When you go to a medical professional, you expect to be treated appropriately. You should have a trusting, secure relationship with your medical professional.
Sexual abuse by a medical professional is not only unethical and immoral, but it is illegal. You may have had an experience with a medical professional that made you feel uncomfortable but are not sure if it is considered sexual assault.
Your rights during a medical exam
You have a right to privacy. You should be alone when you are undressing. You should never have to be asked to undress a part of your body that is not going to be examined.
Someone else should be in the room when any exams are conducted. You have the right to ask for your exam to be performed by a person of a certain gender and have information communicated to you in your preferred language.
A medical professional must provide you with an explanation of what they are doing before they do it and while it is happening. They should ask you if you have any questions and cannot refuse to answer your questions.
You can have another person present with you during the exam. Your medical professional should not refuse this request.
You do not have to answer questions that make you uneasy
Depending on the nature of your exam, your medical professional might need to ask you questions about your sexual history or current sexual activity. However, if you sense they are asking unnecessary questions about sexual topics, you do not have to answer them.
In fact, you can refuse to end the exam entirely if you are uncomfortable with any aspect of it. They cannot force you to remain and continue with the exam.
Since the job of a medical professional by nature requires touching certain parts of your body, it is understandable that you may be confused or have questions about an unsettling experience.
You can always make a report on the incident to the medical facility or your state’s medical board. You can also speak with an attorney about a potential legal claim. Victims of sexual abuse by a medical professional often experience significant physical, mental and emotional trauma, and a legal professional can help you learn about your options.