Life for Canadian dentistry students who are careless enough to be women can be quite unpleasant, it appears.
“It was hell,” said the resident, CBC News is calling “Sarah”. We have agreed to protect her identity because she fears retaliation and damage to her professional career.
Over the course of her final year in residency she says she and other female peers were targets of misogynistic jokes, comments and text messages made by a fellow male resident.
“When I started I was one of two females and the jokes [and] the acceptance for certain kinds of jokes were shocking to me.”
“He would make comments about other [female] residents weight or about her height. When we were studying cranial-facial abnormalities he would pick each one of us and say that we look to have this syndrome.”
Sarah says eventually it evolved to text messaging.
“I got a text message from him asking where he could find girls like me, I asked what he was talking about and he said ‘oh, because you’re a whore.'”
It’s not the worst thing that could happen, but it’s not something anyone should have to put up with, either. It’s not cool. If they were already professionals it would be called unprofessional; since they’re students, it’s…well it’s still unprofessional. It’s not the way to treat people.
Another female resident sent screen shots of the the text messages to the program’s director. Sarah says the next day, the male student sent an email to class apologizing.
The letter read,
“It’s been brought to my attention that my behaviour to residents in the program has been unacceptable, inappropriate and not in a professional manner.”
He needed to be told that?
If he didn’t know that without being told, it’s debatable whether he should be in any kind of doctor-patient field to begin with. Casual sadists shouldn’t go for jobs where they work directly with and on human beings. I wouldn’t want that guy sticking sharp things into my mouth.
The student didn’t consider the email sufficient.
Finally she filed a formal complaint with the faculty, who launched the investigation. During this time, she says she was still forced to sit two chairs from this resident, despite pleading with the faculty to have him moved. It was not until Sarah hired a lawyer that the university obliged to switch him out of the class.
“What upsets me the most is that if his comments would have been towards an ethnic group or about someone’s sexual orientation … or religion, it would be unacceptable.” she said.
I think that’s probably right. Verbal abuse of women is normalized.