Tips For Female Teenagers
To Prevent Sexual Misconduct By Doctors
Most adolescent girls don't feel comfortable letting
their male pediatricians see certain parts of their body. Many girls
don't even like to discuss personal matters such as periods and
breast growth with their male doctors. There is usually no need
for teenage girls to have pap smears if they are virgins who have
never engaged in any kind of sexual activity. See
more information on pap smears for virgins. If you have been
sexually active or were raped, it is probably a good idea to have
a pap smear when you are a teenager. Sometimes, virgin girls have
problems such as abnormal heavy menstrual periods, severe cramps,
or large ovarian cysts that need to be taken care of.
Many teenage girls have been traumatized by having
intimate examinations by male doctors even if there was no sexual
misconduct. Many teenage girls are uncomfortable with strange men
including doctors touching certain parts of their bodies. Some teenage
girls have made a commitment to save sex until marriage and they
also feel that their future husband should be the only man in the
world who can see and touch certain parts of their body.
1.) It is best for a female patient to
never go to a male gynecologist. There are so many good
female ob/gyns you could choose from. If your area doesn't have
any female ob/gyns, you should check into having a female Nurse
Practitioner or Physician's Assistant do your women's health examinations.
You are in a very vulnerable position when you let a male gynecologist
do intimate procedures on you. Having a nurse or an assistant present
in the room with the doctor doesn't guarantee that nothing inappropriate
would happen to you. Remember that the nurse or assistant is present
to "protect" the doctor and will often be on the doctor's
side. There have been cases where female patients felt the male
doctor went too far, but the nurse or assistant felt he was simply
doing thorough examinations. It is certainly not worth the risk
to let a male doctor do intimate female procedures or examinations
on you. If there are no good female gynecologists in your area,
ask your mom or someone else to drive you to the closest city with
a female gynecologist no matter how far it is away.
2.) Even with female gynecologists,
you have to take some precautions. It is very rare
for female ob/gyns to commit sexual misconduct, but it is possible.
Some female doctors are very coercive when it comes to doing things.
You need to speak up about things you don't want to be done to you.
For example, if you don't want any male anesthesiologists, nurses,
or students/residents present for your procedure (ex: ovarian cyst
removal surgery) you should be sure to make it clear to your female
gynecologist and have all of your wishes in writing. It might be
good to have someone who can help you advocate for what you want.
You should ask the female doctor to tell you in details about what
exactly what she will be doing and if there is anything you don't
like, you should speak up.
3.) Don't allow yourself to be
pressured into having a pelvic exam, pap smear, or breast exam at
any doctor appointments. Some female patients have gone to the doctor
for other health concerns and were pressured into having unnecessary
examinations. For instance if you go in for a sore throat and you
think you may have strep throat, don't spend time listening to a
lecture by the doctor about how important it is to have a pap smear
and that you need one today. If something like that happens, tell
the doctor you are not interested and you only want to talk about
the reason you came in (ex: your throat is sore).
4.) Don't undress or put on a
medical gown when it is unnecessary and/or you feel uncomfortable.
Most procedures and tests, including blood tests, blood pressure
tests, stethoscope heart exam, eye, ear, nose, and throat examinations,
as well as throat cultures can be done fully clothed. If your concern
is an infection or suspicious spot on your skin, only uncover that
part of your body and consider wearing a skirt, short sleeves, shorts,
and socks or knee highs, to uncover the area of concern while remaining
clothed. You should think in advance about what parts of your body
the doctor should examine and dress accordingly. For instance if
you have a knee problem that you want the doctor to check out, you
should put shorts instead of pants on so you would not have to take
any of your clothes off.
5.) Keep in mind that it is unnecessary
for you to take your shirt off for the doctor to listen to your
heart. You should wear a thin shirt and not a sweatshirt. It is
strange, but many doctors don't even ask men to take their shirts
off to listen to their hearts, but they ask women to. That tells
you something is wrong.
6.) You should think in advance
about what parts of your body the doctor should examine and dress
accordingly. For instance if you have a knee problem that you want
the doctor to check out, you should put shorts instead of pants
on so you would not have to take any of your clothes off in the
7.) Never let anyone even your
mother or friends pressure you into going to a male gynecologist
no matter how good or well-respected he may be. Many people thought
that the male gynecologists who have sexually abused some of their
patients were wonderful doctors.
8.) Make a firm decision that
you will not let a male doctor or nurse touch any parts of your
body that are covered by a two piece bathing suit. This is a good
way to prevent you from being sexually abused by a male doctor.
9.) If you are going to be put
under anesthesia, you should insist that you have a family member
or a friend present for your procedure. Check out Why
You Should Have a Personal Advocate For Surgery?
10.) Do research on procedures
or surgeries that your doctor may have recommended for you to have
done before you submit to them. Find out what parts of your body
would be exposed for this procedure.
11.) If you must be hospitalized, it would be
best if you could have someone not employed by the hospital present
with you at least most of the time especially when you are asleep
12.) Insist that no male nurse give you a bath
or do intimate procedures on you such as urinary catheterizations.
urinary catheterizations are done. If you must be catheterized,
ask that a female nurse insert your catheter.
13.) Insist on a female technician for EKG, transvaginal
ultrasound (if needed), etc.