous says:

      Betsie, do you really think that your husband would admit that he got sexually aroused? I doubt it. You only have his word for it. But even if your husband was able to look at naked attractive women in a non sexual way, that doesn’t mean many other doctors don’t. I find your comment to be extremely naive.

    • Betsie,

      You should ask your husband to give up doing pelvic exams. He should let female doctors and residents do them. See how your husband can refuse to do pelvic exams at http://patientmodesty.org/studentconvictions.aspx. it is very normal for heterosexual men to be sexually aroused when they see a naked woman. Do you really think your husband can stay pure in mind 100% of the time? Even godly men who have committed to purity have lustful thoughts from time to time. One pastor said he had some lustful thoughts when he saw some scantily clothed women on a beach. He made a decision to not go to that beach anymore. Pelvic exams are worse than scantily clothed women because women’s private parts are exposed in pelvic exams.

    • Nat Dockar says:

      Betsie,
      I’m sorry about the other comments. I don’t usually post on these things but I think the article is too outrageous to leave it.
      I’m a medical student in the UK and I’m doing my obs and gynae placement at the moment. We all have to learn to do speculums and vaginal examinations by the end of our placement. I’m a woman, and I find it awkward and a bit difficult to perform a speculum, and I know the majority of my colleagues feel similarly. It’s not something any of us look forward to and really it’s just something we want to get good at and then leave it.
      I’ve no idea what it’s like in the US, but in the UK women are meant to have speculums every 3 years either after the age of 25 (England) or after 20 (Scotland) to get a smear test done – which has greatly reduced the incidence of endometrial cancer. It’s also often done by female nurses. So the opportunity for general practice doctors to see young, healthy and ‘attractive’ patients and get to give them a speculum is rare. Most of the speculums they do will have suspected pathology. Who finds it sexually attractive giving a speculum to a woman who has smelly/bloody/purulent discharge coming from their vagina?

      I’m sure it probably does happen, where doctors do find it stimulating but I cannot imagine it would be this big a problem … I wonder if there is a blog site where men have posted their experiences of being sexually abused by the perverted female doctor giving them a prostate examination.
      I think this blog just panics women about getting an examination that could be necessary and make them more prone to suspect it’s a form of abuse, and falsely accuse doctors. Yes – it’s uncomfortable, that doesn’t mean the doctors are only doing it for their own joy!
      Perhaps more communication about the examination, what exactly is going to happen and what the doctor will be doing will help to prevent this in the future.

      Sorry – I’ve been rambling, but I’ve just found this whole thing a bit gobsmacking.

      • Chrissy (UK) says:

        Outraged Medical Student,
        I hope you are also suitably outraged over the prosecution of the British GP earlier this year who was found guilty of filming intimate examinations on his watch. His victims totalled over 300, the youngest being 14 years old. But this is rare isn’t it? I’ll say it was rare – he got CAUGHT. How many others share his perverted tendencies. Have you read some of the posts on this website from women who have been violated and traumatised by (mainly) male doctors? Are you outraged on their behalf?
        How telling that you save your outrage in defence of your medical fraternity.

    • Kathy says:

      Back to the same-old – miss-the -point post.

  72. Mary says:

    I think what this article has achieved Betsie, is the confirmation for a lot of women who feel that there was something not quite right about their pelvic exam, that pehaps they were the object of unprofessional conduct. And instead of just brushing it off and telling themselves that they are being silly and the doctor is a professional, that perhaps they should listen to their instinct and they were right after all. I think that a lot of women would find it hard to reconcile what they felt and the context of where it happened and this just brings it out into the open. So I think it’s a good thing and it doesn’t cause anxiety but it just validates what women have experienced (Including myself). And just from my experience and my friends’ experiences nearly all of us have had an experience where we have walked away feeling something was amiss-whether it was a remark or staring just a little too long or making requests that are not clinical requirements.
    Nobody knows what another person is thinking or feeling when they are doing pelvic exams and breast exams. Nobody is going to admit that they enjoy doing them and I am sure that a lot of doctors do dislike doing them, but let’s not kid ourselves, some obviously do. In fact it can’t be that unusual when I heard that medical students actually have made up a well known acronym -TUBE-totally unnecessary breast exam.

  73. Anonymous says:

    You cant speck for all woman. some woman do find these exams sexuall . If a woman wants a pap or pelvic and knows the risks thats one thing. But there are alot of doctors who make woman feel as tho they have no right to refuse or they try to withhold unrelated care untill the woman sumits. Even if a doctor only sees the exam as meadical weather they like it or not pap smears do involve penetration with objects. So if a woman feels forced to have a pap smear or is told she “has to” this is a form of rape as far as the law is concerned.

  74. Elliott says:

    Wow, Stephen, I don’t think you couldn’t hit any more misogynist tropes if you *tried*. You want to know why feminists are nasty to you? It’s because you are a pig-ignorant, misogynist douchebag. It’s so obvious you think you’re one of the “good guys”—that would be hilarious if it wasn’t so unbelievably wrong. I feel sorry for every woman in your life who has to listen to you spew bullshit and call her “too emotional” and “dumb cunt” whenever she disagrees with your obviously superior Man Opinions and Mansplanations.

    You’re used to people caring about your opinion because you’re a man, even when you know jack shit about the subject. You’ve been spoiled utterly rotten by the patriarchy and now you’re throwing a tantrum like a petulant two-year-old. You are not enlightening anyone on this thread; you are just painting the walls with your own poo. No one wants to see it.

    tl;dr: Shut the fuck up and go away. No one cares about your opinion. Get used to it.

    • Stephen says:

      This comment has been removed.

    • indigo says:

      Thanks for that, Elliot. You said exactly what I wanted to say.

      Reading these comments makes me want to leave the planet. I cannot BELIEVE the ridiculous victim-blaming and gender stereotyping being spewed out. It’s extremely insulting- women are emotional wrecks! men only think with their penises! women should prevent these things from happening to them! Men have lots of testosterone= they’re all sex mad! I sincerely hope somebody is just trollin’ and doesn’t actually believe what they’re saying- Men are more intelligent than women and if it wasn’t for men women would have nothing!- WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK? Misogyny is running rampant on this thread, and it’s making me want to vomit.

      As for the original topic:
      I am deeply sorry to everybody who were violated by doctors (of any gender). It’s a sad fact that malpractice exists across the health profession spectrum, and anybody can be a bad doctor. It is not just men, it is not just women. ANYBODY can be a bad doctor/nurse/midwife/dentist/orthodontist etc etc etc. We need to hold these people accountable for their behaviour, so that it does not happen again.

      • Anonymous says:

        Male doctors are in court on regular basis for abuse of women, very few women believe it happens…pailrider

      • Anonymous says:

        Male doctors are at the fore front of sexual abuse of women.
        pailrider.

  75. Anonymous says:

    When I was 13 and started menstruating, my mother decided all my problems were caused by the fact I was sexually active (which I wasn’t) and forced me on birth control. I was terrified of men due to previous abuse. I was so terrified I wouldn’t even go near male teachers. I remember I cried during the entire pelvic exam, but my mother didn’t believe me that I was still a virgin, and the doctor didn’t confirm or deny it. I’ve always been scared of pelvic exams since then, and when I was 18 I was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer in the vulva. It had nothing to do with the birth control or abuse, it was just a genetic mutation, but extremely rare.

    My gyno oncologist, Dr. Townsend was the most gentle, kindest man I had ever met and he made me not afraid of the exams anymore. He talked to me while he worked, he told me that if anything made me uncomfortable he would stop immediately and we were never alone. There was always a female nurse there to hold my hand, help explain things and to make sure I was comfortable. He always made sure I knew exactly what he was doing and he was always modest, making sure I was covered appropriately and he only looked at what was necessary when it was necessary. He made sure I knew what to look for and what was normal in a pelvic exam and to always trust my instincts with doctors, because I’ll have to have yearly exams for the rest of my life, even after a hysterectomy. He taught me that it was MY body and had final say, even to doctors, if I’m not comfortable with something, even if it’s a doctor, to say so, and always request a female nurse is present with a male doctor. He was one of those doctors that made you feel more like a human being than a body on an exam table, and I’ll always be grateful for the things he taught me and also for saving my life. I just wanted to share my story, because Dr. Townsend is what doctors should be, and he deserves the respect and kindness he showed me.

    • monica says:

      @ Anonymous,,, I am so glad to hear you found a great doctor. There are not enough doctors like that. I hope you get to keep that one. :)

    • Mary says:

      That’s good news. But personally I don’t like the idea of a nurse present as a spectator. It would only make me feel more uncomfortable having even more people in the room than is necessary. I don’t know how this is supposed to protect anybody from a doctor having improper thoughts. I also wonder if that Dr Nikita Levi who filmed all these women having pelvic exams with a pen camera around his neck had a nurse present. Also let’s remember the nurse is there to protect the doctor against any false accusations, not the patient from the doctor.

    • C0 says:

      Hey, I’m really glad you found such a good gyno, who treats you with the respect you inherently deserve.

    • Anonymous says:

      why do you need yearly exams still for the rest of your life?
      It’s obvious he wasn’t able to cure you, but that’s not surprising since allopathic doctors can’t cure, they only treat symptoms and like the other commentator I do not see the use of a female nurse present either. If male doctors require female nurses, doesn’t that confirm the idea they are inherently untrustworthy?
      And I’m sorry but if that doctor was that kind he would have never entered this business in the first place. I have read too many times of women loving their ‘gentle’ doctor, not having a clue of what real respect is, treating them like children and thinking they were saved. How so, by cutting out your organ(s)? This business in itself is disrespectful of women and you have to be truly paternalistic to think that it is justified as a man to be in this business.

  76. C0 says:

    Also, it’s really gross and disturbing to see people post about how they “forbid” their wives from doing things. Fuck outta here with that.

  77. Robin says:

    Women should respect their husbands by not going to male doctors. Women are more easily deceived than men so it is wise for women to take their husbands advice. Male doctors are untrustworthy.

    • JudyC says:

      Patriachy at its best. Women know what is best for their own bodies.

    • Claire-Louise says:

      Wait…so in order to make sure they are not taken advantage of by untrustworthy male doctors, women should trust their husbands to make medical-related decisions for them? Their husbands. Who are men. Just like the doctors.

      Sound logic there.

    • Greg says:

      I do not like my wife going to male doctors. My wife is attractive and the doctors that worked at the hospital out patient clinic where she worked at would try to hit on her. Not all but enough. Unfortunately, she had an affair with one of them. We reconciled after tons of counseling but I abhor her being touched by any male doctor for female exams. Am I being unreasonable?

      • Claire-Louise says:

        I wouldn’t say so Greg. I wouldn’t be comfortable with that either in your position – especially not after reading all these stories. The important thing is to remember that she is her own person and you can’t make the decision for her*. It’s something you shoud discuss and decide together.

        (*I’m not trying to assume you would, it’s just earlier I read a comment saying they had ordered their wife to never see a male doctor for a pelvic/breast exam, and it was rather unsettling.)

      • Greg says:

        I prefer my wife to see female doctors….after her affair with one. She had an affair with the same doctor twice….I suspected the first affair and we quit associating with the doctor and his wife….then ten years later they had another affair. When this affair was exposed she admitted the first affair. I told her I wouldn’t have stay with her those ten years if I had known for sure. I was going to divorce her and she begged me not to. It took three years of counseling to get through that mess. She had also gone to male plastic surgeons that she had worked with in the clinic at the hospital without consulting me. My wife is attractive and some of the residents hit on her while she worked there. I did not want her going to a male doctor she knew through work…That caused me a great deal of anxiety also. After that….I absolutely did not want her seeing male doctors unless there was not a woman doctor in that area of need. She had been seeing a female doctor but that doctor left for a practice in Hawaii 4 months ago. So…she got a little drunk at a party, fell, and bruised a rib. I wanted her to get it checked out with her doctor. Then she told me her doctor moved to Hawaii. She told me she could get into see a male doctor right away. She has breast implants. The bruise was under her left breast. I really aborred the idea of her seeing another male doctor. I called a minor emergency center and found our there were some female physcians working there and she went and saw one. I know my attitude may seem unreasonable but I absolutely do not want another man touching her again. This is because of the affairs, the resident examing her during her pregancy that knew her from the clinic…her failure to consult me before she went to plastic surgeons, and a few other incidents. Not all doctors are pigs but I have had enough bad experiences I am done with them. I told her two days ago that if she went again without telling me that we were done…

      • Elizabeth (Aust) says:

        Your posts are very interesting, Greg…
        It makes me wonder how much of this exposure is really necessary and how much is sloppiness, couldn’t-care-less attitudes or even opportunistic viewing given legitimacy by the medical setting.
        I know some hospitals provide paper pants (some hide very little, others are opaque) and others (especially in the private sector) can provide all female surgical teams and/or a closed theater, others can prep you privately… (before a c-section) I know women who’ve requested these things in the private sector.
        In some cases husbands have been asked to leave the theater while their wife is prepped for a c-section, but assorted male onlookers have been allowed to hang around and view the woman being shaved and a urinary catheter being inserted…who is protecting the patients privacy in this setting? Why couldn’t a screen be used during prepping? Or at least ask the extras…orderlies etc to leave?

        I believe if it’s unacceptable when someone is awake, it’s unacceptable when they’re asleep. I know “difficult” people are often just knocked out so they can be prepped without “concern” about their modesty and dignity.
        I must say I fear ever needing surgery…I really wonder whether a medical advocate system should be in place, someone to watch over you when you’re compromised or unable to do so…

        There are some posts over at Dr Sherman’s medical privacy blog that show just how distressing these breaches of our privacy/dignity are and the impact they can have on people. Is it really a successful procedure if we walk out of hospital in one piece…but are left with permanent psychological damage? The medical profession needs to remember they’re treating a person, a human being, not just a body.

        I know greater effort is made in some private hospitals. I was impressed with the way patients were treated at a local private hospital; my mother had bowel surgery. Male nurses took care of bathing, shaving etc for male patients and female nurses for women. Of course, the public system would say it’s too difficult with staffing issues…not good enough.
        There was a concerning post over at Dr Bernstein’s patient privacy blog. A father angry and upset over the actions and attitudes at a public hospital. His 18 year old daughter was having her appendix removed and a male nurse was sent to shave her pubic area, she refused and the nurse challenged her, “my training is exactly the same, I’m a professional” etc…after becoming distressed and threatening to leave the hospital, her father arrived to take charge. The senior nurse “agreed” a female nurse should have been sent as well…what a ridiculous thing to say, you send a female nurse, why tie up two members of staff? I think it also shows a system in crisis or one that couldn’t care less…most people would understand that a young woman would not be happy with a male nurse doing something like that…and you wonder about the people who didn’t feel they could object or who gave in to pressure. Of course, when we’re asleep, a male/female nurse might shave us etc and we can’t object, anything goes…it shouldn’t.

      • Elizabeth, I agree. The excuse “it’s the OR” should not be an excuse to suddenly start treating people as if they have no modesty or dignity. I have heard horror stories of women having their pictures taken while they were anesthetized and naked – some with their legs up in stirrups. One woman was wheeled out from the OR still completely naked into a public hallway, no one had bothered to cover her up. People should be treated the same when they are under sedation as when they are awake.

        Here is an interesting link to a site . . . a survey revealed that sexual abuse and predation in hospitals and other medical establishments is similar to levels found in the church, and is covered up in similar fashion: http://clericalwhispers.blogspot.ca/2012/03/medic-sex-abuse-worse-than-church.html

      • Elizabeth (Aust) says:

        FWEO, Exactly, predators are cunning and will find a way to get what they want so a sloppy hospital is a great place for them, or anywhere else where people are vulnerable, compromised…childbirth is an area of concern. The Birth Trauma sites are the stuff of nightmares.
        http://birthtraumacanada.org/

  78. Paul says:

    Quite a lot of hatred on here, mostly from the women. Look, stay clear of male doctors. It’s not rocket science. Get your brains in gear. Do you seriously think male doctors are morally above everyone else? Stop being so hateful and start using common sense.

    • Anonymous says:

      Thank you for your straight forward and obvious response. Well, at least I thought it was an obvious answer to the problems being brought up. Some obviously do not agree. It’s really easy to just say “I want a woman doctor”. In fact, every gyno office I’ve ever called has asked if I have an issue with having a male doctor if they have one on staff. It’s the same concept as if you don’t like butter, don’t buy it. It’s really that easy. No hate needed, no anger needed, just a little common sense.

    • Diane (US) says:

      It’s not always that easy. If you’re choosing a doctor for yourself you can look for female practitioners. What if there aren’t any in your area? What if none of them are covered by your insurance? Etc.? Do you have $200 extra dollars to see a doctor off your network? If you’re in the hospital, unless you’ve been admitted by a specific surgeon for a procedure s/he will be performing, you don’t have a say about who treats you. You’re seen by whoever is on duty in the ER or the hospital that night. The same is true with the nursing staff. If you’re there for an urgent or emergency matter the hospital isn’t going to say “sure, hang on, we’ll scour the hospital for a female doctor for you,” they’re going to treat you on the spot.

