Tag: sexual harassment

Bioethics Blogs

All the Difference in the World: Gender and the 2016 Election

by Alison Reiheld

ABSTRACT. In this paper, I analyze multiple aspects of how gender norms pervaded the 2016 election, from the way Clinton and Trump announced their presidency to the way masculinity and femininity were policed throughout the election. Examples include Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, Barack Obama, and Gary Johnson. I also consider how some women who support Trump reacted to allegations about sexual harassment. The difference between running for President as a man and running for President as a woman makes all the difference in the world.

 

IMAGE DESCRIPTION: This image shows Donald Trump on the left and Hillary Clinton on the right. Trump’s eyes are narrowed, his brow furrowed. He looks serious, and there is no hint of a smile. On the right, Clinton has a composed look with a slight, close-mouthed smile, her eyes open to a typical degree. Both are white and have greying blonde hair.

The May 21, 2007 cover of TIME magazine showed a close-up image of Mitt Romney’s face with the cover tagline “. . . he looks like a President . . .”, the first of many such claims. In 2011, as Texas Governor Rick Perry geared up for a run at the presidency, Washington Post opinion writer Richard Cohen said that Perry “actually looks like a President” (Cohen 2011). The term, here, is used as praise. Yet the power of its use as an epithet when people fail to look adequately presidential cannot be understated. During the primaries for the 2016 election, while watching Republican candidate Carly Fiorina, Donald Trump said in front of a reporter, “Look at that face!

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.

Bioethics Blogs

Rape, disability, and gender: A response to McMahan and Singer’s op-ed on the Anna Stubblefield case

Unfortunately, there have been numerous cases of sexual
harassment and sexual assault in academia and particularly in more
male-dominated fields, including my home field of philosophy. In these cases,
professors use their position of prestige and power to sexually harass and
abuse their students. UC Berkeley philosophy professor John
Searle
is just the most recent example. To my knowledge, all of these cases
have involved male professors victimizing female students. The lone exception
is Anna
Stubblefield
, a former professor of philosophy at Rutgers. Here is a
summary of her case from Current Affairs

At issue is the case of Anna
Stubblefield, a Rutgers University philosophy professor convicted of sexually
assaulting her mentally disabled pupil, and sentenced to 12 years in prison.
The case is, to say the least, extremely unusual. The student, D.J., was a
severely impaired 30 year old man with cerebal palsy, who had never spoken a
word in his life and communicated through “screams” and “chirps.” Stubblefield
acted as his personal tutor, using a discredited pseudoscientific technique to
elicit what she insisted were complex communications from D.J. Eventually,
based on what she believed D.J. wanted, Stubblefield began engaging in sex acts
with him, having become romantically attracted to him over the course of her
time assisting him.  

Stubblefield’s case is not only different because she is a
woman and her victim is a man, but also because she is one of the few
professors to go through the legal system and be convicted.

There are
many complexities to Stubblefield’s case and I don’t have the space to address
them all here.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.

Bioethics Blogs

BioethicsTV: Pure Genius is Purely Corrupt

by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

In this week’s episode (Season 1, Episode 7 -12/8), an FDA reviewer trades a case so that she can review a compassionate use request for a new drug at the hospital where her husband is the chief of staff. Her spouse was even was a participant in the proposal presentation to her for approval. Meanwhile, the owner of the hospital asks his chief of staff to be his doctor for his neurodegenerative disease—serving as the physician for his boss, in an area that is outside his specialty. Both of these are examples of conflict of interest. A conflict of interest exists when a person owes fealty to more than one party and where loyalty to a second party may influence one’s choices to the first. Such conflicts are supposed to be avoided and if unavoidable, declared. But declaration is not sufficient, as steps must be taken to ensure that the dual interest does not affect real decisions. Of course we now live in an era where a president-elect has conflicts between his business dealings and running the country and even being executive producer of a television show. So perhaps my idea that conflicts of interest are problematic is simply outdated.

