It has been about 6 year since I went to a dermatologist for a skin cancer screening. I happen to be very fair and burn easily. In my 20’s I spent summers in the sun without sunscreen, and more than once had sunburns so bad that I had blisters. Yeah, I was dumb…and after a friend was recently diagnosed with a small spot of basal cell carcinoma I figured I should get a once over by a doctor.
I assumed I would be in a gown and the doctor would have to give me a look see, but I got a little more than I bargained for. After doing a check of my back, legs, and arms, the doctor asked me to stand up. I was wearing my bra and underwear under a paper gown. He asked me to turn around and bend over. He then said he was going to pull down my underwear and proceeded to pull apart my butt cheeks. I thought it was odd, but figured maybe he is just doing a standard check. He then asks me to turn around. He then pulls my underwear down a little in front and with both hands cupped the sides of my vagina.
I’m pretty sure you cannot see vagina skin cancer by cupping a vagina, but I’m not a dermatologist…he then pulls my bra down enough to reach in and cup each breast but did not appear to be looking under them. While it felt clinical as it was happening, I thought it was really odd and I was not comfortable with what had happened. The doctor then casually makes some notes on his computer, tells me to stay out of the sun and sends me on my way.
I could not shake the feeling that my exam was not normal. The last time I saw a dermatologist for a skin exam the doctor barely touched me, and certainly did not get into private regions. I asked a few friends who have had “complete skin cancer checks” and none of them had an exam like mine. I questioned family, including my father in law doctor, and they all said it was not a normal exam.
Was I molested by my dermatologist? I was hoping one person, or one google search would tell me that another dermatologist does that type of exam…while there are types of skin cancer you can get on your vagina, he would not have seen it in the way he examined me, and again, I have no issues that would require him to Donald Trump my pussy.
I should also note that no one else was in the room during my exam. You would think if this was a “normal” exam, this doctor would want a nurse or PA in the room to avoid women feeling like something wasn’t quite right.
I took some advice and reported the doctor to the Illinois Department of professional regulation. As far as I know, they will investigate my complaint. Assuming he has no other complaints like mine, nothing will happen and the case will be filed away. If there are other complaints, then I have a feeling it would be a much bigger deal.
I should also point out that this is not the first time I have been inappropriately touched. There was an incident in college that will have to wait for another blog post…mostly because I am not ready to share that with the whole world yet…but I had another brush with a toucher about 8 years ago.
I used to ride the bus from my condo to work. For those familiar with Chicago, the bus would go express from Michigan Ave. from Oak and up Lake Shore to Belmont. Once day I was sitting with a large purse on my lap reading a book. A man sits next to me and begins to rub my leg. My brain processes this as maybe he thinks its his leg? Maybe he doesn’t realize he’s doing it? Whatever, I scoot slightly closer to the window next to me. The light leg rub continues…so I get up and change seats. Fast forward a few days, the same guy sits next to me and does it again!
I get up and tell the driver what happened and asked if maybe they could just kick him off the bus when we got to Belmont? The driver says he has to call the police who would meet us at the next stop. As we proceed, a women in her 60’s tells me he did the same thing to her and she knocked him on his ass! She had a CTA warning that had been issued on the guy folded in her purse. She was waiting to see him again and agreed to press charges with me so I wouldn’t be alone.
We get to the next stop and the police are waiting. They ask everyone to leave the bus from the front and tell the man he’s going with them. The other woman and I go with the police to the station and another squad car brings the guy. After giving our statements, we go on our way. A few months later we have our court date, and in spite of being here illegally, having a history of being arrested for touching women, several alias, and being an all around creeper, the guy got off (slight pun intended) and walked out of the court room right after us. Several years later I got a call from the DA because the guy assaulted a 13 year old girl on the bus and asked if I would testify if they needed me too. Never had to testify, and I don’t know the outcome, but that showed me how flawed our system is.
If I was to call the police and tell them what happened with the doctor yesterday, he would of course deny any wrong doing. If he has no other claims like mine on file then it would be my word against a respected professional who has been successful in his field for 36 years. Who do you think would win that case? It would be rationalized that he was “doing his job”, and I’m a silly housewife who misjudged the situation. I really want to believe that…someone please tell me that this was a normal dermatologist exam…that your doctor totally cupped your boobs because thats how you test for areola cancer…yeah I didn’t think so. This is what I get for taking the time to shave my legs from the knee down for my appointment…