      The onus should be on physicians of both genders to treat their patients respectfully and not to coerce them into unnecessary testing.

    • A says:

      Such a simple solution but it doesn’t work for everyone. I have been without a family Doctor for 3 years now because I can not find a female one. I’m going to have to bite the bullet and take any man I can get.

      • A, I have been without a family doctor for years and have discovered that there really is no need for me to have one. Years ago I made an informed decision to decline a pap test and my former family dr refused to keep me on as a patient as a result of my refusal. Since that time I avoid drs whenever possible, and my cervix and reproductive organs are healthy and intact – in my opinion because I don’t have paps. Drs are able to charge extra fees for every screening test they order, and some are very motivated to perform pap tests for other reasons as well . . . as this post and comments have revealed.

  79. Anonymous says:

    There is a book written by a doctor who explains how doctors manipulate women. Many male doctors think women are stupid. Well, I do believe that men are smarter than women and are more skillful, but that is no excuse for doctors to take advantage. Women should oppose these barbaric exams and start standing up to these male perverts.

    • JudyC says:

      You might believe that men are smarter but the science does not agree with you. Why would a person be smarter because they have a penis? Many men only think with the penile brain, not the one in their head.

    • Alex says:

      Thanks, didn’t know about the book. I wouldn’t say it’s stacked that way, though. Men aren’t necessarily smarter or more skillful- a lot of things men do don’t work as intended or they do half-asked. There’s a lot of “not actually functional, but using it as a means of doing something”- some of it has to do with ego (or just not taking things seriously, but sometimes they act like that’s an effeminante trait).

  80. C0 says:

    I think Stephen called in reinforcements lol
    just forget about them

  81. Joe says:

    JudyC, men naturally think with their penis because of the level of testosterone. However, even though men think with their penis, they are still smarter than women. Look at the things men have created. Women could not survive without men, even though the feminist media tries to convince women otherwise.

    • Yazz says:

      Give me a break!
      Men have for ages shunned women from schools, they still shun them from getting the highest positions in society so they couldn’t even show you what they can do and you think it’s a sign of men’s superiority? Lol
      BTW if men are going to continue with their lovely inventions, soon the world will be destroyed. Thanks men, we really couldn’t survive without you!

    • JudyC says:

      Where is your science for that? You can’t say that men are smarter because of what they have invented when they have been actively preventing and subverting women throughout the ages. Women used to have to assume a male name as an author to be published is one example.

    • Grackle says:

      Yeah, Joe, what a shock that forbidding women from getting an education or a job for centuries and centuries would result in fewer women inventors? What are the odds?

      Dumbass.

    • A says:

      I think Joe might need to read up on History. Since the beginning of time Women weren’t ALLOWED to do things like read, go to school (and when that changed they weren’t allowed to be taught anything besides how to fold napkins or sew etc) they weren’t allowed to tend university etc. No wonder history is filled with Men and their inventions. It has only improved or women int he last hundred years and even that was slow moving. It’s really been mostly in the last 60.

    • Anonymous says:

      That’s a fallacy actually. Many matriarchal societies thrived before the current Westernized one. All societies have their rises and falls, but by no means does that make the current male-dominated one any better or even more advanced. On the contrary, some of the most advanced cultures were pre-Greco, and very much so women-led.

  82. Joe says:

    Elliot, you have a foul mouth. This website is about male doctors, not about spewing hatred towards genders.

    • Yazz says:

      No Joe, you are the one spewing hatred towards women with your sexist remarks, don’t try to turn it around.

    • Elliott says:

      Oh no, did I hurt your feelings Joe? :( Maybe you shouldn’t reply to my posts until you’ve stopped acting so emotional. Because dude, you are totally overreacting. I’m not insulting men, I’m insulting *Stephen*. Although if your feelings are hurt by what I said, perhaps it’s because it struck too close to home. I’m not going to argue.

      Gosh, I really hate when men get too emotional to have a rational discussion. You can never get a word in edgewise, you just have to listen to them go on and on….

  83. Joe says:

    Yazz, even today men are the ones who create most of the technology and create businesses. If it wasn’t for men creating all this wonderful technology, millions of women wouldn’t have a job. Most women have lazy jobs, working on a computer or a machine that men have created. I would like to see a woman invent and build an airplane or a space ship lol. Never gonna happen.

    • Yazz says:

      You refuse to take into account that women only recently have gained more rights in the western world and we still live in a patriarchy, so it’s totally unfair to make a comparision between the genders without looking at the context. It’s a weak attempt to try to ‘prove’ supposed male superior intelligence. Besides there are different forms of intelligence, some that aren’t even acknowledged as intelligence by those ‘smart nerds’ who create the type of machinery you mention and who will due to their narrow mindedness be helping us into destruction because they lack holistic thinking just like them lovely allopathic doctors who can’t cure or heal any disease with their high tech equipment.

  84. Anonymous says:

    Why are people arguing about who is more intelligent? This is about male doctors. Yes, men are naturally smarter than women. So what? It has nothing to do with this discussion.

    In my opinion, male doctors should not examine women, period. Male doctors are still men.

    • Yazz says:

      Joe stop polluting the forum and stop posting as ‘anonymous’ please, you don’t even know the definition of intelligence, so you can’t take part in this discussion, thank you very much.

    • A says:

      I didn’t want to post this because I don’t believe any gender is smarter than the other. I believe we are all shaped by our experiences and genetics. But here you go…. the largest gender brain study ever has proven women are smarter then men. :P

      Part 1

  85. Joe says:

    Yazz, even today in a society where women have rights, it’s mostly men who create businesses and invent technology. Thanks to men, millions of women are able to have jobs. Today, there is far more sexism towards men. Don’t be a hypocrite.

    • Claire-Louise says:

      “Far more sexism towards men”?

      Is your biology associated with being a coward, weakness, and lack of physical strength?

      Do people think that when you don’t meet their standards for a respectable human being, they’re entitled to comment on your body, touch it without permission, talk about you like you can’t hear? Are those standards usually tied to how provocative they deem your clothing, how many sexual partners they think you’ve had, how easy they think you look, or how sexually attractive they find you?

      Did you grow up being told that you’re supposed to like princesses, and ponies, and fashion, and makeup – then when you got older these things suddenly became signs of shallowness and vanity, and needed to be cast off if you were ever to be taken seriously in the real world?

      Did you get conditioned to believe your body in its natural state is gross? Do people speak as if everything you do is for their benefit?

      Are you expected to continue conversation with every stranger who tells you they find you attractive, on penalty of being considered a stuck-up bitch? Do you have to worry about guys getting violent, because they can’t accept you’re not obligated to give them your time?

      Do you get told unless you do absolutely everything in your power to avoid sexual assault you’re a dirty little whore who deserved it, but when you react to strangers with the necessary caution, you get accused of being a bitch who “thinks all guys are rapists”? Do you have accept that maybe it’s true and just deal with the guilt, because you cannot risk the one time you let your guard down being the one time he really is one?

      When you become interested in an element of geek culture, are you accused of being “fake” and constantly expected to prove otherwise?

      Do you constantly get your experiences with sexual assault and harassment invalidated and dismissed? Called “ungrateful,” because you don’t feel flattered when five drunk guys all twice your size cat call you from across the street? Get accused of being a “slut”, “asking for it”, sending “mixed messages”, or lying about being raped because you “regretted a one-night stand”? Even when people believe you, do they insist it’s uncommon, despite hundreds of other people who’ll say they’ve had the same thing happen to them?

  86. Anonymous says:

    A man invented the speculum. It is barberic and looks like a mid evil torcher devise. A man has no idea how having the speculum inserted whould feel. I do beleve it was invented to tourcher woman. The father of modern gynecology was sick in the head. He tourcherd woman and killed them with his inventions and testing on them.

  87. This was a very good article. Do not be fooled that a nurse (chaperone) protects you from a male doctor having lustful thoughts or sexually abusing women. See “Do Chaperones Really Protect Patients?” (http://sexualmisconductbydoctors.com/chaperones.aspx)

  88. Paul says:

    Indigo, it’s interesting how you ignore the vile comments that some of the women have posted. I’ve also seen it happen over and over again where men will get banned on forums for saying things that women find offensive, but not vice versa. There is nothing worse than female bigotry. It’s perfectly okay for women to spew vile insults at men, but if men do it to women there is an outrage. You’re gonna have to learn that the whole world does not revolve around women.

  89. Joe says:

    I am against male doctors and how they manipulate women and take advantage of them. But women also need to take responsibility. Oh no! I forgot! Telling women to take some responsibility makes me a misogynist. Ah well, so be it. The truth is, male doctors can only do what women allow them to do. If women are naive enough to believe that male doctors don’t look at women sexually, then they will reap what they sow. Instead of putting all the blame on perverted doctors, we need to encourage women to stop following the lemmings and start thinking for themselves.

    • Yazz says:

      “Oh no! I forgot! Telling women to take some responsibility makes me a misogynist. ”

      No that’s not why you are a misogynist. That’s because of claiming men are smarter than women and women have supposed lazy jobs and couldn’t survive without men. The latter is kind of the same basic reasoning why those ‘superior’ men invented gynecology to take care of us ‘defective’, weak and hysterical women..

    • C0 says:

      Saying “Victims need to take responsibility for their abuse” is fucked up because no one is responsible for the actions of someone else.

      The people we are discussing are adults with the ability to think and reason, tho sometimes their reasoning is flawed, distorted, or based on false beliefs. No one is being forced to abuse someone else. There is no phantom and no wild drooling beast. We live in a culture that socializes men to perceive women within a certain framework, and discourages victims from speaking out against sexual assault.

      Notice how in the story of the patient who noticed her gyno getting an erection, the male gyno she tells this to covers for the other man without question.

    • Cynthia Jannice says:

      I really angry about this, you didn’t speak with diplomacy and expect people won’t attack you, by saying men smarter than women and only men do job,invent something,business or whatever that without men,women will not survive… Where were your reference and facts you get from ? IQ calculation was hype and not always true,inventing something won’t verify that the nation or genders as genius and there were false positive about this . Hey,if you come to my country,women will have more features and role than male,women work harder than male and male just some bunch lazy gits and the percentage of women in mensa community more than male you know. I was wondering where did you get your false positive reference.
      You are mistaken and too arrogant to admit that women will have their own role, no more and no less than male…. In one department, for example a fashion magazine,there were many women and men work together to achieve mission… for example,women in journalist,consultant and men in management as men will have credibility in working with fixed time,manage something and talk with gentlemen but women will have to work together to influence with psychological issue handling and begged about contract and investment,giving emotional support,common sense and reading mind and some men weak too as they didn’t even have common sense and too slow to read someone mind and thinking based on factual and in only one ways….. then,the role of women was very important in this context…
      Actually,in invention world and hacking world,both women and men have their own intelligence and their own ways of thinking and both respected and treated equally..You think no female inventor and hacker in the world…. you obviously mistaken,you better teach yourself more ….. women and men were like hardwares and softwares ,butter and bread,blood and life and both were not perfect…. there were some weakness about both .men and women .
      In fact,both women and men have their on ways of thinking and innovation of both female and male based on culture,support,education,social influence and don’t be shocked if there were on earth women wiser than men. Women so slow in innovation as they usually think in various ways,the core ,based on emotional than total factual
      then,they will invent something longer than man as women lost the factual thinking here…they can reach but just slow…. and men just the oppose…. yes,they claim as genius creature ever but they usually thinking in one ways and just based on the factual,check just important thingy and refuse related things that they think was not so important and yes they got solved many problem and invent many things but they
      obviously can’t retrieve a piece of information as lack of common sense than female and they can be cheated in this way, they can reach it,just so slow…
      Some people who were very high in IQ but low in EQ went nowhere and can be manipulated by some greedy folks/opportunists even they were so genius due to lack of features and information in nice timing,in this context,people so quick in judging just because they were genius in one ways,they clarify themselves as genius , refuse other people who were genius just they were but talented in other way.
      You really need to recheck psychological research paper and just because women too attractive and more vulnerable than male plus because of the nature of thinking in women,you assume women as weak,lazy and not intelligent as you are ? I can be a colossal jerk in this but I think you can figure out it by yourself… If you want to debate with me about why IQ test was hype…. I more than happy to debate with you about why,when,who and whatever… and in hacking world and invention,papers or notes will be written like this….. she/he will………. he/she up to……. she…………………………………. and he……………….. (This is to accept and approve female or women intelligence and assume both male and female as equal. ).
      I’m not aggressive feminists but your words really force me to write. Sorry to forwomenseyesonly.com admin for talking off-topic as this is gynecological and women matter blog but I’ve talked about how women just intelligent as men,how both women and men important and lack of common sense about this…

  90. Kennya says:

    I was deciding to have my first exam since this is the only test I have never ever agree to do, I thought I needed it but so far no problems, after reading this I would never ever do one. If I die so be it, but I am not going to put my life on the hands of perverts to decide if I am attractive enough to deserve a better care. After all beauty is in the eye of the beholder but you are too much doing this, you think you are helping women but you are not. You are a bigger pervert than you give yourself credit for.

  91. Greg says:

    Men, this is about women being violated by Drs. I feel my wife was and I support these women. If you are going to blame the women you are an idiot. Stay off this site. This is about women or men telling about their bad experiences. Not a blame game or who is the superior gender. Some of you men seem to enjoy baiting these women….I pity your wife or girlfriend. You probably have neither because of your atitude!

    • Yazz says:

      Thanks Greg for speaking up and being a real man!
      Real men aren’t threatened of the idea of gender equality and don’t need to feel superior over women to feel like a man.

    • Joe says:

      Greg, if only you had bothered to pay attention to what was said. Instead of making hasty comments, it would be a good idea to pay attention to what people say before you respond to them. We agree that women have a brain and can think for themselves. A male doctor can only do what his female patients allow him to do. I am personally disgusted at how some of the doctors take advantage of women. But let’s be honest. If the patient is young and attractive, most male doctors are going to get somewhat aroused. It is ludicruos to think that most doctors are going to completely switch off their sexual feelings. The question is, why are women silly enough to go to male doctors in the first place, unless no female doctors are available?

      These male gyno’s will get together, have a few beers, and have a good laugh at all those naive women who submit to whatever the doctor tells them to. The problem you have is that it has become politically incorrect to put the burden of responsibility on women. But the truth is, if women are stupid enough to avoid female doctors and go to male doctors for personal exams, they are going to reap what they sow. It’s that simple!

    • Yazz says:

      Greg, what do you think of male doctors?

      • Greg says:

        I was a scrub nurse in surgery for 5 years during college. You observed and learned who the competent doctors were and the ones you wouldn’t let operate on your cat. During a benign cyst removal on a young lady the surgeon made the comment after removing it that she wouldn’t even have a mouthful left after the cyst was removed. That was extremely unprofessional and pretty much sums up what he was thinking. I knew several residents during this time frame. Guys are guys I hate to say so I will be brutally honest. I assisted on some D&C’s, not very sexually stimulating to watch. I also assisted on a variety of other cases. In some cases they will remove the entire gown…say…while preparing to turn you onto you stomach for back surgery…and yes, you will be completely naked. It is the OR. As a male…I did see some reasonably attractive female bodies in the buff. Was I sexually aroused..NO. I didn’t remember any sexual comments made by the surgeons or nurses (male or female) during the surgery. The patient is under anethesia when the gowns are removed and things happen fast. However, I did hear comments my male nurses and anethetist later on in different settings. That led me to not wanting any males present in the OR when my wife had surgeries. Especially since she worked in the same hospital. On one occassion when my wife had surgery the anethetist was a male nurse I knew and I did not like the idea of him being present. After that my wife no longer had surgeries at that hospital.
        In a setting where the woman is conscious? I find it hard to believe that a man cannot have subconscious sexual thoughts when examining an attractive woman. A man performing a breast exam? Having an attractive woman in stirrups exposing all of her private parts right in front of your face? As a man I have to admit I might be sexually curious even though I knew I needed to be professional. Would I do anything inappropriate, absolutely not!! As a man I some how cannot see how a heterosexua sexual man could maintain 100% pure thoughts while examing an attractive woman.