Similar to conflict of interest is unprofessional behavior. In this episode, the hospital owner asks one of the doctors at the hospital, his employee, on a date. She politely declines and he later throws a fit. Although this scenario is a common trope of medical shows and sadly, happens often in real life, there is not a situation in which it is acceptable for a boss to date (or even ask out) his or her employee.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.

Bioethics Blogs

Review of Blame: A Novel

Because it is a central theme of this novel, it seems appropriate for me to start this review with my own “conflict of interest” – or as I prefer to see it, my “competing interest.” So I note that my parents and Tony’s parents were friends when we were young children and though he and I were never friends, we were colleagues in adulthood insofar as we attended the same medical/human genetics meetings and conferences and kept in touch with our separate critiques of these issues, even discussing them, when we met.

Readers, therefore, can make their own assessments of my comments about Blame as to whether or not they are “fair” or even unbiased. Readers should also know that though I have a long history of writing and publishing book reviews, both in print and online, with only one exception these have been works of non-fiction; critiquing a novel is something I vowed not to do once the first was complete, but here I am….

Enough about me; the book is what is important here, and it is an important book – especially for those who are not trained in or otherwise familiar with human/medical genetics and the range of ethical, social, legal, and political issues raised by the applications of what is learned in a lab. It is a novel of fiction and a novel of science, often eerily portraying not only what is happening now but what is possibly very soon to come as new technologies are normalized, “monetized,” and enter “ordinary” medical practice.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.

Bioethics Blogs

The Silent, Terrible Toll of Sexual Harassment in Medical Schools

It is hard for any physician to advance as a medical researcher. Competition for research funding is fierce; the rigors of publishing in prestigious medical journals are gargantuan. And women pursuing such careers face even bigger challenges, with many having to take on disproportionate burdens at home compared to their male colleagues (caring for kids, attending to chores), while receiving less effective mentorship than equally accomplished men.

Add to that the horrible, awful burden of being sexually harassed. I was part of a research team led by Reshma Jagsi of the University of Michigan, that reported on the frequency of sexual harassment experienced by early career medical researchers. I will tell you about our findings shortly. But first, I want to describe an email Dr. Jagsi received shortly after we published our findings. It was from a woman (who I will keep anonymous) who experienced sexual discrimination and harassment during her residency training (the period of time immediately following medical school). She was in a relatively small specialty, one where everyone knows everyone else. That made her feel like if she spoke up in any way about her treatment, word would get around the country about her difficult personality, and it could interfere with her career.

During residency training, her department chair held weekly poker games for residents and faculty, but only invited men. It was a guy’s night kind of thing, a seemingly harmless gathering except for its close connection to the workplace. If the department chair had invited non-employees over for poker – dudes he knew outside of the medical school setting – there would be nothing wrong with him holding a male only poker game.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.

Bioethics Blogs

Diagnosing the culture of medicine: Gender Discrimination Disorder

by Jelena Poleksic An article on gender discrimination in academic medicine that was recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Association has revealed a disturbing conclusion: 30 percent of female physicians report having experienced sexual harassment.[[i]] This discrepancy was first formally noted twenty years ago when 52 percent of women in academic medicine […]

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.

Bioethics Blogs

Sexual Harassment in the Medical Profession

Photo Credit: masterfile.com

Here is a report from a study I collaborated on, led by the amazing Reshma Jagsi, a physician at the University of Michigan. It reveals just how common it is for female academic physicians to report experiencing sexual harassment in the workplace. Important but disturbing news:

“This is a sobering reminder that our society has a long way to go before we achieve gender equity,” says study author Reshma Jagsi, M.D., D.Phil., associate professor and deputy chair of radiation oncology at the University of Michigan Medical School.

Researchers surveyed 1,066 men and women who had received a career development award between 2006-2009 from the National Institutes of Health. These awards are given to promising physician-scientists to develop their career as independent investigators. The physicians are now mid-career; average age when surveyed was 43.

Physicians were asked a number of questions about their career experiences, including questions about gender bias, gender advantage and sexual harassment.

