A quarter of the interns have suffered sexual harassment on one or more occasions

A quarter of the interns have suffered sexual harassment on one or more occasions. 

A Flycatcher survey commissioned by Maastricht University among 365 interns at the university showed that 24% of the women and 3% of the men had occasionally suffered sexual harassment. The students questioned had followed an average of 10 internships. Their average age was 24 and over two thirds were women. In half of the cases, the harassment was a one-off, but 13% of those questioned reported suffering sexual harassment on 5 or more occasions. 
Sexual harassment encompasses any cases of sexually-tinted verbal, non-verbal and physical behaviour which is experienced as offensive to the person to whom it is addressed. Sexual harassment is nearly always a male activity; in 70% of the cases in this survey, the perpetrator was a doctor. In 20% of the cases, the intern was harassed by a patient.
Virtually none of those concerned had been negatively affected in their studies by the sexual harassment. Of the medical students involved, a quarter felt it was a serious incident. A third of them indicated that the atmosphere at work had deteriorated as a result. No one sought contact with a counsellor. Only one student is known to have taken action against the sexual harassment. 
Most of the students questioned (86%) did not seem to know where they could take their complaints about sexual harassment. They were unaware that counselling and support is available.
The results of the survey were published in the magazine Medisch Contact, March 2011. Click here to read the article (in Dutch).

Posted by Drs. A. Roberts (Anouk) on 12-4-2011

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