Sweet Little Flower Petal

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For the past week, while the kids were on spring break, I had the thirty minute commute to the clinic and back all by myself. I purposely kept the radio off which soon made me I realize how difficult it is to be alone with my thoughts. As my mind began traveling down a path I was not comfortable with I would absently reach for my phone, remember I was driving, then put it back down.

Interestingly, much of the time was spent thinking about a comment from an Australian surgeon that I came across thanks to Knife Before Wife Before Life.

As said by Dr. Gabrielle McMullen, an Australian vascular surgeon:

“What I tell my trainees is that, if you are approached for sex, probably the safest thing to do in terms of your career is to comply with the request.”

I am going to leave a link to the BBC article hereย to whet your appetite so to speak. I will share some of my own thoughts on this over the next few days…

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72 thoughts on “Sweet Little Flower Petal

  1. I have been so lucky in this respect. No problems to speak of.

    I was once propositioned by my boss, and I laughed uproariously — his wife was one of my best friends. Turns out he had sex with everybody else in the firm we worked for. It was 13 years before I realized it was a real proposition.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. This doctor has set the entire concept of gender equality right back to 1890. No job/career is worth the ideal that a female must “comply with the request” at any time, ever, PERIOD

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Do you think she was serious though? I think she wanted publicity for her book. She can’t have meant such an outrageous thing surely. I hope that she meant that if this trainee had given in to this guy she would have kept her career instead of becoming an unemployable outcast. It’s the fact that she became a pariah that is so very wrong and must change as well as the man who asked her for sex. It has of course been sensationalised by the media. What must her colleagues and employees and patients think of it all. I’d have to go into hiding, for a year and then change my name!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. My outrage meter went into the red, and I thought I’d need to take a nitro pill and do some meditation to calm down. But then I read the articles. It seems to me that what this Australian female surgeon is saying is that respect for women has not improved in her country to the point where a woman can get away with resisting a man’s sexual advances. She simply seems to be acknowledging what she feels is a sad fact. I don’t understand why people are blaming her, rather than questioning the culture that women physicians work under. Unless she is somehow mistaken.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. In my experience, what she says is partially true in general. We, as a society, have made a bunch of rules around sexual harassment, and are very proud of our achievements in terms of addressing the problem. The truth is that it does still haunt the corridors of our society and it does bring with it implications for either refusal or agreement. And reporting it is dangerous from many perspectives. It is best dealt with firmly between the parties involved. Once it escalates beyond that – to superiors or to the law, the implications for all involved are very nasty. One thing to remember about the case she is describing, is that it happened in Australia – where the population is only 23 million. It is easier to blackball in such a small population – after all how many vascular surgeons are there ? probably less than 50 – small enough to be a very cliquish group.

    Although I have no experience in medical hiring/firing, I can tell you that in general managers talk on the QT with each other about job applicants. Any rumors of sexual harassment, medical issues causing lost time, or labor unrest issues, will automatically bar any job applicant from even getting an interview. I’ve see this done – and, as embarrassed as I am to admit it – I am guilty of doing it myself. As a manager it is always a horror story to inherit someone else’s issues in a new hire. There are enough potential employees out there that it would be foolish to even contemplate hiring someone who has a reputation for creating legal issues in the workplace. And who ever knows the whole unadulterated story? No one. So, it is easier to just avoid anyone with a reputation for being involved in any sexual harassment issues – regardless of their innocence or guilt.

    You may say that this is discriminatory towards women – but I managed people for decades and i will tell you that in my experience there are as many women guilty of sexual harassment as there are men – in my experience. I remember one woman that I inherited from another department – who was uncontrollable. She sexually harassed one of my other male employees to the point where he was going to quit because it was so hard to stop her. It was a bad situation and it came to an abrupt end when during the company Christmas party, she got drunk and started groping and kissing the upper management in public in front of their wives. and 500 other employees. It was only then that our claims that she was sexually harassing were believed – and she disappeared (I think paid off and terminated).