      • Greg that is wonderful you were not aroused by the naked women. I agree with you that men are men and have heard experiences that suggest unfortunately that all men do not feel the same way as you, and from what I understand it is for the most part not safe for a woman to be unconscious, naked, and helpless in surgery when men are present. Worst of all is when a woman finds the courage to complain she is dismissed/told her experiences were just the effects of the anesthetic. Here are links to a story of an anesthesiologist who sexually assaulted 21 women while they were anesthetized. The worst part is that the women complained but were ignored, and the dr was permitted to continue to practice. The only thing that finally stopped him was one woman with the presence of mind to have the semen from her face swabbed and sent for DNA testing. Only then could he be stopped as the complaints on their own continued to be ignored:
        http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/story/2013/01/17/toronto-ddonaught-trial.html
        http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/story/2013/02/01/toronto-doodnaught-trial.html

      • Greg says:

        This guy needs to go to prison. I was not implying that I saw improprieties being committed during surgery. We always had a circulating nurse moving around and I am amazed that some nurse didn’t notice what he was doing, or suspect something. I am amazed that it took so long for the hospital and police to launch and investigation. Touchy feely doctor? I guess that is an understatement. They need to sue the hospital for not doing something. Doctors complain about malpractice insurance. However, they do not police each other and incompetent Doctors continue to practice and cause damage to patients. It only stops after the hospital is sued a number of times and the hospital rescinds the Doctor operating priviledges. One doctor that had his priviledges rescinded applied at a small time hospital requesting operating priviledges. It was fortunate that there were people on the staff that knew about him at the hospital that rescinded his priviledges and they refused to allow him to operate there. The doctors nickname was Dr. Debutcher. He had a high rate of mortality and infections with his patients. His atitude was such that he was a doctor and was above everyone else.

  92. Joe says:

    Yazz, why would men feel threatened by equality? It’s so obvious that you are bitter. The whole world does not revolve around women. You’re not that special. I’m happy for women to have equality. It doesn’t threaten me in the slightest. Women are just paranoid.

    • Yazz says:

      If there’s one person that sounds bitter, it is you, dear Joe! Stop acting like you are the victim, it’s really pathetic, especially on a site like this that discusses the abuse that is inflicted on so many women. Yet, even here you feel the need to put yourself on a pedestal and belittle women, how low can you go?

      “why would men feel threatened by equality?”
      YOU are the one feeling threatened, NOT ‘all men’. You feel so inadequate, that you need ‘all men’ to put up against me, coward that you are!

      The fact is that you feel the need to look down on women to make you feel stronger and smarter, it’s obvious in every comment you have made so far. That you think women are ‘just paranoid’ is a symptom of your flawed thinking that your ego needs to feel special, better and bigger, grow up please!

      • Yazz says:

        When you feel threatened by feminists, you feel threatened by equality, it’s that simple. Nobody here has started to belittle men, but some insecure men like you have made some nasty, blanket statements about women (amongst which you have called all women paranoid, not just me), then you don’t need to come whining about ‘sexist bigotry’ when you get to be told where it’s at. And I’m not ever behaving like a ‘lady’ just because you tell me so. Go get your sexist ass out of here and stop whining, you’re not all that special and the world will never revolve around you, sorry. A real man does not feel the need to think of women as below him, dumber and lazy as you do. I hope someday you will find your manhood on your own. Good luck with that, you’re gonna need it.

      • Joe, I appreciate you taking an interest in this topic and commenting here. But the topic at hand has been taking a bit of a side step. As a wise woman from Blogcritics has said recently: “When you abuse women, you abuse the people who love them. This is a fight that should unite, not divide, the sexes.” (Elizabeth, Aust.) Thanks, Sue

      • Anonymous says:

        Anyone know why copy and paste fails…?

      • Anonymous says:

        No, we don’t know. It’s not really important

      • Anonymous says:

        Thanks for your help…

  93. Anonymous says:

    Wow I am amazed but not shocked! I can not even tell you how many full pelvic exams I have had since I was 16. Seemed normal untill i read this! Now I feel a bit sick! One of the comments I read made me feel very ill, when she stated it was not just male doctors to be aware of, as I remember haivng an exam and smear at the request of my female doctor, and when I said that she must hate this part of her job, she smiled at me and said she really enjoyed it – Needless to say I was very uncomfortable lying there all revealed to her! I will never have another one done again!
    Thank you for bringing this to females attention.

  94. Pingback: I may never go to a male gyno again. | What level of hell is this?

  95. Anonymous says:

    Really interesting!! When I was 18 and not yet sexually active, I went to my GP in a rural area in South Carolina, and was told I needed a pap smear by my male doctor, who then instructed two medical students (one male and one female) to perform the procedure without asking my permission first. Being nervous enough before seeing the two students, I refused the procedure (which I was told I needed if I wanted a birth control prescription). I now exclusively see female gynos, and was told that a pap smear is unnecessary and can even be dangerous to virginal women.

    • Joe says:

      Anonymous, well done for refusing to submit. Blackmailing women with birth control is just another dirty trick. Don’t fall for it. Doctors must rely on people’s naivety and ignorance in order to control them. Think for yourself. Listen to your instincts. Doctors are not gods, and they have NO authority over us.

    • Elizabeth (Aust) says:

      AND cancer screening has nothing to do with the Pill, this is a tactic used to increase screening rates, but violates both informed consent and consent itself…IMO, a woman coerced into a pap test to get the Pill or anything else has been assaulted. No wonder some of these suffer psychological harm including PTSD.

  96. Just a note to Joe and any Joe-like commenters – this site is supposed to be a “woman friendly” site and a safe place for women to share their experiences. Any further comments that are an attack against women in general, or against any women who have commented here, will be deleted. There are already too many places in the world that are not safe for women.

  97. Gemma says:

    I, too, believe that male doctors are dodgy. They shouldn’t examine women.

  98. Yazz says:

    [This comment has been removed as it was posted by someone posing as "Yazz", but who was not the same Yazz posting the other comments. If this poster by coincidence has the same name please repost with some clarification regarding the name}

    • C0 says:

      Hey Yazz, sorry that you experienced that.. he never should have been able to do that. Self care is so important, and if you don’t feel comfortable or safe going to male physicians, that is your right. I hope you have a good support system to lean on if you need to.

  99. Anonymous says:

    Doctor attempts rape on 14-year-old, arrested
    Kanpur: A doctor has been arrested for allegedly attempting rape on a minor girl who was staying with her ailing grandmother at a hospital in Kanpur. The accused sexually assaulted the 14-year-old on the night of March 2, when she was with her …
    http://www.ndtv.com/article/cities/doctor-attempts-rape-on-14-year-old-arrested-340466

  100. pailrider says:

    Doctor attempts rape on 14-year-old, arrested
    Kanpur: A doctor has been arrested for allegedly attempting rape on a minor girl who was staying with her ailing grandmother at a hospital in Kanpur. The accused sexually assaulted the 14-year-old on the night of March 2, when she was with her …
    http://www.ndtv.com/article/cities/doctor-attempts-rape-on-14-year-old-arrested-340466

  101. Danielle says:

    Im 17, and I came here looking for information pap smears,because my mom says that ill have to get one when im 18 (or since time within that time range). After reading this, I know for sure im not getting one. The only thing ill agree to do is the examination they can do on your stomach (like a few others have already mentioned). A lot things ive seen in the media have made me not want to trust men, and and some points I was close to considering becoming a feminist. I know I can’t do that because there are some males that I know that weren’t aren’t like that at all, and I know truthfully and honestly they’re not.

    But anyways, before I get off topic, I wanted to thank all of you women that have expressed your feelings about this topic in the comments. Thankyou so much.

    • Danielle says:

      Sigh….curse this phone and all the typos its caused.

    • Elizabeth (Aust) says:

      Hi Danielle,
      i assume you’re American, not even the Americans recommend pap tests or pelvic exams before 21 and for very good reason…the pap test is high risk for no benefit in those under 30 so some countries don’t offer screening before 30, some include a margin and say 25 (UK) and the States, 21. (IMO, far too early)
      Routine pelvic exams are not evidence based and are not recommended at any age in symptom-free women in many countries – they’re far more likely to harm you.
      Screening should be your informed decision, we’re talking about your body, health and life.
      If you end up facing a doctor, make clear you know the recommendations and are not consenting to the test and will report any pressure to test, is the doctor aware of the “current” recommendations?

      At your age I avoided doctors finding it all a bit intimidating and overwhelming, now at 55, bring it on, age has it’s advantages. In the end your mother (and the doctor) needs your co-operation, don’t give it to them…she can’t drag you there and remove your clothing. At 21 you’ll be in a better position to fob off your mother and make your own informed decisions.

      There are numerous articles on the risks of early screening…do some reading.
      I’ve found being informed offers some protection, doctors back off quickly when confronted with someone who knows the facts and her rights.
      It’s important to find a doctor you can work with and challenge when necessary, and with this insane focus on screening, it will be necessary.

      “Why are women under 25 not invited?

      This is because changes in the young cervix are normal. If they were thought to be abnormal this could lead to unnecessary treatment which could have consequences for women’s childbearing.2 Any abnormal changes can be easily picked up and treated from the age of 25. Rarely, younger women experience symptoms such as unexpected bleeding or bleeding after intercourse. In this case they should see their GP for advice.

      In June 2009 the Advisory Committee on Cervical Screening reviewed the policy of starting screening at age 25 and agreed unanimously there should be no change in the current policy.

      Please see Written ministerial statement and Minutes of the Advisory Committee [PDF 86Kb] on Cervical Screening’s meeting on reviewing the age to begin screening.
      A research paper, Sasieni P, Castañón A, Cuzick J. Effectiveness of cervical screening with age: population based case-control study of prospectively recorded data. BMJ 2009; 339:b2968, focusing on women screened under the age of 25 was published in the BMJ. It stated:
      ‘Cervical screening in women aged 20-24 is substantially less effective in preventing cancer (and in preventing advanced stage tumours) than is screening in older women’”
      Taken from:
      http://www.cancerscreening.nhs.uk/cervical/about-cervical-screening.html#invited

      Older women should also understand what they’re agreeing to, we know that only 5% of women aged 30 to 60 are HPV+ and at risk, these are the only women who should be offered a 5 yearly pap test. So for those who wish to test, take a look at the new Dutch program, 5 hrHPV primary tests at 30,35,40,50 and 60 (or self test with the Delphi Screener) – pap tests will only be offered to HPV+ women. IMO, this is a much better program – it identifies the fairly small number at risk and takes most women who are not at risk (HPV-) out of pap testing and out of harms way. Population pap testing harms too many women and why would any HPV- woman wish to spend her life having unnecessary pap tests?

  102. Anonymous says:

    The first time I was given a pelvic exam, I requested a female doctor. However, she brought in a group of medical students to observe. I was not comfortable, but nobody seemed to notice or care.

    • Elizabeth (Aust) says:

      Anon, that is totally unacceptable, you’re not a body provided for medical training purposes. I suspect they deliberately “surprise” women in the examination room (when you’re vulnerable and exposed) hoping you’ll say nothing and allow the exam, complete with unwanted audience. I imagine quite a few women would refuse to have an audience for that sort of exam.
      IMO, this sort of treatment has a lasting and negative effect. You should have been asked when you entered the surgery…you don’t just storm in assuming the patient will be okay with a crowd.
      Did you send a letter of complaint? I think doctors/nurses etc rely on our silence…just “putting up” with this sort of unacceptable treatment. So many people carry trauma as a result of violations of their bodily privacy and dignity. Dr Joel Sherman and Dr Maurice Bernstein have 1000s of comments on their blogs on medical privacy.

  103. Anonymous says:

    This is so true. I went in for a uti and the male doctor insisted I had a papsmear and pelvic exam. I’ve gone to females ever since.
    Not for all male doctors but for most it is indeed sadly a sexual experience for them.

  104. Solina says:

    I’ve always had an inkling that this type of situation could occur, so call me paranoid (though apparently not) or maybe just uncomfortable with the idea of a strange man looking around down there, but I will never have a male doctor for a routine pelvic exam. I’ve had one male doctor do an examination, and while there was a female nurse in the room and all went fine, it did drive home the creeper feeling from a modesty perspective, and so that’s that on the future pelvic exams being a ladies-only affair for me.

    I think this issue speaks to the whole idea of knowledge is power. Since I wouldn’t trust a male doctor to not have these thoughts, I don’t even want the thought to have the potential to be thought. It’s unfortunate that it is left to the patient to be aware and educated on this issue, when doctors are supposed to be professional health care providers that we can trust in, confide in, and show our bodies to, with the idea that this is the one situation where you are not being judged for physical appearance beyond the health-related.

    That said, I think the line between “having the thought” versus “acting on the thoughts/speaking loudly about those thoughts” is a solid line. All of us like to let loose about work once in a while, but knowing that my doctor-patient relationship could be tossed aside so I (or my lady parts, as it may be) could be rated attractive or not, is unacceptable and makes the already invasive nature of gyn exams all the more unappealing.

  105. A says:

    I appreciate the moderator from stopping further foolish attacking comments from men towards women on this blog.

    Women have been abused far too much through out the ages. And now that we have a voice and try to make our situation better too many women ruin it…..

    I feel threatened by *some* feminists and I do not feel threatened by equality at all. It’s just that I don’t want women “abusing” men as their way to stand up for their rights. If you read through-out this blog some of the comments from women to the men are down right vicious! I don’t want to be represented like that. It’s not that I don’t understand how difficult it is not to lash out at some of the mind boggling idiotic comments some men have posted, I get that. I get filled with righteous anger when we’re degraded. BUT I don’t however feel it justifies degrading someone back.

    Women have fought long and hard for our rights but sometimes it feels like what we’ve gained is the right to act like the asses some men have been to us. I’m not for that. I want to be respected and I feel that putting others down, even when they are clearly borderline delusional is no way to inspire others to respect me.

    Yes I believe in equality. Which means that YES I would prefer NOT to see name calling or degrading comments from women to men on this blog either.

  106. Mia says:

    so I’m way late to this discussion, but I’ve found a bit of comfort in it I guess and felt compelled to comment. I had my first pap ever today.. I got accepted into a great university and am getting ready to move out soon. My mom insisted I get a pap done before I go. My grandmother had cervical cancer, so our family’s at a higher risk. I came in trying to stay calm and relaxed and wasn’t overly anxious until it was time to start.

    I was in so much pain my breath was in shuddery sobs, the doctor was nice and she asked if I wanted to stop, I told her no, to get it over with as quickly as possible. I cried like a baby but humiliation of any kind didn’t register over the pain. The humiliation of being felt up, seen naked, and had the fingers of a stranger up an intimate area didn’t register until a bit later after I’d calmed down. My big sister picked me up and I cried the entire way home, not sure why I was so emotional about it. I called my mom (whom I don’t mean to demonize, she is a lovely woman and a great mom and I love her with all my heart) who told me it was part of being a woman and I needed to calm down and let it go. I cried a few more times today, feeling ridiculous for being over-dramatic about what seems to be such a routine procedure.

    I don’t blame my doctor, I don’t blame my family, I consented and the doctor did her job, and my mother was just concerned for me due to our family history. BUT, none of that stops it from being an unpleasant experience. I’m really unhappy about it.

    There’s got to be a better way to do this.

    • Jane says:

      I am sorry that you put yourself through this. I am also sorry to say that your Mum is wrong and cervical cancer does not run in families. You had an unnecessary procedure for a very rare cancer. I am so sorry that you cried after the examination. Your Mum is also wrong to tell you that it is part of being a woman. She had been fooled by doctors into thinking women need their reproductive organs checked on a regular basis to stay healthy. It’s all a money making con.

      Once again, I am sorry you were subjected to this horrible and humiliating exam. Stay away from these doctors – they are not helping you, they are making money out of you.

      I hope you feel better soon.

    • Elizabeth (Aust) says:

      Mia,
      So that makes you about 18…FAR too young to be having a pap test. You should know there is a fairly high risk the test will come back “abnormal” as young women produce the most false positives. 1 in 3 for those under 25 and that can lead to some nasty and potentially harmful places. There is no benefit pap testing those under 25, just risk, and in fact, no country in the world has shown a benefit pap testing those under 30.

      There IS a far better way to deal with the small risk of cervix cancer, you offer those aged 30 to 60 HPV primary testing (or self-test with the Delphi Screener) and ONLY the roughly 5% who are HPV+ and at risk should be offered a 5 yearly pap test. Most women are not even at risk and cannot benefit from pap testing.
      The rest of the exam is not evidence based and carries risk…routine breast and bimanual pelvic exams are not recommended in many countries for very good reason and more doctors in the States are trying to get rid of them.
      Like so many women your mother probably felt this was important for your health, in fact, it was unnecessary, unhelpful and has exposed you to risk as well as caused you emotional distress.
      If I were you… I’d do my reading and protect myself from further harm…knowledge will protect you.
      You are not higher risk because of your grandmother, cervix cancer does not “run” in families. The only women at risk of cervical cancer are those aged 30+ who are HPV+….
      If you’re American the doctor was operating outside the guidelines anyway…even in a country that has always practiced excess and non-evidence based women’s “healthcare” they no longer recommend pap testing for those under 21. If your test result comes back “abnormal” be very careful permitting biopsies or “treatments”…apart from being distressing for many women, they can cause damage and lead to health, reproductive and obstetric issues. This is why we should be protecting our young women, not exposing them to risk for zero benefit.

