Sexual harassment is a pervasive problem in the workplace. Harassment occurs in various industries, including highly-skilled fields such as medicine. Medical personnel are speaking out about sexual harassment and the results are alarming. Researchers collaborated with the American Physical Therapy Association to survey over 800 physical therapists about workplace harassment.
Sexual Harassment in Physical Therapy
Physical therapists disclosed the struggles they face when dealing with clients. Eighty percent of the therapists surveyed admitted to being sexually harassed by clients. Clients have passed inappropriate remarks, requests, physical interaction, and even sexual assault.
Physical therapists admitted to being angry, confused, and upset with their treatment as complaints to upper management went largely ignored. Therapists admitted to being told that sexual harassment was part of the job. According to respondents, managers do not offer any guidance or support when therapists lodge sexual harassment complaints against clients. Female physical therapists are at a higher risk for harassment, especially when dealing with male clients. The study revealed that the probability of sexual harassment increased 400 percent when a female therapist has a male client. Clients with brain damage were more likely to sexually harass personnel and therapists with less than five years of patient experience.
The study’s findings are not new as the same study was conducted in the late 1990s and the results are relatively the same. Researchers have suggested an approach that includes patient education and organizational leadership. They believe managers should advocate for therapists by taking their claims seriously and developing a system of protocols. Patients must also be aware of therapist-client boundaries.
General Practitioners Talk About Sexual Harassment
Physical therapists are not the only medical personnel confronted with sexual harassment as doctors and medical students also suffer. An Australian study conducted in 2010 disclosed startling information from over 600 female doctors. Many doctors confessed to being harassed with inappropriate remarks, requests for inappropriate examinations, and unwanted exposure to body parts. As a result, many doctors opted to change their consulting style when dealing with patients.
A Survey of Academic Field Experiences (SAFE) study conducted in 2014 declared that 26 percent of female scientists have been sexually harassed at work by colleagues. Female scientists conducting field experiments are twice as likely to experience harassment. Most times, perpetrators were senior members of the research team. Victims were scared to speak up and report the harassment, especially to other senior team members.
Studies have shown that sexual harassment is an ongoing problem in the medical and science communities. Administrators have not properly addressed the issue or established guidelines to prevent or remedy claims. Many doctors, therapists, and medical students suffer in silence. Numerous sexual harassment incidents go unreported and victims only choose to speak out during anonymous surveys.
Chester County Sexual Harassment Lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. Help Victims Seek Justice
The Chester County sexual harassment lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. advocate for victims in the Pennsylvania communities. If you or a loved one has been a victim of workplace sexual harassment or assault, please contact us at 215-569-1999 or fill out our online form.