Delaware County Medical Society Winter 2017 - 9
or the fall edition of the magazine, I wanted
to write about Breast Cancer since Breast
Cancer Awareness month is October
and I am a breast cancer survivor. I am
a proud survivor of two years even though my
last cancer-related surgery was less than one year
ago. I was determined to write about this topic,
but was struggling emotionally so I took a break.
I turned on the TV for what I thought would be
a relaxing moment. Within seconds there was
breaking news about all of the new sexual assault
allegations involving Harvey Weinstein. Oh no!
Forget about a stress-free break! I listened for as
long as I could stomach before turning off the TV.
Not long after this, my headache started.
The back and neck pain followed.
As a physician, I recognized my
symptoms - an acute stress reaction.
But how many people have that insight to
recognize how the news of these awful events
affect their lives on a day-to-day basis? I love
that the media is bringing new awareness to
such a serious and previously secret topic.
However, I wish that they would provide another
segment following these heinous "breaking
news" reports that provide resources for
people who are traumatized by these events.
Years ago, after graduation from Haverford College,
I worked as a Laboratory Technician at a research
oriented university. It was a dream job for me at the
time. I was hired at a time when our lead researcher
was on a one-year sabbatical leave out of the United
States. A part of my responsibility was to supervise
undergraduate students doing work-study jobs in
the lab. There were three students. I met my boss,
finally, after working months in the lab. He was
brilliant, but loud and socially awkward. It didn't
bother me. I was learning a lot. He then began to be
verbally inappropriate. He started commenting on
the way I dressed and told me (in front of many of
the doctors in the lab) that he wanted me to wear
my skirts shorter. I did not comply which irritated
him. He wanted me to wear high heels. Then he
complained that my clothes were covering too
much of my body. I was troubled and embarrassed
that he said these things publicly in the lab but
no one else was troubled or offended and even
though I was troubled, embarrassed and offended,
I didn't do anything because he didn't touch me.
Shortly after, one of the undergraduate students
quit. Then another was crying and not wanting to
work in the lab. I supervised these young women
so I felt that I was not doing my job appropriately.
It was not until I approached the young lady who
was crying that I found out what was happening.
Our lead doctor was physically touching, actually
sexually assaulting and fondling all three of our
female undergraduate students. I was horrified! I
was devastated! I researched how to press charges
within the university system, resigned from my
job and pressed charges against this doctor.
The Ombudsman's office contacted me and took
detailed reports. They contacted the students and
the students made their reports and I waited for
something to happen. Our lead researcher, my
former boss, responded by refusing to put my name
on the research papers that I had diligently worked
on. Over the next three months, I found out that this
doctor had been sexually assaulting young women
in his office for at least twenty years. I found out
that the "sabbatical leave" was actually forced by
the university as a punishment for his inappropriate
behavior with women the year before I was hired.
I found out that for a period of time he was not
allowed to have women in his office. As a young
college graduate, I could not believe that this could
occur. Haverford College provided such a protective
environment. We were taught to respect each other,
to be socially responsible and to stand up for what
is right. I could not believe that with this extensive
history, a university would choose to protected a
vile human being who just happened to be a doctor
over numerous innocent victims, spanning twenty
years! One university official was shameless in
asking me what was my price. I didn't have a price.
I just wanted justice for my undergrad students
and I wanted the university to make him stop.
In retrospect, I accomplished nothing.
This doctor was known around the
country and around the world for his
research and as the fellows (all men) in
his lab said, "science must go on."
These fellows had traveled from multiple countries
around the world to train with this doctor and
they could not care less that he was exploiting
young women in his lab. I have not thought about
this vile human being in years and the Cosby and
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DELAWARE COUNTY MEDICINE & HEALTH