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  108. Jennifer says:

    After reading some of the comments on here, I am SO sorry I finished college with my Bachelor of Science in Mathematics BEFORE being informed of how inferior my intelligence is compared to those of the penile persuasion! I may have done the right thing and quit, so that a smarter male could take my place as an instructor of mathematics! Maybe I should just put away my calculator and document camera, now, and go put on an apron. Wouldn’t want some impressionable young female student to get ideas that she might be just as smart as some of the males in class because the instructor is female.

    That said, ladies, we’ve all been there. We’ve all learned better. When you are 17, you are generally naïve and to expect a 17 year old GIRL who has been forced into ritual compliance her whole life to know what is medically prudent and to put her foot down is unreasonable.

    Men, you will never know the experience of females – we spend our childhood and youth “going along to get along” because we are physically vulnerable. If we are unlucky enough to be born into a family that doesn’t value females, it is only once we have achieved a level of independence and safety can we stand up for ourselves without being forced to do what we don’t want to do. If you had truly experienced this and yet managed to achieve anything with your life and career, you would no longer be insulting a woman’s intelligence – you would instead be marveling at her superior coping mechanisms and machinations in the face of adversity.

  109. Samantha says:

    This further goes to fuel my dislike for gyns. As an advocate for natural child birth, home birth, etc I am often met with opposition. I have seen countless stories about women who were being forced into an unnecessary c-section, who when they stood up for their rights as a patient that can refuse any treatment, gyns have received court orders to force these women to do what they don’t feel is best for their baby or themselves. It goes back to the man’s desire to control a woman.

    What makes this even worse now is that God-awful stupid new show on Disney Jr, Doc McStuffings. She says things like, “You must do whatever a doctor says even if you don’t agree.” And then all her little stuffed animals sing a song about it! This isn’t just one episode! That same message has been in every episode I have seen!

    How about this message to our young girls: LEARN TO THINK FOR YOURSELF AND TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS!!!!!!!

  110. Anon says:

    When I was pregnant with my second child I had some ‘uterine irritability’ as they called it and was given an I.V. and some meds to calm the irritability. Before discharging me a male doctor [not my doctor as my doctor was a woman] came in and insisted on doing an exam to see if I had dilated. I told him no, if I needed a check one of the nurses could do it. He got very angry with me and said that if I ended up back in there that night he would do a cervical check whether I wanted him to or not. I could not believe what I heard, I was in shock!

    When I was thirteen my mom suspected I might have a kidney infection and took me in to see a urologist. He told me to cross my arms over my head, held my arms down, removed the paper shield and did a breast exam on me while I was fighting against him. I cannot believe women trust male doctors, I really don’t understand it.

    • Elizabeth (Aust) says:

      A breast exam by a urologist???? and on a 13 year old girl
      There is NO way that could be justified clinically, was your mother or a nurse in the room at the time?
      If not, why not? A report to the Medical Board would have had him scrambling for cover. The breast exam was IMO, for his benefit, not your benefit and the way he did it is also, concerning, setting you up for an exam he knew was unnecessary.
      These men know what they’re doing, misusing a position of trust and authority to take advantage/abuse…and they know how to pick a victim and work the system.

      The doctor who threatened to do a cervical check whether you consented or not, was basically threatening an assault. It amazes me how brazen these men are and you wonder how often they abuse women. They rely on our compliance and silence…and the system protecting them, but that’s changing, finally…and more women are now making formal complaints, seeking legal advice or contacting the Police. We had a dermatologist assaulting women under the guise of doing a skin exam, thankfully, one woman went to the Police and after it went public, lots more women came forward…and even more victims were discovered when Police contacted some of his patients.
      We have to be so careful with doctors we don’t know and follow our instincts, you were wise to stand up to that doctor, his anger and threat clearly shows he doesn’t take well to women challenging him and he has no respect for women. It sounds like it’s also, a bit of a power trip for him.

      • Anon says:

        i work in the medical community and i know of a doctor in nuclear medicine who does a breast exam on every-single-patient that is referred to him, no matter what they are coming in for. Apparently a one man quest to battle breast cancer? So good of him. ABUSE of power. When i go to the doctor, and get referred, i make sure that the doctor makes sure that the referral is with a female specialist. That is my right. Don’t just except the doctor they refer you too. It’s often their buddy; the ol’ I scratch your back you scratch mine scenario. The abuse is so rampant its ridiculous.
        Same goes for the emergency dept.. There are lots of female doctors in those areas too. Request a female to do an intimate exam. It’s your right. And don’t be intimidated, or made to feel silly, “he is a doctor crap”. They probably won’t bat an eye anyway. Simple statement. “I want to be seen by a female doctor” . Thats all it takes. Soon they will completely forget about you, id their even bothered at all, and in the end they will be more likely to respect you for it.

  111. Anne says:

    i was told i had to get a pelvic exam before i got birthcontrol, then recently i want to dr (male ufornutaly they gave me no choice adn said i had to go to him), he said i should get a papsmear i said no, i was going of birth control and wanna get pregnant and he said i had to stay with him and go to his hospital, i told him no i wanted a birth center, he said i was crazy and why would any woman espiecaly one in medical field (i am a rn) would do taht its not safe, and he gave me this whole lecture like i was crazy i tried to tell him studies show what drs do to women in labor is terrible, leads to stalled labor and high c section rate and birth centers are jsut as safe if not safer than hospitals and lower c section and intervnetions required. i cant stand the thought of delieving in hospital, they FORCE interventions on women and give us no control. during the pevlic excam he asked if they drugged me last time to put in my IUD (th epills made me sooo sick i had no other options), why do drs always assume you were abused or somthign when u dont liek the exams? i just want to cry i feel so violated, he seemed short and didnt understand how i felt at all and wanted to force me to go to him and not birth center. it makes me scared to get pregnant…. drs are horrible!!! they make women vulnerable and dont listen or care and act like cuz hes a doctor its ok, well its NOT

  112. mimes says:

    this explains my unease when I had to have an abortion and the doctor had ultrasound pics and a letter from my GP but insisted on doing an exam with the door open so my mum could see and he rubbed my legs before he started, I wasn’t being selfish for not wanting to go back like my mum said, he was just a creep

  113. Elizabeth (Aust) says:

    Some of you may find this article of interest and might care to post…
    http://www.kevinmd.com/blog/2013/04/male-gynecologist-tips-connect-female-patients.html
    You can focus on better communication etc, but for some women a male gynecologist is out for all sorts of reasons. It’s our choice, it’s about us, our rights and feelings, not about them.

  114. Anonymous says:

    I’m not a doctor or a woman but the knowledge that I may one day have a wife or daughter that has to deal with this both frightens and troubles me deeply. Being a man, I know how most men think. Professional or not I find it hard to believe male doctors don’t take some kind of pleasure in being able to see women in this very revealing and personal manner. Everyone is different so I can’t condemn all men to being pigs. But as a man I know how I feel about the female body and that most men probably feel the same way. I would be very uncomfortable with another man seeing or touching my wife in these ways. If I as a man can’t bear the thought of the women in my life being subjected to another man like this then I can only imagine how it must make women feel.

    • Jola says:

      The best thing to do is choose a female doctor any time your wife or daughter has to go to a doctor. You may laugh at me and can say I am stupid but EVEN during my two childbirths (one in Poland and one in the UK) I emphasised IN WRITING that I DO NOT WISH A MALE DOCTOR WHILE LABOUR AND WHEN MY BABY IS BORN. The only man that was with me was my husband and except him I had only women. One may think it is overdoing and it doesn’t matter if it is a man or a woman that assists at a childbirth but I wanted to feel comfortable. It was my choice and I had it. Of course, I was told that in case of complications they might call a doctor who was on duty, no matter a male of female and I agreed, but luckily for my first childbirth I had a female doctor (I had some complications at the end) and for the second time I had female midwives. I believe the best method is to have our requirements in writing (if it’s not emergency).

      Cheers

      • Anonymous says:

        I am a man and I believe an honorable one. I can say with certainty that four extra years of school could not lay dormant my instinctual desire and attraction to women. I am happily married, but with marriage there are of course marriage problems.

        My first girlfriend, at 16, explained in detail her first pelvic exam. As I listened I could not help but think that it sounded like everything
        I wanted to do as a teenager. I did not understand all of it but it sure did not sound right to me. From that time forward I have always been extremely skeptical. I am a pharma rep and I hear the banter behind the receptionist’s glass window. What I hear proves that despite 4 years of college and the insistance that it stops the flow of testosterone~ False. My wife has had her share of predatory experience with doctors. They are not mine to share but were told to me in confidence.
        The one that I can and will share was a male ob who constantly tried to claim her as his patient. She refused exams by him. Then came our second child. Another female ob said it was time to induce. Of course this male ob was on call. Keeping it short, he stared down the entire time. I almost asked if he would like his phone for a picture. We are talking 4-5 minutes. The look of arrogant satisfaction on his face was overly apparent. Women know other looks from women. So do we. It was conquest and domination.
        I have no respect for men in that profession. Who is kidding who? With the advent of technology and most ob/gyn offices having ultrasound capabilities, what is the purpose of bimanual exams? After gyn appts my wife has been sent for them. If they paint a clearer picture why not cut out that which isn’t.
        I am not fooled nor do I care about the whiners and the assertion of four more years of school. A Phd in economics has more than that. Maybe medical school has a Harry Potter magical wand. For sure some well meaning dr is working on a reason to use that in exams as well.

      • F.L. says:

        Great comment — Sorry to hear that your wife likely has more stories that she could tell (but respect you keeping her confidence). It is sad but enlightening to see more examples of what is going on behind the “receptionist’s glass window”. It’s a very sick system that sets the stage for this type of sexploitation.

  115. kay says:

    It is up to the individual woman if she wishes to be seen by a male or a female gynaecologist.
    She should ALWAYS have the choice in my opinion however.
    It is a well proven fact though that a frightening catalogue of sexual abuse by male Doctors is on record. A simple google search brings up an endless list of transgressors.
    As in every facet of life the good ones pay for the sins of the bad ones and to ensure I am not put at risk I insist on a female Doctor. But that is MY choice

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  117. Maria says:

    I’ve had a male gyno before who I felt fairly comfortable with and he even invited his female nurse into the room to hold my hand during the examination. I recently had a pelvic examination done by a new GP, a youngish guy. I had the sheet over me and he moved it out of the way and put it on my stomach so I was COMPLETELY exposed…I have had a lot of exams in my life and never had this happen before with either female or male doctors. Atleast I am pretty sure they usually keep you as ‘covered’ and modest as possible! Am I just being paranoid or is this standard practice? From memory this is the first time it’s happened.

  118. Cassi says:

    Things like this are why when I am alone in a room with a male doctor, no matter what specialty, I am scared. Genuinely scared for my safety. I see a female gynecologist, and I was diagnosed with PCOS. I had to have a pelvic exam and a pelvic ultrasound and a man did my pelvic ultrasound. I was extremely uncomfortable the entire time. I was too shy back then to request a female doctor, but today I would be refusing to enter the room unless I was being examined by a female.

  119. malka miller says:

    I have used midwives for myself. I have never had any problems. My husband oddly, one day, asked me if most midwives were lesbians. I asked him why he said that since midwives have always been women who helped the community with their health and as women attended women when needed. Men doing pelvics and delivering babies, to me, is just weird and is a historical anomaly that should go away soon.
    I wonder if women decide to have elective c-secs because of past problems with pelvic exams. I do have a friend who was traumatized by being molested as a child, and had her one child in the hospital – she had very explicit directions in her birth plan for her pelvic exams, and a pushy doctor ignored her directions and forced a pelvic on her – she went into a psychotic state and needed to have a c-sec. This was totally unnecessary. The doctor was sued and she won.

  120. Beelp says:

    How about a diff perspective (and true story). I am a male. Several years ago I applied for a second job, which required a D.O.T. physical. I was sent to a specific clinic near the company office. There were 2 physicians there, one male, one female. When my time came, an attractive female doctor entered the room. She did the usual ( I had had a D.O.T. physical once before). BP check, listen to my heart, eye exam (read the chart, etc), look into the ears, but also a hernia check. This had NOT been done for the previous D.O.T. physical. Anyway, she then proceeded to hold my penis, asking if I had any discharges, anything unusual, etc, while opening the head of my penis. This took what seemed to be a long time. She help the tip open wide and it hurt a bit. She then went over to a small school type desk and without turning away or writing her notes she said I could dress. To this day my wife and I talk about it. She sometimes “plays” doctor and does the same. This event actually DID happen, it is not a fabricated fantasy.

    • N says:

      This situation was as bad as the reverse. However, at least men are forced into such situations much less frequently and in much less painful occasions, unlike gyn exams or childbirth. Also, male genital exams do not involve penetrations.

  121. I would just like to say that you for posting this. Generally, I feel like the most honest we are with ourselves and each other the better this world we live in is going to be. Men are visual creatures they get aroused. Okay, then admit it and make it known. At least then its out in the open instead of playing mind games and driving the focus to either health risks and/or money instead. By doing so, it only skews our perceptions even more.

    Reading this reminded me of a previous experience I had with an OBGYN. I’ve normally always gone to female doctors for this, though there are two circumstances where I no other available choice at the time so I went to a male doctor. I went in this time cause I was pretty sure that I had some sort of infection that wasn’t a simple yeast infection. So I basically went in and had the full testing with a pap test. We found the problem and gave me an antibiotic. He then had me come in again the next week for an exam “to be sure” that it was gone. I didn’t really see the point cause I trusted myself in feeling the difference, but I went along anyway cause I figured its just best to be safe and know its gone and, of course, I was perfectly cleared. He then told me to come back in 6 months for another pap test and routine tests. I had NEVER heard of getting a routine exam that close before. Needless to say I definitely brushed that off and never went back again. After reading this I now perfectly see what was going on there.

  122. Animal says:

    Remember the film Disclosure? The counselor of a character played by Michael Douglas said that “sexual harassment is not about sex, it is about the power”. OBGYN has got that sort of power. A male doctor can give order: “please undress now” to a woman who is a complete stranger to him, and that is regardless of her age. She might be the age of his daughter or grand mother. And then the female patient seemingly voluntarily subjects herself to violation of her privacy. If a complete stranger made a woman undress and ordered “her knees fall open” to have a closer look and then inserted his fingers into her vagina, would it be unlawful sexual act? I know that there is a medical explanation to it, that “vagina is just like ear”. Well, for me it isn’t. For some reason our culture decided that it was ok to expose the ear, but vagina must be covered. You can get more on the subject here: http://agalltyr.wordpress.com/2010/11/28/a-pelvic-exam-is-rape/ or by googling these 3 words: women against stirrups.
    I am a man, and I would never, ever chose my occupation to be OBGYN. Simply because I am not ineterested in shapes, smells, the level of wetness and tightness of all the vaginas in the world. I could only trust my body to someone I love, and expect the same from a woman, my girlfriend. My girlfriend going to a male doctor would be like violation of our sacred intimacy. I would feel like the doctor raped her rather than she had an affair thou.
    Well if I am told that a man in his twenties chooses the OBGYN to be his occupation I have hard time believing that he does it solely because he is fascinated by the creation of a new life.

  123. Kleigh says:

    What gets me is doctors think it is okay to force woman to have pap smears no pap no pill or no pap no unrelated health care. They have been trained this is only medical. and fail to see whe they tell woman they have no right to decline, that is rape this exam involves vaginal penetration. How can it not be rape in the eyes of the law. Even the Aco uses laguage to imply woman have to have pap smears or should and there is no right to refuse. There needs to be more regulation with this screening.

    • Animal says:

      I propose reading the whole bit, here:
      http://womenagainststirrups.proboards.com/index.cgi?board=questionnaire&action=display&thread=15
      The thought that drew my attention is this:
      “I think it is time for a change and for us to see through the gynecology industry which motivations are money and power instead of ‘taking care of women’. We need to stop allowing ourselves to be brainwashed by doctors and the media and take back our power, because we weren’t created as victims! Our bodies are not designed to kill us, they are designed to be healthy! It just needs a healthy, stress-free lifestyle and proper diet, but certainly not fear and disrespect.”
      If anyone finds this text too long to read, please read the sentences written over the picture, on the web page I have mentioned above.

