The sexual abuse scandal at the University of Southern California has reignited the debate on women’s safety and sexual assault by men in high positions. Harvey Weinstein is not the only terrible person in SoCal. The never-ending stories of sexual misconduct by Dr. George Tyndall, who served as the gynecologist at the university’s student health center for a long time, have made everyone realize that we need to have systems in place to prevent and deter such incidents, which seem to happen with alarming regularity.
The Unending Saga of Sexual Abuse at USC
A large number of women have come forward and claimed that they were sexually assaulted by Dr. Tyndall, whose history of inappropriate behavior goes back several years. Women claim that the doctor touched them in an inappropriate manner during physical examinations, made sexual and vulgar comments, photographed them without their active consent, asked them to take their clothes off even for routine physical examinations, and lied about the availability of nurses and chaperons to make sure that he was alone in the room with the victims.
Complicity of University Management
What makes the whole issue a lot worse is that the university management apparently knew about the scandal and decided not to act on it. Sound familiar? In 2016, the university conducted an internal investigation and found that the gynecologist was in fact guilty of sexual misconduct with the students. Instead of reporting the matter to the state medical board, the university officials decided to brush it under the carpet.
Now that the scandal and the university’s attempt to contain it within its campus has become public knowledge, C.L. Max Nikias – the president of the USC – has resigned from his position, taking moral responsibility for the issue.
Now, the question is – what are the lessons that we can learn from this issue?
- Sexual harassment is a widespread phenomenon and is way more common than most people think. Men in high positions routinely indulge in sexual misconduct – from Harvey Weinstein (as just mentioned) to Bill Cosby to the USC gynecologist who is currently embroiled in the scandal.
- If the OBGYN happens to be a man, the patient can request a chaperon or a member of her family to be present in the room during the physical examination.
- In the USC scandal, many victims have stated that they were initially reluctant to report the misconduct of the doctor, as they were not sure if his actions were indeed inappropriate. They knew that something was wrong, but since they were not sure, they decided to ignore it. This is a mistake, as women have the right to question the doctor at any point during an examination if they feel uncomfortable or if they are suspicious of the doctor’s intentions.
- Finally, victims of sexual assault should not be ashamed of coming out in the open against the perpetrator. If they do not get any support from the institution that the perpetrator belongs to, which was the case with the USC scandal, they should get in touch with a lawyer to know what they can and cannot do in such a scenario.
Makarem & Associates at Your Service
If you are a victim of sexual harassment, misconduct, or assault, we at Makarem & Associates can help you get justice. We can bring the perpetrator to justice and make sure you receive compensatory damages that you are legally entitled to.
If you are one of the victims of the USC scandal or if you have been at the receiving end of sexually abusive and inappropriate behavior at your workplace, you can talk to our attorneys to know what you can do about it. You can contact us at [email protected] or at 310-312-0299.