Doctors are the most trusted professionals out there, according to 69% of Americans who participated in Ipsos’ 2021 survey gauging Americans’ trust in several different professions. While more than two-thirds of Americans trust doctors more than any other profession, a staggering number of Americans have had their trust betrayed.
More than 3,100 doctors across the States faced public sexual abuse accusations between 1999 and 2015, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Between 2016 and 2017, the same investigative team found that more than 450 doctors faced medical boards or court proceedings surrounding sexual misconduct.
The true number of instances of sexual abuse, however, is believed to be far higher.
There is likely no accurate number of sexual abuse instances by doctors in the US. One of the main reasons that assaults and abuse go unreported is because abusers (across several professions and industries) are often shielded by their powerful networks. This means that perpetrators are more likely to get away with their crimes.
Holding abusers accountable starts with understanding how and why these crimes happen in the first place. Based on our decades of experience bringing abusers in the medical space and elsewhere to justice, our expert attorneys have identified three common threads between doctors who commit sexual abuse.
1. Doctors Abuse Their Positions of Power
Like thousands of other sexual abusers in powerful positions, doctors can use their power and influence to protect themselves from disciplinary and legal actions.
Also, because doctors are trusted by so many people, patients may believe that their doctor’s inappropriate actions are part of the exam or procedure. After all, we trust doctors because of their specialized knowledge.
This knowledge makes it much easier for many victims to trust a doctor’s words or actions, regardless of whether they feel completely comfortable with them. Additionally, many doctors who sexually abuse patients have used their easy access to powerful anesthesia and medications to aid their crimes during medical procedures.
No matter the circumstances, these doctors’ actions often go unchecked due to their status and perceived power.
2. Doctors Who Sexually Abuse Patients Are Left Unsupervised
In many medical situations, doctors are intentionally left unsupervised with their patients. While it’s not uncommon for a doctor to perform an exam with a patient in private, many doctors who commit sexual abuse go out of their way to ensure they involve no other medical staff or members of the patient’s family or support group present when performing an exam or procedure.
Doctors who run appointments and perform procedures by themselves create an opportunity to take advantage of that privacy. Once alone with a patient, anything that happens in the room becomes the doctor’s word against the patient’s.
3. Sexual Abuse Survivors Feel Isolated
Largely due to the conditions mentioned above, many victims are unsure if what they experienced was real, if it was that serious of an incident, or if anyone would believe them. In turn, they are left feeling alone, isolated in their pain and confusion. Even if the physical pain fades, the emotional pain of sexual abuse may last weeks, months, or even decades.
During this time, sexual abuse survivors may wrongly believe that the abuse they suffered was a one-off event. However, many doctors who commit sexual abuse are repeat offenders—and survivors play a crucial role in ending repeat offenders’ abuse.
Their bravery to speak out against their abuser often helps other survivors realize they that are not alone and is the driving force behind bringing other sexual abuse instances to light.
Place Your Trust in an Experienced and Compassionate Sexual Abuse Law Firm
No doctor has a right to your body beyond the examinations and procedures to which you’ve consented. While doctors may be the most trusted professionals in the United States, it is not a license to betray patients’ peace of mind—nor their bodies.
If you’ve suffered sexual abuse by a doctor or medical professional, know that you have every right to file a claim against your sexual abuser. Our team has helped thousands of survivors stand up to their abusers in court, helping them receive the justice, compensation, and healing they deserve. Let us do the same for you or your loved one.
Contact us today for a free consultation.