  124. sylvia says:

    I have read a lot of these posts on here and they all have one thing in common “most everyone says what can we do about it” Spread the word tell you kids, your neighbors, your friends. I have been where a lot of you have been violated but mine actually caused damage. I was 12 when I had my first exam and the doctor put the think the medical term is the Duck in me when I told him it hurt. He told me he needed it wider and keep opening it. It percided to rip me. After that when I absolutely need to go in I have a woman doctor and I filed a complaint to the board about that doctor. I’m not saying woman are much better because I have had a few that made it feel just as bad but most woman understand and try to make it as easy on yourself as possible. But personally for me and my family since that happened to me we spread the word all of our friends have heard the story. My daughter will when she gets old enough right now she is only 2 yrs old. All my nieces and even their friends have heard about the doctor who hurt me when I was young. Spreading the word 1 person at a time will help a lot more then just siting on a blog and posting it. I stumbled upon this most wont. The lady who’s husband and friends that came over talking about stuff like that when drunk. have you told your friends, your book club, your neighbors. Its all about spreading the word.

  125. Elise says:

    When I was in my early 20s I went to an internal specialist. He did a breast exam and when he was finished he said “Im sorry I thought that was your elbow”. My husband was in the room and to this day we still talk about it. THe Dr. was canned a few years ago for sexual abuse. There was no reason to be touching my breasts anyhow!! I really hate doctors to be honest and see a female Dr. now and will only allow my daughters to see female Drs. I dont trust them and I tell my daughters when they are old enough what happened to me.

  126. Mary says:

    And if they are not getting sexual pleasure out of the young attractive women, then they are getting their laughs out of older women and their medical issues. I found the link to the Society of Spanish Gynaecologists and Obstetricians’ newsletter which is peppered with degrading cartoons of women and their conditions such as prolapse drawn by a male gynaecologist. Unfortunately, I don’t have the link to the cartoons that were translated in English but the cartoons clearly portray their misogynist attitudes.
    One person on a Spanish site about this made an interesting point. She said “Do other specialties make fun of their patients? Do oncologists draw cartoons of people going through chemotherapy and make fun of their baldness? No. Ridicule is only reserved for women.”
    http://www.elpartoesnuestro.es/sites/default/files/2011/09/gaceta-electrc3b3nica_1.pdf

  127. Mary says:

    Interestingly that link doesn’t work. But I can post this which shows at least two of the cartoons which gives you a pretty good idea of what I am talking about.http://www.elpartoesnuestro.es/blog/2011/09/19/el-parto-es-nuestro-denuncia-las-vinetas-de-la-gaceta-electronica-de-la-sego-ofrecen-una-imagen-degradante-de-las-mujeres-espanolas

  128. Crystal says:

    I find this article completely disturbing. For me, it is directly related to how we treat women during childbirth. Complete disrespect and not using evidence-based medicine are par for the course here in the United States where our birth outcomes are actually 49th in the world- yes 49th! Only the most educated and lucky women can come out of the hands of obstetricians with their dignity and possibly their perineum intact. This is ridiculous! I personally do not go to any male care providers EVER! I will not ever go to a male care provider even if it’s not for “lady issues”. When is women’s healthcare going to reach the same level of importance and dignity of men’s care? If men got pregnant, you can rest assured that all the bullying to do more and more invasive procedures would not be happening.

  129. Anni says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your experience
    All my life I felt strange to have a male Dr. gyn
    I once experienced the same unease feeling with a female Doctor she was extremely rough later on I was told she is a Dyke ! Its important to listen to your gut feeling, intuitive self. If one doesn’t feel comfortable you must leave !
    I have walked out and we must seek second opinions
    I was given false STD results by a respected GYN in NY { identifying information removed by moderator }. I was devistated and broke my 5 year relationship, she will ask why you wanted to have a complete exam and will have a way of making one feel uncomfortable with her questions. I listen to my intuition now more than ever ! Thanks for sharing .

  130. Check out this article, Yearly Pap Smears Still The Norm Despite Revised Recommendations (http://www.redorbit.com/news/health/1112893637/annual-pap-smears-still-norm-070913). The picture in this article was very disturbing because a male doctor is between a woman’s legs. It makes me sick to think about a male gynecologist doing pap smears on women.

    The truth is so many unnecessary pap smears are done. I commented at the bottom.

    Misty

    • Misty, thank you for the link! I saw your comment at the bottom when I first visited the site, but now it is no longer there. It was a great comment BTW. Could it have been censored?

  131. Sue,

    Yes, I suspect it might have been censored. I’m pretty blunt in my comments. Some webmasters and moderators do not like people questioning the medical profession. It is frustrating when my comments are censored because I want to educate people about the truth.

    Misty

  132. TruthBTold says:

    I only go to female drs because I’m not comfortable with male drs. I think it has to do with being abused as a child. i go to all female drs; That includes female dentists (I’ve read too many news stories about women being raped at the dentists while being under sedation), female optometrists, I once read of a dr that liked to put his penis on the eye exam machine because he got a special thrill when he knew their eyes were resting on a piece of machine that had his penis resting on it just before she walked in, I’ve read too many horror stories so I go to female drs.

    That said my own very first gyno exam was done by a woman. I was 15 & looking for birth control. I have since been married for over ten hrs and have had five children and somehow seem to still be very (uhm) “narrow” down there. Even after five vginal births my husband still struggle because of this narrowness, sex is sometimes uncomfortable because of the lack or room. . Anyway, when I was 15 & having my first pap, I remember saying owe, not loudly but I was in a lot of pain and trying so hard to stay still and be a “good patient” for my pap with the female dr who was a much older woman, past 50 at least, she said “oh please cut it out! If you can take a d*#¥ you can take a forcep & q-tip” then she squeezed my leg very hard (to which I grimaced in pain) and she said “it doesn’t hurt anymore then this, stop being a baby will you?” I felt so sick & humiliated.

    Another tragedy often ignored: from my experience with talking to women who have had an abortion the stories don’t change much there either. Drs and nurses treating them like yesterday’s discarded, rotted meat. Often making snide comments at & about them, not answering questions, lying, omitting information including what pain and symptoms they’d experience later, physically being treated brutally even while having an I.V inserted, laughing & making jokes at, etc… Women are usually so broken and traumatized by the event & yet there too when one woman tries to tell another about her experience they’re told to shut up, to stop lying or to grow up.

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  134. Nvy_wf_4_lf says:

    When I was pregnant ( i was about 37 1/2 wks) i had a regularly scheduled dr appt. in the am and when i got there they checked everything out well i know it only takes a couple fingers to tell how dilated a woman is and only maybe like 2-3 minutes? correct me if im wrong! This Dr. practically has half his arm up in there and even my husband was starting to get a little agitated and moving closer to say something to him because we looked up at him and his eyes were literally rolled completely back nothing but white! it was the weirdest thing! later it just pissed my husband off more and he wished he had something. I ended up being told my water had broken ( at like 4 in the morning i thought i just had to pee a lot! lol) and i was sent to L&D.

    • Alex says:

      Dialation is meaningless- women can be dialated all kinds of dimensions for all kinds of time & it is not an indicator of when labor will begin (like stomach drop is, for instance. There’s a lot of things like that with pregnancy. There’s a great deal of things that cause problems, that other things are a compensation for, which may cause worse problems in themselves- all the while these might be in direct contradiction to the woman’s objections. They go and cause the problems somebody’s worried about having them around to prevent or fix.

      By-the-way: I presume your husband is in the military, given your name. Have you ever had someone try to back you into a pelvic exam in order to go overseas? I remember hearing about the wife of a soldier getting forced into that so she could get clearance to go overseas where he was stationed. Don’t really know why she’d need any clearance at all, but maybe the military was being dictatorial at an expanded range? It certainly seems like they impose these things on women that are in the military (don’t know what happens if she refuses, but it wouldn’t suprise me if that was treated as a crime or reacted to with direct confrontation). This is in America, by-the-way.

  135. justawoman says:

    My most traumatic exam was when I was 19 and pregnant. The doctor wanted to do a breast exam and vaginal exam to check the age of the foetus. I agreed. An elderly lady chaperone was present. I was wearing just a t-shirt and pants. I removed my pants and was not offered anything to cover me with.

    The traumatic part was that while he was doing the breast exam and then the vaginal exam, 2 student nurses walked in to observe. I felt terribly violated. No one had asked for my consent. The student nurses stood so close in front of my legs. I felt utterly embarrassed.

    16 years have passed now. But this episode still depresses me. It felt like medical rape. Because I was not respected as a person, just a body on a table.

    I need to know how to get over this.

  136. Kleigh says:

    I never heard of a doctor doing a breast exam to determen pregnancy. Now they use that dildo like ultra sound. thats terible.

  137. Name withheld (UK) says:

    Sadly I can but agree, when first married, my wife visited my older doctor who I trusted. She was still in her late teens and we were both naive and trusting. He undressed her himself and she was made to remain without a gown during her exam and sexually molested, never knowing whether it was “her” misunderstanding or inappropriate behaviour from the doctor. She was told to have her breasts examined for lumps every 3 months and was always given an internal exam by him at that time too. She was scared and told no-one until he indicated he wanted to have intercourse with her during an internal examination and she stopped attending despite his threats. Years later when I discovered it, I was incensed but the old man had died.I agree with the general opinion in these posts. A female doctor should provide examination of a woman’s body, with the exception of trauma medicine of course.

    • Alex says:

      Why should trauma medicine be an exception? Either way, they shouldn’t be attacking people in trauma medicine either. Just because there’s an emergency situation doesn’t mean it’s fine to act in whatever way is different from normal. High intensity of situation doesn’t generate a loophole to reality where someone molests someone else, but that isn’t what happened. A situation is what it consists of.

  138. Chrissy (UK) says:

    Justawoman
    I am sorry to hear of your horrible experience. I and many others on this site have had similar violating experiences with the medical profession and we understand how distressing this can be and how difficult it is to forget about it. Not only did you have the chaperone there, the doctor decided to use you as a training tool for the student nurses, without your consent. Effectively you were used as just a collection of body parts without any consideration of how you felt about it.

    I can’t answer your question on how to get over it as we are all very different, but I can only tell you that for me it has been immensely helpful finding other women who have understood my feelings of violation. I bottled it up for decades, because there was no one to talk to, no one who understood or wanted to understand. Many of the ‘well woman’ sites seem to be teeming with women who mock and bully those who don’t go along with the ‘programme’, saying it is all part of being a woman etc. I don’t believe feeling violated is all part of being a woman and I will no longer be bullied or coerced into anything I don’t want to do.

    It also has helped me to research the effectiveness of well woman exams and tests, to decide my own risk factors and effectively take control of my own body. I cannot undo the things they did to me, but I can make sure that in the future they are never repeated.

  139. Logan Schupp says:

    I hope someone responds to this soon. I am 17, my girlfriend (16) has been having ovarian cysts and she might have to get a pelvic exam. It bugged me before because I didn’t want doctors violating my girlfriend and now after reading this it is even worse. I cant for the life of me figure out how a pelvic exam helps out any more than an ultrasound would other than giving her gyn a boner. And my girlfriend is super beautiful so I really don’t want any male doctor down there! I honestly think some male doctors just want to take advantage of women and feel them up. I felt really selfish doing it but I told her do everything you can to avoid one and only do it if there is nothing else they can do. I just don’t get why it is necessary, and I also hate the thought of some stranger looking at my gf’s vagina and sticking his fingers up in there! I mean who could blame me. We arent sexually active and most importantly she is still a virgin ( I think that is my biggest problem with it) it bugs me so bad. What do I do??? I mean I live two hours away from her so its not like I can go to the doctors with her or anything to talk to them about it. But her female doctor said a pelvic exam would be the absolute last resort. I just hate thinking a stranger is going to be basically raping my gf to tell her what an ultrasound or something like that could.

    • Romina says:

      It absolutely unclear how a pelvic exam is supposed to help in case of ovarian cysts. Looks like some old-fashioned scam. Pelvic exams shouldn’t performed on virgins anyway. Your feelings and fears are absolutely legitimate.

      Your girlfriend should demand that the doctors explain her in every detail what procedures they are planning to do, and, most importantly, why exactly those procedures are needed. She shouldn’t sign any forms or “consents” without carefully reading them. And if there is anything in the text she doesn’t like or doesn’t want, she shout object and cross it out. If any medical practitioners tries to talk bull$hit that she can’t alter the consent forms, don’t believe that: it’s your girlfriend’s body and she has every legal right to decide what is done to her. The is no “must” in medicine for patients, no matter what the doctors say.

      If a doctor says or promises something that is hard to believe, ask them to put it in writing and sign it. The quacks are very good at making us to sign papers, but they rarely so keen on signing same in return.

      The best tactics for dealing with doctors is:
      - know the facts,
      - know your rights,
      - be confident,
      - don’t sign anything without fully understanding it,
      - don’t rely on verbal promises of something important to you – tell them to put it in writing and sign it,
      - don’t make big decisions without thinking it through or getting a second opinion.

      • Alex says:

        Never thought of getting them to put something in writing & sign it. Good idea, Romina!

        A similar one is recording things (a cell phone on record in her bag/jecket/whatever would probably work)- I forgot about that. There’s all kinds of watches & pens & such that can do that (as well as have camcorder functions). I remember reading about a doctor that wore a recording pen as a necklace (guess what profession?). Another one I forgot is someone supportive to go with her if she goes to anyone. Someone that won’t act as the doctor’s back-up & will back up your girlfriend’s decisions.

    • Alex says:

      Read all of this, okay? First, look on the other threads on this site. I can’t remember which one, but I definitely remember it being mentioned a couple of times. Elizabeth & Kleigh seem to know a lot about that sort of thing. It seems that those cysts just come & go and don’t mean anything. Either way, there are EXTERNAL ultrasound/sonar type of things that can detect that (because they do try to ambush women with internal ones frequently). I remember being told numerous times that a pelvic exam is NOT a viable method of detecting ovarian cancer. There’s numerous risks & inaccuracies to things they “suggest” to women, so maybe this turns into a problem (or they try to add something else in that has their own problems, plus one thing can lead to another). Have her visit this site, at the very least- but I’ll tell you some things to help in the mean time:

      Any interface with a sexual area as a product of someone else’s decision-making is an attack (the variation doesn’t matter & it’s just called “iatrogenic detriment” when it’s a medical style of doing something). If a doctor poisoned someone with a needle, it’s still murder- a situation is what it consists of. It would probably still be a problematic methodology, even if it was a means to an end & wasn’t imposed- given the nature of what’s involved. It’s not immature to have bodily autonomy or go by your alignment on things (a lot of people seem to think that their alignment on a situation isn’t a factor to base a decision on & that’s not true). Neither is being skeptical of doctors (after all, they do make more money if you have a problem & can very well have whatever pervy reasons behind things- women included). Tell her these things or tell her that you want her to read something you saw when looking things up.

      I’ve posted numerous things on this type of subject & would be more than happy to talk about things with your girlfriend if she wants. An important thing to consider is that it is an inherent right to be inviolable. It may very well turn into the doctor lying, telling, or physically forcing something on her.

      They do tend to tell women “you don’t get this without that” with birth control & that’s not even legal. They say “this is our policy” & they don’t make their own decisions that this is something they’re GOING to do. Keep in mind: an action has to be engaged in order to occur, it doesn’t just mystically appear (so someone saying “need, must, have to, will be having” doesn’t mean anything- that’s just trying to convey the impression of a fixed situation, as if there exists no capacity for reality to “unfurl” any other way). It’s also not inherently part of being a woman (that’s like saying a punch in the face is an inherent part of being married- it’s an interjected action).

    • Kate (UK) says:

      Logan, both myself and my best friend have had Gyn issues over the years. We’ve both undergone numerous pelvic exams & vaginal/abdominal ultrasounds in order to find the causes, but no problem was ever found by these methods.
      I ended up having a laparoscopy (camera through the navel) and she had a hysteroscopy (camera passed into the womb via the vagina) and the causes of our problems were identified. I can’t say that either of us are better off for all the medical *care* we’ve received, though – ‘curing’ one problem seems to either have triggered other problems, or only offered temporary relief.
      I think the pelvic exam is simply a bad habit which doctors refuse to give up – a throwback to the old days when it simply seemed like a good idea to feel for things. We have the means to actually see inside the body now – there is no need to go blindly groping around a woman’s womb these days. As far as I’m aware, a Gynaecologist does not have cameras in their fingertips, and judging by my own experience their so-called *knowledge* of the female form could be written on the back of a postage stamp.
      My best friend was under the impression for some time that she only had one ovary because they only ever found one with the pelvics/ultrasounds. (She is overweight, though, which I believe makes it more difficult to *identify* everything. In which case, why bother doing those exams at all?). Yet when she had the hysteroscopy, ta dah, two ovaries!
      I was in a (physical) relationship at the time I went through all those useless pelvic exams and found them extremely distressing – I can’t imagine what effect it would have had on me had I been a virgin at the time. Makes my blood run cold!

      If I were in your GF’s situation I’d forget about doctors altogether and start looking for the answer myself. There are plenty of websites/forums where you can gain some knowledge or share experiences without being told you should ‘just trust your doctor’.

