Why aren’t men in medicine getting outed for sexual harassment?

Many powerful men in journalism, entertainment, and politics are being exposed as sexual harassers. But we are not seeing a wave of similar events in medicine. Why not?

  • Because sexual harassment doesn’t happen in medicine? Hahahaha.
  • Because medicine has exceptionally strong secrecy norms? I have heard people say, “But he’s a doctor” (meaning, “one of us”) as if that were some kind of reason for keeping a scandal in-house.
  • Because journalism, entertainment, and politics are celebrity cultures? Perhaps complaints of harassment are lodged at similar rates in all industries, but we only learn about them when the perpetrator works in front of a camera.
  • Because the reputational costs to a news organization of having a harasser on-camera are a lot higher than the costs to a hospital of having a doctor who puts his hands on nurses? One gets fired, the other gets reprimanded.
  • Because the guild structure of medicine means that doctors are in a seller’s market for their labour? Actors, journalists, and politicians are easily replaced, whereas it is amazingly hard to hire a child psychiatrist, let alone a transplant surgeon. Doctors are therefore less likely to get fired for any cause.

Or perhaps it is just a matter of time before the revolution comes to medicine.


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