Speaking out

Thursday, August 22, 2019

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Dear Editor,

The Jamaica Observer recently published an article regarding sexual harassment of junior doctors by consultants and other seniors in the medical profession.

Then, on Beyond the Headlines, host Dionne Jackson Miller interviewed connected individuals to get feedback to her many questions as she delved into the issue.

I found the discussion very useful since the exposure took things to a level much beyond that taken by the sheepish, cowering victims whose silence perpetuate the sordid state of affairs in the first place.

It's a stark reminder of the very same incidents which are happening to the young students of Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts.

What if there is a demon at work in the name of self-devaluation, capable of causing this growing list of victims to suffer silently in the name of completing their career, staving off victimisation, and the quest for eligibility for promotion?

May I say to the perpetrators, shame; and to the victims, you have yourself to live with.

Moreover, emotional scars can be lifelong, and my view is that it cannot be worth a medical career, promotion, or any other form of advancement for that matter, whereby standing in defiance means forfeiting whatever is dangled by the insatiable predator in the form of one's superiors.

Notwithstanding, I sympathise with those bold victims (male and female) who decide to dignify themselves by making reports to the police, only to be ridiculed, asked whether they enjoyed it, or even being subjected to more of the very same sexual exploitation in the police guard room in which they make the report.

I am not trivialising the gravity of the matter; it distils to a bread and butter issue, and I fully understand why people endure the indignity without saying a word. It's for that very same reason, or less, why many Jamaicans go to the Traffic Court and plead guilty, only because they fail to prorate the value of their time against the greater antisocial prospect of precious democracy slipping by.

But today's victims are bright junior doctors; still they will rightly tell you that it has nothing to do with 'brightness'. In other instances, some mothers and stepmothers are known to brutally beat their charges whenever they accuse stepfathers of sexual exploitation, as they are seen as threatening the lifeline of family support and maintenance.

To break free will take lots more than putting new regulations in place at the level of the medical doctors association.

It's going to take unpatrolled resolve on the part of the individuals being victimised, strength of character, and an unwillingness to devalue oneself or opting to suffer at the expense of advancement. Do you have it in you?

Derrick D Simon

Camp David

Golden Spring, St Andrew

derrickdsimon@yahoo.com


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