      The gender of the healthcare provider doesn’t matter that much to me. When I was pushed into having intimate exams, I never felt any less violated when the nurse/doctor was a female, and I know from experience that female doctors can be misogynists too.
      Yes, being ‘cared’ for by a female may ensure there’s no sexual overtones, but there’s no guarantee you won’t be taken advantage of anyway – Gynaecology is a billion-dollar industry and you may be pushed into tests/treatments you may not want or need in order to line the doctor’s pocket.

      P.S. I wouldn’t take any comfort in the fact that your GF’s mom will be with her – she’s a faithful follower of this Gyn, right? So she’s not going to know if he tries to take advantage of her daughter, since he may have been doing the same to her for years. Don’t think for one minute that a sexual predator only goes after the pretty ones – I’m sure the power that these doctors have over vulnerable women is a turn-on in itself.

  140. Logan Schupp says:

    Thanks for all of the replies. Her female PA gave her a super fast one without visually examining anything with the speculum. She just felt a couple things real quick and got out. Everything felt alright according to her. Now they think she might have endometriosis or something of the sort and they did an ultrasound yesterday to determine what is wrong. Now she has to see a gynecologist (her moms but he is a guy btw) and I don’t know if that means she automatically needs another pelvic exam and all of that because of her problems or if he will just look at the results and determine what is wrong without getting all touchy feely. That is what I hope anyway. I am just totally against pelvic exams for any woman. If I was a doctor with an ultrasound machine I wouldn’t ever even think about using pelvic exams to diagnose patients! What makes me feel better is her mom will be in the room and it is a trusted man doing it (he has been her moms gyno for awhile) I just don’t see it necessary to perform one.

    • Logan,

      I encourage you to ask your girlfriend to cancel her appt. with the male gynecologist. She should see a female gynecologist instead. You should print out this article about why women should avoid male doctors for intimate examinations at http://patientmodesty.org/avoidmaledocs.aspx. Also, check out tips about how women can prevent sexual abuse by male doctors at http://sexualmisconductbydoctors.com/femaletips.aspx. You should do whatever you can to protect your wife. It is very likely that the male doctor will want to do a pelvic exam or at least examine her vagina & cervix.

      Misty

    • Alex says:

      Maybe tell her about Mayan Uterine Massage. It’s an external stomach rub that she can do herself & seems to be useful for that (and a massive amount of other things). I’d definitely suggest she looks into natural things for whatever issues (at the very least, it’s something she can most likely do herself & will actually work- but it also reduces the oppurtunities for attack & deception).

      Being trusted means nothing. Look at how someone could be a trusted member of the family, but also a child molestor. Do I even need to mention the whole “mother daughter” angle? It might very well mean getting another exam that she doesn’t feel right about after the fact & if this guy steers things in a problematic way or screws something up that’s going to be found out through experience.

      It speaks well of you that you wouldn’t put women through things like that. Even as a means to an end it tends to be a problem.

    • Logan,

      I wanted to let you know about a male doctor who used his watch to film female patients at http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2406993/Wootton-Bassett-doctor-used-spycam-watch-film-intimate-examinations-banned-profession.html. You should show this case to your girlfriend. This is exactly why she should cancel her appt. with the male gynecologist. He could secretly film her without her ever knowing.

      The comments that the mother made to her daughter when she expressed she felt degraded were very disturbing: Her mother assumed that they were talking and had not realised how long he had been intimately examining her daughter.

      Her mother assumed that they were talking and had not realised how long he had been intimately examining her daughter.

      Her mother said: ‘When she came out of the room, I commented on how long it had taken and she said she’d never felt so degraded in her life. I remember saying “Welcome to our world”, because all women have to endure that kind of thing at some point. I feel so stupid now.’

      Misty

      • Alex says:

        She should! I remember a story where a woman had, basically, ruined her daughter’s future. She dragged her kid into one thing (that her daughter had problems with & that cuased physical issues), then another thing (which she also had issues with & which also caused problems)- then her daughter would definitely have problems trying to have a family.

        She actually had the audacity to explain that that was her way of trying to protect herself! As if this wouldn’t make sense & bears explaining! She didn’t want to do 10 minutes of research (which would be a pretty typical thing to do), didn’t want to look at doctors suspiciously (since they do make more money if they lie to you, cause problems, or just don’t fix them), didn’t want to think that them being dictatorial & imposing things of this nature is an issue (and, thus, not something to factor in as a sign of distrustability), and didn’t care on way or another about her daughter’s alignment on this situation. Now she feels so bad & wishes she protected her daughter better.

        I don’t really get how women figure this is just what will happen. If this situation is not engaged, it doesn’t happen. Do they figure they just WILL be in a car crash at some point in life? No, of course not. If you don’t floor it into traffic, you won’t get that effect. How someone’s own mother can be that spiteful is beyond me. I’d think mommy would be the last person that would be that way. “Make sure the kid doesn’t drown in the pool so the doctor can attack them later, whatever that happens to mean.” I guess that’s the reasoning.

  141. Logan,

    I also noticed that your girlfriend is a virgin. Many male doctors have taken advantage of virgin girls. I encourage you to talk her about how she should not go to her mom’s male gynecologist. Did you know that some girls have been sexually abused by their ,mom’s male gynecologist? I would love to help your girlfriend. She can contact me at http://www.patientmodesty.org/contact.aspx.

    Misty

  142. Kleigh says:

    I agree with patient modesty. I dont care if a male doctor is nice I personaly dont want any mans hands inside of me esp my husband. When I was 17 I had pain in my side I went to a walk in clinc with a male doctor. I felt rushed into a pelvic exam and had no idea that the doctor was going internaly. It turned out to be related to digestion and I feel now that other problems shouls have been ruled out first befor puting me thru that exam. At the time I was under my parents insureance and I now feel like he was trying to get paid for a pelvic. I knew it was not gyn related I could have told him that to starte off with had he informed me what a pelvic exam was. I regret leting that man touch me.

    • Alex says:

      I’m sorry to hear that, Keligh. I’ve got to ask- since I’ve heard it so many times- when it starts to look like things are going that way, why don’t women put a stop to it? It becomes obvious, I’d think (when someone’s telling you to take your clothes off, much less get in more accessible positions, I’d figure that would set off some warning bells that something’s up). I know they ambush women a lot, but I’d think it’d still be the same reaction (just a lot faster). I’m not trying to blame the victim- I just don’t understand where the woman hits a snag.

      I guess if women were taught to have bodily autonomy & that they should say “I refuse that procedure,” maybe it’d make things easier. It doesn’t matter waht they say back, you’re not striving for an agreement- just for things going your way. It doesn’t have to be replying in a harmonious manner. If they were to say something along the lines of “we need or you have to,” saying that you refuse doesn’t exactly blend- but it really doesn’t need to. If they say something is mandated or required, saying “your mandate/requisite is dissolved/abrogated.” “You are not permitted to do this procedure,” is another one. Saying that your “right to bodily autonomy is not abrogated in an emergency.” Making the point of terming something an “iatrogenic attack” tends to be a bit more scary than “that’s not right”- which should work, but it typically doesn’t.

      Maintaining a refusal might be hard if you valued what the other side thought about things (but there’s, of course, no reason for that). I guess maybe it’s the stress of being in a serious confrontation? I suppose someone could also be worried that things are going to go in a physcially confrontational way if someone is already trying the subtle approach. I’ve heard the phrase “the force of someone’s intentions”- maybe that’s an aspect? I don’t know what to call that, but it is a discernible thing.

  143. Name withheld (UK) says:

    I was prompted to write again after watching the movie, The Debt” with Helen Mirren. It made me think again how invasive and in many ways degrading an internal exam actually is. It’s bad enough performed by a woman, I cannot imagine what it must be like if performed by a man.
    The healthcare system may be rooted in the past, but we all need access to it in the future. We need to know what our rights are. We should ask questions, and if we don’t get answers, ask someone else. Our bodies and our health are sacred. We must all support and educate those we care about.
    In the 21st century there is no reason to have anything but same sex doctors. To have a male perform an intimate exam on a woman is, if you think about it; quite archaic and ridiculous. Just ask to have a female perform it. To have a male routinely feel a woman’s breasts or place a finger inside her vagina isn’t acceptable anymore; deep down we all know this. Many times, female nurses can now collect samples, etc. anyway.
    Collective consultations are becoming more common within a group setting for discussion. There’s no need for a patient to attend. Male and female professionals can become involved. The patient’s name can be annonymised anyway and test results, ultra sound, slides, even imagining can be used following a same sex exam.
    In the 70’s many men, and indeed women thought that men’s behavior as sexual predators was acceptable, but education, belief systems, rules and legislation have all helped correct this a little. Abuse, as we all know, is still rife elsewhere. The medical profession is at least high profile and under some scrutiny but we need to make it clear what we want of it.
    Although my wife says that even after nearly 40 years it still makes her feel sick, our experiences aren’t easy to shrug off which illustrates the effect of sexual abuse for years to come. Perhaps it is ridiculous to accept that a doctor helped a patient off with some of her clothes, including underwear. Three monthly exams seem ridiculous even if the doctor said was checking something. That there was no chaperone, no gown, no gloves worn, but gentle words of kind and soothing encouragement go a long way to offset having what felt like an erection pushed against you.
    Provided with great reassurance, and if you have never experienced an internal exam, but been told the doctor performing it is safe and professional, then two ungloved fingers inside your vagina and a thumb resting on your sensitive spot could be normal despite the feelings it started to produce. Had it not been for the placement of her hand on his erection and his smile she could have been abused for longer.
    She was lucky to have turned her head away and have him let go of her hand and remove his fingers. Much later she confided in a lady doctor who was absolutely furious too.
    I think if we keep to same sex exams, everyone would be safer, including decent and professional male doctors.

    It’s all been said earlier;
    1. Know the facts,
    2. Know your rights,
    3. Be confident,
    4. Don’t sign anything without fully understanding it,
    5. Don’t rely on verbal promises of something important to you – tell them to put it in writing and sign it,
    6. Don’t make big decisions without thinking it through or getting a second opinion
    7. Keep to same sex physical examinations.

    It’s time for a change and we all have the responsibility to do so.

  144. Kathy says:

    Thank you for your honesty and candor. The secrecy about the truth is stunning. I am particularly offended at the way Drs look at women, including their professional contacts, as objects to discuss as if they are dogs at a show. I was abused by a male doctor emotionally and physically, and no one seems to get that this is not some isolated problem for women who are vulnerable to their position and power. I cannot ever go to a man again. I have PTSD now.

  145. Anonymous says:

    Kathy, I understand how you feel. I feel violated too, and have PTSD from my exam. Hugs.

  146. I wanted to encourage people from this group to consider sharing their comments and insights on the discussion on Dr. Bernstein’s blog at http://bioethicsdiscussion.blogspot.com/2013/09/patient-modesty-volume-58.html#c8389997880291099280. Don started an excellent discussion. Then other women such as Jean, Belinda, me, etc. shared our comments. I shared my comments yesterday. Dr. Bernstein replied by asking if there were any humanistic reasons men would go into the OB/GYN field. I feel some people in this group could provide additional insights.

    Misty

  147. Lucie says:

    For years I thought I was the only person against this! When I tried explaining my feelings to other women all I would hear is that I need to grow up! It’s part of being a women and I was being childish… My first time being pregnant I had a female midwife, she will perform a breast exam at every visit. Being naive I allowed it, until I started questioning her actions. There was no need to have a breast exam every month. Then i started to think how all of my appointments would take 45 minutes when other women went in and out. She will also comment on how pretty I was and how certain colors looked great with my skin tone. I felt violated and it bothers me until this day. My husband also had to have a psychical for work, and the doctor invited everyone and their mothers to come in and take a turn examining his parts after he had told the idiot that he did not feel comfortable with this. I was so angry and ready to raise some hell at the clinic but he wouldnt tell me where it was. My close friend is also an ER RN and talks about how the OBs make fun of women for shaving before having an exam done. Or how they will invite a fellow doctor to exam the patient when the patient was attractive. She also often talks about patients’parts and laughs about how she had to wash a man’s penis and the size of it. I seriously feel that I have to prepare myself for a fight every time I had to go in for my prenatal visits. When I was about to start JR high I had to fight the doctor off me who was angry that i did not allow her to do a pelvic exam. She told me that next time I will HAVE to have one or she wouldn’t see me… I do feel better and more confident knowing that I am not the only person who feels this way.

    • Alex says:

      That type of thing makes my skin crawl! If someone said that to my daughter I’d probably kill her. How dare her say she WON’T see you if she can’t probe you? That is iatrogenic molestation of a child. If someone decided to snatch someone up & do some aggressive role-playing with them, that would be an attack- whether the one attacked was a child or not (it’s just worse if someone DOES go after a child). What about the dirty relative that wants to “play doctor?” Is that somehow fine?

      It’s sickening that other women think so well of someone harassing or abusing their child. What? Do they think that they’re somehow strong or mature for letting someone else do act at their own discretion toward them? It’s not downtrodden or immature to have bodily autonomy or to take issue with someone attacking you (whatever the variation is).

      Look at something: It’s still murder if a doctor poisons someone with a needle. Overall, a situation is what it consists of. Any interface with a sexual area (specifically a penetrative one, in this case) as a product of someone else’s decision-making is an attack. Also, the additional risks & inaccuracies are aggravating factors (maybe a woman has a miscarriage from injuries caused by the ramification of these procedures- not exactly saving lives there). This would be like a guy acting like it’s manly to let someone throw him over a bunk in prison!

    • Jola says:

      To Lucie
      For sure, she was a perverted woman – that female midwife.
      As for gynaecological exam and the pap crap as well as breast exam during pregnancy – you have the right to decline all of them. Nobody can impose them on a pregnant woman. The problem is women aren’t aware of their rights. It’s your business how you want your pregnancy to be taken care of. Whatever they say and if they say they won’t help you with your pregnancy, you still have the right to have your blood tested and have scans (2 as far as I remember). In Britain, for example, there are no pelvic exams during pregnancy and no breast exam, either. The same is in Holland, Scandinavia and Ireland. Women are the same everywhere. How come women in the US and many other countries have their pregnancy taken care of so ”invasively”. There are women who don’t go to a doctor while pregnant as they just don’t wish so. BTW, just my question – do Muslim women in the US have gynaecological exams during pregnancy? I can’t imagine that – for these women their nakedness and especially private parts are a taboo. I don’t believe they can be treated in the same way as non-Muslim women.

  148. Jb says:

    In response to your statements; you stated your wife had a hysterectomy for benign disease. You did not mention her Pap smear history. It is important for her to have yearly Pap smears after hysterectomy. HPV virus can still cause abnormal cell changes on the vaginal cuff which if left untreated can cause cancer. This is called VIN 1, 2, or 3. Pre hysterectomy CIN 1,2 or 3. I think you are giving your own wife poor medical advice! Secondly, was her colonoscopy for screening at the age of 50? Does she have family hx of colon ca? Did she complain of bloating? Pain? Etc? If so a pelvic exam is warrented! It sounds to me the GI was being very thorough! Due to her hysterectomy for that benign disease… At such a young age…I am assuming she had fibroids possibly… Does she retain her ovaries? Bloating and pain are symptoms of ovarian cancer…. And since you advised her not to see a gyn anymore.. What if that GI found an enlarged ovary with a tumor during that pelvic exam…? That of course would not be found by colonoscopy…and he in turn saved her life!! You sir need to spend less time with your little survey, and spend more time on educating yourself.

    • Alex says:

      Who are you talking to? It doesn’t seem that anyone mentioned that here.

      Either way, if some doctor imposes a situation of this nature, that’s an attack. The doctor doesn’t decide things for themselves. Also, their actions are not “warranted.” Whether or not there’s the potential for utility to a procedure, that doesn’t generate some kind of abrogating “trump-card” that cancels out the patient’s decisions. The doctor doesn’t assume proprietorship of the patient- even if they want to. By-the-way: If the doctor’s actions are “warranted,” doesn’t that mean the patient’s blocking of those actions is “unwarranted?” That they are “wronging” the doctor? Self-determined decisions on the patient’s part is not an attack on the doctor.

      Apparently, pelvic exams don’t detect ovarian cancer, but ultrasounds can- why not suggest those? The medical responses to cancer don’t tend to work very well & if someone dies in surgery, that’s not saving their life. Living a less cancerous lifestyle might very well do that (whether as a preventative measure or a counteractive one). Not getting stressed out from thinking their going to die of something they might not even have would be helpful. Not sustaining any of the problems generated by these procedures 9or their complications) would be a benefit, too.

