Problem of the month

Dr Graham Dexter and Dr Janice Russell

On November 1, I advised the Ordem dos Medicos that I had just been abused by a doctor. As yet, I have not received any acknowledgement of my e-mail. My lawyer has advised that the last time a case was taken to the court by her office, it took eight years to come to trial. I am writing to you now, in the hope that you may consider this newsworthy. My lawyer suggested the only real chance of stopping this man is to find others that have experienced similar ordeals. Hopefully if my experience can be highlighted, others will come forward.

Jan’s response

We all expect to be able to trust professionals, especially when they are those who deal with private and intimate knowledge of our body and mind. I am more than sorry to hear that you feel that this trust has been abused and commend you on having taken the action that you feel is right for you, this takes courage and is also a means of taking back your own power. It will demand a great deal of patience as legal systems grind slowly.

My experience of working with people in the UK, who have suffered abuse from professionals is that you might find yourself in a bit of an emotional rollercoaster –questioning yourself, feeling violated, frustrated and angry. If this is the case, I would recommend that you find someone supportive to talk so that you feel listened to and your feelings validated. Abuse is never the fault of the victim, but do not let this experience victimise you for life.

Graham’s response

The sense of betrayal and hurt you have experienced has been compounded by the suspicion that your complaint not been taken seriously and the fact that it may be many years before justice can be achieved. As a male professional, I can only say that when I hear about such events, I am ashamed of those who commit the heinous act of abuse.

Refuse to be a victim. Allow the person who betrayed you no further power over you. Get on with your life – of course seek retribution and justice – but don’t let it take over your life. Go on living, seek happiness, see a future for yourself and those precious people around you. Prove to this person and yourself that they may have won an instance of gratification, but they can’t spoil your life from here on.

Write in with any personal worries and get both male and female points of view. E-mail Janice and Graham directly at [email protected] or via The Resident on [email protected] Mark your message for the attention of Janice and Graham and it will be forwarded to them. All letters will be published anonymously.

Individual personal correspondence cannot be entered into, however, private consultations and appointments can be arranged.