What to Do If You’re Sexually Assaulted

Dr. David Newman, a former emergency room physician at Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan, was sentenced on Monday to twenty-four months in prison after admitting to sexually assaulting four female patients. Newman was also remanded to three years of post-release supervision.

Newman pleaded guilty to a sole count of first-degree sexual abuse and four counts of third-degree sexual abuse. Newman had been concentrating on minority women between 18 and 29.

Before being sentenced, Newman told the court, “What I did was awful…disgusting, and I’m sorry. I’m sorry to everyone involved. I’m sorry to doctors and patients everywhere.”

Estimates by the Wisconsin Coalition Against Sexual Assault show that one-in-three women will be raped in her lifetime.

Sexual assault and abuse are abhorrent; unacceptable crimes yet are often perpetrated by those whom people trust the most.

The doctor/patient bond is central to a person’s fitness and well-being. Our lives rely on our health care providers true interest that we remain well — both bodily and emotionally and we trust our lives to our doctors. When a physician sexually exploits a patient, the emotional toll is enormous.

According to the American Medical Association, roughly  7% of therapists described some sort of sexual touch with patients. Since the review used doctor self-reporting, most observers assume the figures to be low. The report also doesn’t consider the many patients who have not reported sexual abuse. Many women live in the shadows, afraid of saying anything or being dismissed as if sexual assault were nothing.

Three Categories

There are three main categories dealing with doctor/patient sexual abuse:

  • A romantic relationship with a prior  or current client
  • Obtaining sexual favors  by claiming they are  part of therapy/treatment
  • Sexual assault

Each of these is unethical according to the AMA. While some doctors, says the AMA, have a one-time occurrence, most use patients’ weaknesses for their own enjoyment.

Dealing With Sexual Assault

Know

Know what sexual assault and abuse are. Sexual assault is an attack of a sexual nature which includes sexual touching and rape.

You Are Not Alone

Understand that you are not by yourself and you are not to blame. Sexual assault is all too common, and you are not alone. There are others who have suffered, and it is important to remember that no one has the right to sexually assault another person.

Go to the Police

Talk to an attorney and discuss the options of approaching law enforcement. This way, you don’t have to press charges, but you can find non-judgemental guidance. You may keep someone else from being attacked if law enforcement knows who your perpetrator was.

Victim Impact

In her victim impact statement, one of the ladies assaulted by Newman said, “I want to get away from the disgust I feel when I think about you assaulting me. I believe you are only sorry because you were caught.”