    So the Aussie doctor is partially right – any sexual harassment situation that escalates beyond the initial parties, will cause damage to careers. That does not mean that it should be accepted – just that it should be dealt with at the initial stages, firmly and fast.

    Liked by 1 person

      • You can, but the membership committee is still not sure about you… since you think there are no stupid people, etc.

        Btw, upon further reflection of the series of posts, yours and others, my first inclination (before all the info, which is always a stupid position upon which to start inclinations), was to wonder what kind of sensation whore that surgeon is. Right now, I’m firmly in her camp. If that is the reality (wide-spread abuse of various levels), then call it as it is. Don’t blame the whistle-blower. If the Powers That Be want things accepted as is, then call it as is. Require knee pads for the female staff.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. The issue about sexual harassment is that it is not the intent that matters, it is the perception of the “victim.” I think we have a society where what was once a bad situation that happened, we “litigated it”, wrote laws and then went overboard. I am sure that there are pigs out there who prey on people with quid pro quo. I am also sure it is not based anymore on gender. It is actually all about control, much like rape is not about sex at all. We have a situation with a super nice GUY who supposedly sexually harassed someone. Although no one knew about it until after the guy had been there for a while and started climbing the ladder. Our health organizations are not that big and everyone pretty much “knows someone”. Rumors are rumors, no matter if there is a sexual connotation to them or something else. Someone wants to get rid of you or give you a reputation, your done. Teachers have to really worry now because of the kids claiming sexual harassment. To me, there is a boundary you never cross with your kids. I taught high school, and I had a very ugly situation happen to my peer teacher which I started to write about but stopped. Maybe I should share it.
    This doctor who told her trainees is trying to sell her book, I am sure.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Wow how disturbing. You know when I was a care aid, I was propositioned by my clients Husband often right in front of his dying wife. My boss was there to hear it the one day, and she ignored it and left me alone with this guy. *Shudder*
    I was there the day his wife died and just before she died her Husband said to me in front of her, that he never gets sex from her anymore. I looked at him and said,”She has cancer, she’s dying.” She agreed with me to him. Not a half hour later she did pass away. Gah.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. We have a colorectal surgeon that everyone refers to be as being ” a little standoff-ish” . I had the crazy notion that she was deliberately projecting an exterior that would diminish her natural feminine mannerisms.
    Anyhow, as John says, yes, I am sad too. I look forward to your follow-up on this.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I have three daughters. If I thought that any one of them was at a lecture where the ‘advice’ being given was to agree to prostitute themselves I would be guilty of murder.
    I get her point, which is fighting is bad for your career, but agreeing to have sex to further your career, how can that be good advice? If you change nothing, nothing changes.
    She has got a terrible slating over here in Ireland. I fought hard to bring an abuser to justice, it was not easy, but I think myself and those others who came forward made Ireland a safer place for children. I just cannot understand how a career can be that important. I hope her book and career were worth it.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. My first thought was: she can’t be serious, she’s being sarcastic. I’ve read her statements again, trying to figure out how this woman could possible mean this. She seems to be some one who makes career the number one priority, above all else. And that would include selling her book. There’s another statement where she says, “you can be sure that you will never be appointed to a major public hospital.” Well, never say never, Cruella. And there are more important things than being appointed to a major public hospital, and maybe better options too. Oh, I started out trying to understand, now I’m just getting mad…….

    Liked by 1 person

  11. “The College of Surgeons refutes this advice emphatically. The inference is that this is what successful female surgeons and trainees have done in the past and this is deeply insulting.” – the inference is really is just that. Now the seed has been planted worldwide that successful women possibly slept their way to the top. That if you are sexually harassed you must bear it and move on because the price of speaking out is your career. That it is acceptable and common knowledge that blacklisting occurs as a result of standing up for one’s self. That this is not a situation that can be changed.

    I’m disappointed.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It does have something terrible to say about women who work hard to get where they are. It also has the terrible implication that all men are sexual predators. The whole thing is a dirty mess.

      Like

  12. Pingback: Proposition | Behind the White Coat

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