Q. My family doctor took my innocence some seven years ago when I was 15. This ordeal is killing me. I had full confidence in my doctor and looked up to him. I saw him as my protector and friend who was interested in my welfare. Apparently, he took my admiration for something else, and he sexually molested me. Although it has been years since it happened, I have never been the same. I never assumed that he would have taken advantage of my helplessness. I did not find him sexually attractive, and I was not sexually active.
Since that awful experience, I have had serious issues with intimacy and trust with men. I have low self-esteem and have had many sleepless nights and nightmares of being raped. I am reluctant to share my story for fear of the disgrace and embarrassment it would cause me and my family. In any case, the doctor is a well-respected member of society.
One day last year, I saw the doctor at a function, and surprisingly, I confronted him. He pretended not to remember me or the incident. The confrontation did not bring the satisfaction I expected. I am still going through hell.
Should I report the abuse at this stage? Would it help me overcome this ordeal?
A. There was a recent report of a doctor being charged for sexually molesting an underage girl. You are going to need a trusted family member or friend to help you overcome this molestation.
Your story highlights the awfulness of elderly men sexually abusing teenagers. It is not a simple act, but an atrocious crime, which has long-lasting side effects. You were below the age of consent when he molested you; therefore, he could not even claim that it was consensual sex. He committed a crime, and he should be reported to the police, which has a special branch to deal with these matters. Each time a victim reports these matters, it helps to highlight incidents of abused girls who have fallen victim to rapists. It might give others the courage to also make a report, even if it happened years ago.
The society should be stern in its condemnation of persons who molest teenagers, and their names should be published as sex offenders. Hopefully, this will be a deterrent to such acts being repeated.
You need to seek professional help in the form of therapy. The doctor was unprofessional and unethical and engaged in inappropriate sexual activity. You should also consider reporting him to the Medical Council of Jamaica. He should never be allowed to have young girls under his care.
It is understandable that you are fearful that reporting the sexual molestation might cause shame and embarrassment. You must also be highly praised for your courage in confronting your rapist, albeit it was a chance meeting. It is not surprising that he is having difficulties recalling you - or his appalling behaviour.
You have been sexually molested and undergone humiliation. You must hold your head high and understand that you are no less of a person because of what happened to you. You are not to be defined by what you had no control over. You have dignity. You are special, and you will be able to accomplish much. The way you overcome this ordeal will define your character and ability to bounce back after severe adversity. I believe, based on your actions - confronting your offender, and writing to me - you are on the way to recovery. Professional help will seal the deal.
I am hoping that therapy will help you and you will be able to form meaningful relationships.