    • Karen says:

      “HPV virus can still cause abnormal cell changes on the vaginal cuff which if left untreated can cause cancer”

      I can’t even look at this topic anymore, because of this tsunami of patronising nonsense. Rationally I know how important it is to raise awareness about the abuse going on thinly disguised as medicine, and I used to answer questions of desperate teenagers on yahoo answers, and used to challenge women who thought they and their 3 best friends had cervical cancer at 22, and doctors who thought they know best, etc., but there was this constant feeling of hitting a wall, running into these authoritarian know-it-all do-gooders who want WOMEN TO KNOW THEIR PLACES. In response to this comment I quoted above I can(we can) cite the facts about the absurd rarity of vaginal cancer, how the pap smear has never been through clinical trials to prove it is effective against vaginal cancer (oh hang on, neither for cervical cancer) but do you know what I think the point is? These people who like the idea of women being controlled and women’s sexuality being controlled and regulated will always come up with some new absurd nonsense to test for and some new disgusting technology to test with. So how about this:
      Dear Jb, don’t DARE to lecture other women like naughty little school kids about what they do or won’t do with their vagina…? No-one “needs” these tests, you need to, no you HAVE TO suck it up that some don’t buy into the hysteria, live their lives happily and enjoy their sexuality and health without this whole regimen straight out of the nazi concentration camps and slave camps. Are you jealous, or are you even a man?

    • Alice (Australia) says:

      Well said, Karen!

  149. Moo says:

    In order to have VIN, there would have to be an HPV infection. In Some countries such as the Netherlands self tests for HPV are available. If a self HPV test was negative then there would be no yearly nonsense of a yearly Pap test.

    Doctors lie to patients and omit “truths” such as risk factors all the time. They want to make money and cover themselves from lawsuits for such as 0.5 percent or less chance of malignancy.

    • Jb says:

      Hpv is a virus. It can lay dormant. A negative “self test” would deem no need for yearly Pap smears? So say you perform this “self test” on yourself…and it is a positive result..then what… You then decide to have a Pap smear? Nevertheless with any ” self test” you buy..ultimately , when that “self test” shows a positive result …. What then.?…you seek treatment for your “self diagnosed condition” where as then your doctor must confirm your ” store bought self test result” and discuss with you a plan of care/ treatment. I agree with a lot of comments on this sight. Insurance company’s are a rip off, I have seen practioners ” treat their patient according to how much money they can get out of them”….and perform useless , but money making tests on these patients.
      But I do believe in yearly Pap smears, mammo’s, colonoscopy’s, etc. in my opinion these over the counter self tests to detect: uti’s, saliva hormone levels, etc…are a ” load of crap”. So what is the “self treatment ” for your ” self test for hpv?”, when you get a positive result?

    • ADM says:

      On what conclusive scientific basis do you base your recommendations on since they are counter to current medical recommendations. Do you have results of randomized controlled trials clearly proving that cancer screening saves lives. There are no RCTs for CC and pap smears. It’s probably just coincidental that the three tests you recommend yearly are the one’s that Dr’s get incentive payments for. Do you also test your patients (I’m assuming that your are some sort of medical personnel) yearly for lung cancer as it’s second most common to breast cancer in women and prostate cancer in men. Do you recommend yearly prostate testing for your male clients. What about brain scans for brain cancer or tests for pancreatic cancer since they also occur more often than CC in women. And no CC is not now rare because of the pap smear it was always a rare cancer. Do you discuss heart disease with your patients since it is the number killer of women and of people world wide according to the World Health Organization. Before it becomes an argument no cancer is not a major killer of people world wide. It is not even in the top 10, just check out the WHO website. Do you discuss the risk and benefits of cancer screening with your patients since your recommendations of screening are excessive. How many of your patients endure the psychological trauma of a “scare” and the physical possibly dangerous situations of followups for false positives. Do you explain that screening tests are not conclusive and they can miss cancers and there is a greater risk of false positives. Do you also explain that they have the right to decline any screening tests without coercion and fear of reprisal and that you ethically have to respect that. I think recommendations such as these prove the point that at the clinical level many Dr’s and medical personnel are not going to follow the changes in screening recommendations.

    • mary says:

      JB I don’t think you understand what an HPV self test is. You do not “self-diagnose”. The sample is send to a lab for analysis and FYI, the test has been evaluated for its accuracy against doctors taking a sample and it compares favourably. A little more research and a little less patronising by you would be appreciated.

      • Jb says:

        How do you take the test? Where is it collected from? Is this a test that is covered by insurance? I live in Florida, I have never heard of this test. Sincerely..jb

    • Alice (Australia) says:

      Jb, HPV self-test is not a “self-diagnose then left-treat” device. It is a tool that helps you to determine whether you can benefit from pap tests, and, subsequently, avoid a high chance of unnecessary harm that is inherent in regular pap-testing.

      Also the “HPV lies dormant and can always kill you later” theory has not been confirmed yet. However, bear in mind that if we couldn’t develop immunity against HPV, the vaccination (so highly recommended by your beloved medical establishment) wouldn’t work.

    • Alice (Australia) says:

      Jb, it is not a question whether it is 100%, 99% or less. It is a question whether humans do develop immunity against HVP. And the answer should be either “yes” or “no”.

      The medical establishment keeps insisting that we don’t fight HPV off and don’t develop immunity against it. Which means that either the vaccination enterprise is a complete scam or they are lying to us about immunity.

  150. Moo says:

    You can self treat for HPV or go to a naturopath. But the issues here that people are discussing are about privacy, aggressive over treatments, patient information and choice, corruption and greed in the medical system. Some people might choose to have paps after a positive HPV test. In the NEtherlands self HPV tests are offered every five years to assympamatic women and then paps and treatments for women who might need them.

    If you want yearly medical tests from your doctor, go ahead and get them. It should be your choice, not forced upon you. Just read through some of the articles on this website and OPEN your eyes.

    The HPV dormancy theory is just that, a theory. It has never been proven by research. Many people here have been doing research, reading published scientific and medical papers. Some even work in the field. Even for women who test HPV positive, studies have shown that most HPV infections will clear up in two years without causing cancer and some others in five years. So what makes a doctor rush to treat and multilateral women in a few weeks when most cervical cancers take decades of persistent infection to cause cancer. Pap tests are very inaccurate anyway. Colposcopies are intrusive and women are often coerced into aggressive treatments when they have them.

  151. Karen says:

    http://edition.cnn.com/2013/09/29/world/meast/saudi-arabia-women-driving-cleric/

    “”If a woman drives a car,” Al-Loheidan told Saudi news website sabq.org in an interview, “it could have a negative physiological impact … Medical studies show that it would automatically affect a woman’s ovaries and that it pushes the pelvis upward.”

    Rationality is so out of the window when it comes to exerting control over women (for their own good, obviously).

  152. Karen says:

    -through the medical industry. I forgot to finish the last sentence, it is still early over here.

  153. Moo says:

    The digene HPV self testing device is not available in Canada or united sates because they are only allowed to sell HPV tests that are used with Pap tests. It is the same manufacturer. The medical community in North America will just not give up their lucriative Pap tests and useless pelcpvic exams. They are also misusing the HPV test to scare women into getting more colposcopist and treatments.

    I read that some people have used Tagamet for getting rid of warts. It is an antacid stomache medication but seems to have an effect on virtuses.

  154. i found this article called other side of speculum a male doctors point of view. this article i read was very informative now i understand when i had my first pap smear the way the dr acted plus i didnt like how the nurse was in the room. someone who had pap said nurse has to be in there in case patient accuses dr of doing something else. anyway when i had very first it hurt alot becuase im still a virgin so im really tight. when i kept jerking off the table sayin ouch the nurse had smirk on her face stupid witch! the dr didnt say sorry or anything he continued exam. finally when he asked does are you okay? i didnt answer i realized he didnt fucking care. he stopped the exam asked again said i dont want hurt you. i said in pissed tone what do you think fine whatever. i never went back to him. found female dr explained to her how im virgin last 1 hurt real bad im so tight. female dr did better job only time it hurt was when she had to get the sample she was excellent. guys are just to rough and dont care i agree totally with this article i read. plus having female dr didnt have a nosy nurse in their either. :)

  155. Anonymous says:

    Susan, if you’ve never been sexually active, why are you having pap testing? You might care to look at the evidence, you’re putting yourself through unpleasant and painful testing – you can’t benefit, but you can certainly be harmed by false positives, excess biopsies etc. and they’re common. Understand the necessary first step for cervix cancer is exposure to high risk HPV, a sexually transmitted infection. Most countries exclude virgins from this testing, I assume you’re American, they test at 21 regardless…it seems to me they justify this abuse by saying some women may lie about their sexual history “to get out” of testing. This shows the warped thinking that exists in medicine, this is an elective screening test that legally and ethically requires our informed consent. Challenge any doctor denying your right to choose, they have no right to make assumptions about us, to accept risk on our behalf or to make healthcare decisions FOR us, that’s paternalistic nonsense that needs to be addressed.

    • Alex says:

      You’re absolutely correct & phrased it beautifully! It’s sexually antagonsitic (because it’s an interface with a sexual area as a product of someone else’s decision-making & properties don’t change because of designation) & the fact that things of this nature are presented as non-antagonistic is something that needs to be redressed.

      If any detriements are realized from the various risks & inaccuracies of this situation, that’s now an aggravated iatrogenic assualt. Another point is that altruism doesn’t produce ownership- so even if someone DID want to “help women,” as is frequently maintained, that doesn’t not entitle them to apply influence at their discretion. Same goes for “intellectual negation” (the idea of “What comes from me is an “A” & what comes from you is a “B” at best, so I outmatch you”). They impose their own decisions in contradiction to someone else’s & then act like that’s what HAPPENED, but not what OCCURRED. That’s crazy, because what happens IS what occurs!

      They also don’t get to act at will on any occupational grounds, either (“it’s my business & I’ll run it any way I want”). That’s like a cab driver saying “I’ll drop you off wherever I feel like & it’s not me kidnapping you, because I’m using occupational means to do it.” Imagine if that same cab driver (or anyone else) added in: “And it’s slavery for you to counteract this.”

      Anyway, I just wanted to complement your stance & phrasing. I know someone doesn’t have to be able to articulate a problem in order to understand it, but it definitely helps with having “ammo” for arguments. It’s also sometimes good for getting various medical personnel to back off- I guess they worry about what something will sound like in court. It could also be not having an easy target- it’s not fun anymore. Maybe they like deception, specifically? Maybe the whole “this was your fault” thing? I know that happens with a lot of other things along these lines, so if someone “allowed” it under deception or duress- now they feel like it’s their fault & that might just be what someone tells them if they bring it up. “Just don’t have it,” is the typical response, but it’s easier said than done & it might just be a situation of outright force.

  156. Moo says:

    Some doctors give the news of a vaginal infection (could be bacterial, fungal, protozoan or viral, whether if could be sexually transmitted or not) in a very negative or judgemental manner. The tone of voice and body language is accusatory. It is so much different than the delivery of the results of any other diagnostic procedure such as an X-ray or throat culture.

    The number of sexual partners or age of sexual debut really has nothing to do with a diagnosis or patient care if a woman has HPV. Only if her partner needs to know but usually with HPV it does not matter unless the partner is female. It has to do with collecting data for epidemiology studies. Why are women being forced into studies and government data bases without their consent or even knowledge?

  157. Angel says:

    Very interesting read. When I was 18, I was having an awful time with periods (or lack their of) My periods straight up stopped for 4 years and I was never able to find out why. I was severely sexually abused as a child by my father. It went all the to rape. I never told anyone about the abuse until later in life so when I was 18, I had never had a pelvic exam before. I was always too terrified to get checked out. I didn’t need birth control or anything because I was terrified of having sex. A friend recommended her OBGYN and even though he was a man, he was very patient, kind and understanding. When he first came in to introduce himself – he was very nice and friendly. I disclosed my abuse and also told him I’ve never had an exam like this before. He seemed kind of shocked and asked why I hadn’t been checked out as a child after my parents divorced and I never saw my father again. I explained that I hadn’t disclosed to abuse until many years later. When it was suggested I get examined – I always refused out of fear. The doctor listened and was genuinely concerned and seemed to care. He knew that I was petrified to be touched in that way by ANYONE – I’ve never let a boyfriend even get that far with me. The look of empathy on his face was encouraging. He said that he would be gentle and as quick as he can. He said the nurse could hold my hand and that I would be in control the whole time. But when it came time to actually get into the stirrups, it changed. He said he usually did the bimanual exam after the speculum exam, but he needed to make sure I could relax the muscles down there so that the speculum wouldn’t be painful. I froze – I literally was like a deer in the headlights. He started with just one finger and when he would get to a certain spot, he would say “Can you feel where I’m touching? Right here?” I’d nod to him “I need you to relax that muscle” This when on for about 30 seconds and then he added a second – I immediately tensed and just “shhhhh” ed and “cooed” me and kept calling me “Darlin’ and telling me it was okay and to relax. When it came time for the speculum I had tears streaming down my face. I asked him to stop and he said he was almost done and didn’t stop. He then told me he had to do a recto-vaginal exam. I so badly wanted to sit up and run away – but fear kept me paralyzed. I could tell from her nurses face that she didn’t agree with what was going on – but she didn’t say a damn word. When he started that last part of the exam I literally yelped out loud but then stayed silent as he finished. It was a total nightmare. The results came back that there was a lot of scar tissue and damage to my cervix. I never went back and it’s been 6 years and I have never been to an OBGYN since. In a very tiny, miniscule way – it’s like he enjoy it during the exam.

    • Alex says:

      That’s horrible! Sounds like a real “sheep with snake’s fangs” type of thing. He put you at ease with all the empathy & concern, but in reality he was the exact opposite of all that. You tell him to stop & he doesn’t is a problem on it’s own. Then adding in more things is another issue (none of the stuff at the end was mentioned, beforehand- I’m sure). “Bait & switch” is a common tactic of the medical profession & it obviously starts with them acting non-antagonistic & like they really care. All this knowing full-well about your history & adding to it- that’s very sadistic. The properties of a situation don’t change because of designation, so him doing this to you with medical procedures is an attack.

      By-the-way: The nurses or whoever else is there is only there to back up the DOCTOR, not you. Whatever the official story, that’s what happens functionally. She didn’t speak up for you & that was, theoretically, the whole point of here being there. If they don’t engage in countering the doctor, they’re not much help as a guard against them are they?

      Overall, “outside orchestration” is a pretty common thing with medical personnel. It doesn’t really matter what the angle is, there’s a general trend of THEM comporting the situation & arranging details. “Oh, you have a rash on your shoulder? Well, get completely naked & we’ll check that out. What? That’s how we do things.” Third-party orchestration of things like this is an attack in itself & a lot of people don’t hear that.
      Any interface with a sexual area as a product of someone else’s decision-making is an attack, in this case an “iatrogenic” one (means medical attack). An imposed situation of this nature is NOT non-antagonistic, as it tends to be presented frequently (even by shrinks- apparently even when someone is TELLING them that they had a problem, they dispute this situation as if it was a matter of their own assessment).

      I don’t mean to lecture you, but I figure this is the kind of thing that might come up in some way (at the very least, if people argue with you- you can always say to them “If a doctor poisons someone with a needle, it’s still murder” & they most likely won’t have anything else to say).

  158. Moo says:

    Dear Angel.

    Maybe you should not get another exam unless you feel it is necessary due to pain or wanting to have a baby. Focus on your healing, not just physically but emotionally, spiritually.

    What happened to you was really terrible. Abuse is terrible even more when a parent abuses. Doctors can also abuse but most of them do not understand how much a pelvic exam can affect a survivor of abuse. There are accommodations that can be offered yet many are not aware. I feel that even then it is that most survivors seek exams because they are pressured by peers and mot because it is going to help them in anyway.

  159. The Freak says:

    I can relate to the mental anguish some others have posted about concerning gyno exams. My story is a little different though. I started going through what is referred to as precocious puberty and at age 7 started menstruating. When I told my mom I had been bleeding for several days (and hiding my soiled underwear so she wouldn’t find out) I was taken to my pediatrician. This creepy old man doctor ordered me to undress completely then fondled my developing breasts in what even then I recognized at that age was a perverted way as he was practically drooling. For reasons I cannot understand he did a very painful pelvic exam on me putting his entire hand inside my vagina, tearing my skin despite me crying. Why was it necessary to give me a pelvic exam because I started menstruating early? Things only got worse when he sent me that very same day to some sort of specialist who a hour later gave me a 2nd pelvic exam including photographing my genitalia while ordering my mother to hold me down with my legs pried open. So I felt like I was raped by two doctors plus betrayed by my mother for allowing the photographs. From what I can remember the doctor suggested because my genitalia is a little abnormal from other girls that I might be a hermaphrodite so he told my parents during a conference that he wanted to do exploratory surgery to see if I had extra internal organs (which as an adult I am assuming he meant to see if I had testes in addition to ovaries). I was able to convince my mom not to take me back to him so I avoided the surgery. It did help that my dad said no way in hell could he afford the cost of the surgery. A few years later I developed a terrible sore throat so my mom took me back to the first pediatrician. After telling him my throat hurt he demanded I undress and he did a breast exam and another pelvic exam FOR A SORE THROAT. He then told my mom I had nothing wrong with me and was just trying to get attention.

