Nearly a third of Dutch doctors face sexual harassment

An electronic stethoscope
An electronic stethoscope. (Stethoscopes / Wikimedia Commons)

Nearly 30 percent of doctors, medical students and medical interns in the Netherlands have faced sexual harassment during their work, according to a #MeToo survey by Medisch Contact and Arts in Spe. The majority of them are women, RTL Nieuws reports.

The researchers surveyed 3,098 doctors and 440 medical students and interns. Around three quarters of the sexual harassment incidents involved jokes and comments about the victim. 60 percent of respondents who experienced sexual harassment also reported unwanted touches. Other situations like inappropriate relationships or sex against their will were less common. Photos and texts spread through social media and email seem to be on the rise, the researchers found.

The survey also revealed that the lower a person is in the workplace hierarchy, the greater is the chance that they will be faced with sexual harassment. For example, almost half said that they were harassed during their internship by someone who had a higher function. Most didn't report the harassment. 

One respondent told the researchers how a lecturer suddenly took her to his apartment near the hospital during her internship. "He poured me a big glass of strong liquor. The room had a huge bed and I felt what his intentions were, so I left quickly. I never reported it. I didn't realize that I could. I was young and blamed by own naivety for the events."

Another doctor told how a general practitioner commented on her appearance and touched her while she was an intern. "And he even suggested that I practice a rectal exam on him. I submitted an official complaint to the program. After investigation it turned out that this happened before, but due to his position of power, nobody dared to do anything official, until my complaint was filed."

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