    Skip again till age 32 I managed to avoid gyno exams again till at that age the ob/gyno who was treating me for a thyroid condition insisted I have a pap even though I have never had sex with men, only females. I told her of my past history. She made fun of me and said I was not a hermaphrodite even though in the next breath she told me I was made different and offered to cut off the extra tissue she said “if it will make you feel better”. How would cutting off part of my body make me feel better? The exam she did was extremely painful because I do have a small erectile organ that grows out of the vaginal opening so the speculum smashed it and it got pinched in between the metal mechanisms or springs of the speculum which caused me a lot of pain. She didn’t care and just continued to make fun of me looking different, but also for being worried I was made different and for me telling her the other doctor had told my parents I was both genders. The part where she scraped the cervix with the bottle-brush looking thing was so terrible I hurt inside and spotted blood for nearly a week afterwards. Despite telling me I wasn’t both gendered, or a hermaphrodite, she later told me that I apparently had testicular tissue as there was no other way I could have such high testosterone levels in my blood test because she could find nothing wrong with my adrenal glands which is the only other possibility for having high T as a female. I was also tested for PCOS which came back negative. So 12 years later here I am I’ve not had another pelvic exam because I am fearful of the humiliation and the pain and not wanting to be made fun of because I am made different. This has even prevented me from getting knee surgery because I was afraid of being undressed in hospital and being “found out” that I am some kind of freak. I am still tormented by fact I was photographed naked as a child and two old men doctors put their entire hand inside of me basically for no medical reason other than to just get their jollies. To this day I hate doctors and I hate men and distrust people in general so I avoid relationships including close friendships because I am scared of being assaulted again and also I feel like nobody could even accept me if they knew I was born some sort of freak. I no longer even pursue lesbian relationships, if it can even be called that since I am not exactly a woman considering my extra organs, but after some women commented on me being different and turned off by my body I’m like why even bother trying to have a relationship with anyone anymore.

    • A says:

      “The Freak “, it is a very sad story. Those two doctors in your childhood, and then the other obgyn later, basically ruined your self-esteem, your happiness and your life. They damaged and scarred you at a very early age so much, that you can’t be in a happy relationship anymore. This is terrible. You have a big reason to hate doctors now. That is very understandable.

      What I can’t understand however, is how these medical criminals keep getting away with such things. Doctors are supposed to make us feel better, yet they are doing the exact opposite, one way or another. I know for myself – the further from medical establishment, the better. The only thing the medical system can possible be useful is traumas (accidents, broken bones, deep cuts, etc). In any other case doctors only cause more suffering. I don’t go to doctors, ever, nor anyone else in my family, including people in their late 90s. Everyone is just looking after themselves and leading healthy life. And everyone is fine.

  160. Karen says:

    I suspect somehow that The Freak, scared2, and Angel are the same person, a fledging BDSM fiction writer. I stopped reading the story of the freak, when they got treated for a thyroid condition by an ob-gyn. Surely even the US is not that bad.

  161. Anonymous says:

    Ack. I was really hoping to read something that would change my mind about men, yet once again the evidence stands. Even the “good” males out there have these types of thoughts? I mean, you admitted yourself that you did find yourself excited. Which I find so upsetting and sickening as a woman.

    • Alex says:

      All men aren’t like that, but the orientation tends to be toward women (not that someone can’t like causing someone else problems & be gay at the same time). That orientation can be a MOTIVATOR, not the way that all guys are lined up (a taste for compulsion doesn’t innately come included with being straight).

  162. B says:

    This is not really all that surprising. My mom has been a nurse for 30 years, & I work in a hospital. From the experience of her & others in the medical field, I can say most of the doctors have a well-known reputation for being difficult, arrogant, childish, throwing tantrums in the OR, yelling & fighting at work, cheating on their wives, carrying on affairs with nurses & even cleaning staff, using drugs, promiscous, partying, etc etc etc. A majority of the doctors I work with are…let’s just say… OFF! Just when I start to think one of them is normal, Bam! Their other side comes out & they either go off on someone rudely or act plain bizarre. My MIL worked in an ENT office & he is well-known for spending much longer time in the room with good looking younger women. We even had a dr. @ work scream, rip a phone off the wall & kick the door repeatedly, yep he still works there after that huge scene in a public space where pt.s rooms are. All I’m saying is from my experience dr.’s aren’t always the most stable people.

    That being said, I haven’t had any bad experiences OB wise thank goodness. Had a male from 16-26yo & he never made me feel uncomfortable (well more than I already was)–nothing pervy. He always just small talked during the exam to make it pass quickly & that was it, nothing extra or inappropriate. I also don’t remember any pelvic exams during pregnancy. Now I go to a female PA who I love & yes she still has me come for yearly as well & I don’t think it’s bc she wants to see my vagina more often! I am sure there are men who take advantage & are not professional but I think most just rec the yearly bc that is the norm. However I think this article is good to inform people of their rights and the options out there, that they don’t “have” to do things a certain way.

    • Alex says:

      This might sound like a stupid question, but why doesn’t anybody hit them? Seriously- if they’re acting that way they might just be a threat to the patient, if nothing else. Nothing at all to say that they don’t take it out on someone or maybe it clouds their judgement.

  163. lmc says:

    I feel so bad for all of the women who feel violated and I agree that women are made to feel that going to the GYN is almost a right of passage. I am now 49 and have had regular exams because I thought I had to and it was necessary. After the age of 24 there seemed to be more women doctors and Nurse Practitioners and never saw another male GYN (I had one old man who was horrible and very uncomfortable saw him once and never went back to him).

    I want to bring up a couple of issues that you should be aware of, some you might not realize. Doctors have Sales Reps from the different medical device companies in the O.R. this may or may not be on the consent form, please read the consent form very carefully and tell the doctor that you do not want medical students or sales reps in the room. This to me takes away a person’s dignity and respect when you have an audience with non-clinical personal and yes GYN sales reps are men.
    Also after hearing about pelvic exams being conducted on anesthetized women i was outraged. I have never had to go for surgery and this was never done to me however as a women and I think every women should be outraged that we collectively are treated in this manner. I actually wrote to my senator who is a women about this, and one of her aides contacted me. She left a voicemessage and I called her back only to get her voicemail so hopefully we will speak. I can lead her to some websites that I found from medical schools that actually put on the curriculum that pelvic exams are done on anesthetized women.
    Please don’t stop questioning your health and your ability to put your health in your control. Writing blogs is one thing but more women need to stand up for themselves so please write to your senator or even write to the heads of medical schools.

    • Alex says:

      What do the sales reps do? Is it like a “We’d like to put something here” type of a conversation or are they just hanging around as a general thing?

      Very suprised that you got a voicemail from them! May I ask what state you’re in?

      • lmc says:

        Hello Alex, I’ve asked Sales Reps why they are in the O.R. and there are a couple of reasons. One reason is the doctor may not be familair with a new product, however I find this disturbing they are doctors with training why would they need a sales rep showing them how to use the product. The other reason one said is for hand holding. This is for any surgery. I did contact the senator’s office and let me tell you the aide was shocked and said that she is going to be doing more research. This is for New Hampsire

  164. Moo says:

    Make up information pamphlets and take them to your mosque and religious organization. This assault on modesty needs to be stopped.

    • Alex says:

      Thanks, lmc. See what she thinks about iatrogenic attack, in general. A lot of people aren’t familiar with that term, but it’s any problem caused by medical treatment or advice.

      Doctors forcing internal exams on people is an attack of that nature & an aggravated one, at that (due to the risks & inaccuracies of these procedures- any ramifications realized are additional detriments). Some times you run into a snag, like someone saying “but they’re a doctor” or “that’s a medical procedure,” but if a doctor were to poison someone with a needle that’s still murder- because a situation is what it consists of. The properties of a situation don’t change because of designation. Just thought I’d add in a bit of ammo in case you run into an argument.

    • Alex says:

      Moo- I don’t get your post. Is it to me, because I’m not muslim. Either way, I’m not too sure they’d be the most receptive to women NOT having things imposed on them, particualrly something in range of sexual attacks.

      I was reading about this Tunisian women who, after having escaped her family, got recaptured by them & two of her relatives decided to check if she was a virgin! She said that was horrible & against her freedom, but it certainly seems like what it generally approved of in that culture.

  165. Liar Catcher says:

    As for the “doctor” on here who would make us believe that he has never taken advantage – has never had impure thoughts, never become aroused (while seated on his little stool, inspecting and inserting his fingers into an attractive women’s Vagina) – In other words, you would have us believe that when an attractive, confident, educated, pleasant women with great body comes into your little office for a pelvic, or breast exam – that it’s the same to you as the typical overweight, unattractive, average patient exam? Your so full of s*** I’m going to have to dig my way out of this website! Your NOT fooling us! You are no different than the rest of us Males that are attracted to Women. Not even a little bit. But I do believe you become very professional at not showing your attraction, indeed. Your all expects at Acting professional in these circumstances.
    Next, your going to tell us that you don’t masturbate or think about sex every seven seconds like every other man on the planet. You enjoy it all right, sometimes you enjoy your work on the “well women” visits very much. And I am Positive that you have your favourites like every other single doctor on the planet. Im seriously glad a Doctor has finally done the honourable thing in writing this article. I would be interested in the study that polls ‘Doctors wives or girlfriends’, in knowing what percentage of them are persuaded to go to Female Doctors for intimate health care concerns. I would hazard a guess in the percentage to be high.

  166. Monique says:

    I agree with the “liar” catcher. As if its not a perk! And what rings so true is another comment made that the only reason it is socially acceptable is because Women where not allowed to vote, let alone be Doctors back in the day, so we have all been sucked into this laughable mentality that men who are Doctors are somehow different because they have see it all before, or went to school for a number of years to study the female form? It is a ridiculous argument formulated by men, interested in protecting the good thing they’ve got going. The last thing they would want is for us women to be on to them. Men are forever checking me out but somehow when i go to the doctors office they are oblivious. Haha. I don’t go to male Doctors anymore for these procedures out of respect for myself, and my Husband. I also loathe the exposure of being in this position with a stranger. Yuck.

    • Alex says:

      I never understood how seeing something before influences the situation, somehow. Same with frequently doing something. What that something CONSISTS of is still the same, regardless of prior instances of occurance.

      Another point is that the composition of something is not changed if the one doing it doesn’t feel gratification. What about what’s happening to this person? If someone runs someone else over with a car, that’s still an attack- regardless of if the driver gets any satisfaction from it or even if they feel bad about it. Same with gender, occupation, or designation.

      Not that women can’t feel sexual gratification by doing something to another woman, but even if they didn’t- it doesn’t mean that it’s not an attack if imposed or a problematic methodology if consensual. Something that is a means to an end can still be an issue, after all.

      • Liar catcher says:

        Alex, i think your hearts in a good place but i would have to disagree with you in calling a pelvic exam an ” attack”. Sometimes they need to be performed if the patient has bleeding or pain, urination issues etc – after all my significant other is the most important person in the world to me. What I am saying, is have a Female provider do these tests! Everyones happy then. Lots of men simply don’t care, but lots of men do care. I think what’s important is communication to your partner, that your one of the ones who does care. In past relationship I have never had a problem with my girlfriends switching doctors. Except one, and it was an absolute deal breaker. Done. I’m out. Whatever she does when I’m gone is her business. But when she’s with me I expect a certain respect and consideration concerning intimate exam by a male Doctor. Pretty simple stuff really. And I don’t expect anything that I wouldn’t give myself.

  167. Karen says:

    What I think Alex generally refers to is the practice of bullying asymptomatic women into well-women exams, without following the protocol of informed consent, threatening them with all sorts of diseases, or withholding the pill. In such cases, and they happen disturbingly often, a pelvic exam IS an attack. I think if the patient gives fully informed consent they are not an attack, but they do not seem good medicine either- too little information to be gained from palpation, too crude and traumatising. In this day and age there should be more advanced methods to explore pelvic symptoms. Don’t take it personally, but it disturbes me when women who do not want a stranger to penetrate their vagina are told to not whine and suck up and it’s for your own good. When it comes to any technology one should be an active consumer and not a passive victim. Cardiologists do not have a hole to stick their hands into and they can still work.

    • liar catcher says:

      i can agree with that thanks for the clarification Karen!

    • Alex says:

      Thanks, Karen. You hit a good point with that thing about cardiologists, by-the-way.

      Let me clarify: If this is imposed, it IS an attack. It doesn’t really matter if there were any symptoms or potential utility to doing these things. After all, someone can refuse treatment even if it will end their life to do so (and this is a good thing, as any number of lies about how life-saving a procedure is are possible). Altruism doesn’t produce ownership, even if it WAS genuine (and that’s a big “if,” in the first place).

      Consensual, it’s potentially not an attack, but then again it doesn’t work as advertised- so what is that? I doubt women are thinking “Hey, let me do this even though it doesn’t work as advertised.” Doctors sure as hell don’t blather on & on about the low-utility of these tests. Or the risks (since the term “pelvic exam” can include a bunch of things, just like the word “physical” can).

      There’s also the fact that she can do this for herself, if there was something it happened to be useful for. Non-problematic & much more trustable. No risk of accidents, either. Same with “accidents.”

      Something else I’ve noticed is that doctors arrogantly act like nobody can do anything that they can do, despite the fact that they, themselves, were instructed on something in order to gain that ability. I guess that point only comes up when they decide to use unconscious women as practice dummies (or to keep themselves certified, apparently- I wonder how many other situations that applies to?).

  168. Moo says:

    What about male doctors who have female patients that refuse pelvic exams just because that doctor is male? Are they ever offered an alternative such an exam with a female doctor in the same practice or a female nurse practioners or even a self test?. I have heard that most the female doctors in practices with male doctors are sick of getting all the Pap tests pushed on them and saying they will only do a limited number of pelvic exams, say three per day. So really now the female doctors are becoming part of the problem as well.

    If a female patient tells her male doctor that she is uncomfortable having a pelvic or breast exam from him and he makes no offer of alternative, and even gets angry, refuses medication etc the you know that he does not have the best interest of the patients health in mind.

  169. Jessica says:

    My stomach is turning right now after reading this.I just had an exam yesterday by a male doctor.I’m going to puke:(

  170. alexis says:

    ASK YOUR DOCTOR ABOUT “SELF TEST” KITS WHETHER THE DOCTOR IS MALE OR FEMALE, & YOU DO NOT NEED A PELVIC EXAM FOR BIRTH CONTROL. TAKE BACK YOUR BODY. THE MEDICAL COMMUNITY FEELS THAT IT IS THEIR RIGHT TO NUDE YOU AS A PERK, AND FOR GREED. DONT BE NAIVE!

    “There are several viable options to screen for HPV without a pelvic exam, including the Cervista urine test. If a patient tests negative for HPV, she has a better chance of being struck by lightning than getting cervical cancer. So tell me, do you routinely offer this alternative to your patients, or do you scare them into returning for their exam every year (which, in itself, is due to the high error rate of paps), withhold their birth control to coerce them into Paps, and make them think that cervical cancer is looming to kill them at any second?”

    http://www.cervistahpv.com/laboratory/cervistahpvhr/index.html

  171. Ellie says:

    Oh look, another great reason not to have male doctors anywhere near women

  172. Kleigh says:

    Alex, it has been monthes since I have posted hear. I read u asked me why do woman go along or agree to exams. I can only speak for my self. When i had that exams I was 17 and didnt know really how they do a pelvic exam. Doctors do not explane these exams to woman how they do them or even ask for permission. I remember thinking that they were just gona look at my hips bc thats what a “pelvic exam” sounds like. And that is another problem I have with this. I Also wonder if this termenaolgy is used to trick woman into thinking it is not a internal exam. IF A woman doesnt know that the doctor is going internal till she is naked in a open gown and a nurse brings in a table with insturments. Its as tho they want the woman naked and vonerable so they will feel presuerd to comply. I Know some woman already know what a pelvic exam is but alot of woman and young girls realy do not know what they are going along with and probly whould panic and refuse or leave. I think the word “pelvic exam” is a trick in its self and then not explaning exams or asking for concent.

    • Alex says:

      It DOES sound like a skeletal thing. The hip bone is called the “pelvis,” so one would assume that’s what the focus is.

      Something I’ve noticed, at least in this country, is that there’s a heavy tendancy to try to redirect a problem & use the enemy’s momentum against them. It’s to the point where someone gets dependant on assistance from an assailant, or at least on the help of a benefactor.

      There’s so many tricks that get used (coercion, deception, disparaging remarks about being immature or crazy, etc…). Ambushes are in keeping with that. So is rushing someone around so there’s no time for thought or space for refusal. Comportment is another big one (“do this, then do this, then do this”). I guess that would have a pressuring effect.

      I have another question: Why would being naked add to this pressure? I’d think it would add to things in the opposite direction.

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