Women were more likely than men to report both perceptions and experiences with gender bias: 70 percent of women vs. 22 percent of men perceived gender bias, and 66 percent of women vs. 10 percent of men said they experienced gender bias.

In addition, 30 percent of women compared to 4 percent of men said they had experienced sexual harassment in their professional careers.

To read the rest of this article, please visit Science Daily.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.

Bioethics Blogs

Recommendations and Resources Exploring Faculty Responsibilities Toward Students in Distress

On November 18, 2015, the Center for Ethics Education and the Institutional Equity and Compliance Office hosted discussion with Fordham faculty and teaching fellows entitled “Exploring Faculty Responsibilities Toward Students in Distress.” This seminar featured brief presentations by Fordham faculty from different departments and an illuminating discussion about experiences, challenges, and opportunities for faculty encountering students in distress.

The recommendations that resulted from the discussion are now available on the Center for Ethics Education website. In addition to the recommendations, this site also includes guidelines and resources for handling students in distress.

One set of issues addressed in the seminar concern the following reporting obligations:

  • How should faculty handle their reporting obligations when they learn a student has been a victim or perpetrator of sexual harassment, rape or other forms of sexual violence?
  • How should faculty respond when they have knowledge of a hate crime committed on campus or by students or faculty?

A second set of issues concern what types of interventive actions are appropriate when a faculty member is told or suspects a student is distressed as a result of mental health issues, substance use, or family, economic or life stressors, etc.)

  • How can a faculty member act in helpful ways that do not violate responsible student-faculty boundaries?
  • How should faculty address distress communicated in class papers and other writing?

These situations require thoughtful reflection on the most appropriate way to respond, balancing our commitment to Cura Personalis–providing not only for the student’s academic needs, but for other aspects of their well-being–while also ensuring that our actions are appropriate and do not overstep the boundaries between student and faculty, potentially creating harm.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.

Bioethics News

British man has fathered 800 children

Another chapter in the Wild West of reproductive technology: the British man who has fathered 800 children and hopes to reach 1000. Simon Watson, 41, has been helping desperate women for 16 years. Married twice, with three children of his own, he advertises his services on Facebook.

Bertold Wiesner,  an obstetrician in London in the 1940s, was the father of about 600 children at his own fertility clinic, but it now appears that Mr Watson has beaten him.

“Usually one [baby] a week pops out. I reckon I’ve got about 800 so far, so within four years I’d like to crack 1,000,” he told the BBC. “I’ve got kids all the way from Spain to Taiwan, so many countries. I’d like to get the world record ever, make sure no-one’s going to break it, get as many as possible.” Sperm donors at a conventional IVF clinic are limited to 10 children.

Typically Mr Watson meets his clients at a petrol station and hands over his donation. He charges 50 Pounds. “If you go to a fertility clinic people have to go through lots of hurdles – counselling sessions, huge amounts of tests and then charge absolute fortunes for the service – but realistically if you’ve got a private donor you can just go and see them, meet them somewhere, get what you want and just go,” he explained.

Mr Watson’s business is not illegal in the UK, but his clients risk sexually transmitted diseases and birth defects – apart from the fact that their child will not have a father.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.

Bioethics News

The virtuous surgeon

There is a hoary medical joke which runs: “What is the difference between God and a surgeon? God does not think he is a surgeon.” Perhaps there is a bit of truth in the implication that surgeons tend to be brash and bullying. Certainly the disturbing allegations made against Australian surgeons bear it out, as we report in our lead story.

After some appalling reports of sexual harassment by surgeons hit the media, the surgeons’ professional body asked a group of eminent experts to investigate. They found that “discrimination, bullying and sexual harassment are pervasive and serious problems in the practice of surgery in Australia and New Zealand” and called for “a profound shift in the culture of surgery”.

A noble goal, indeed, but how will it be achieved? By creating new lists of standards and writing more reports? The most natural way, surely, is to make character, not just competence, part of medical training. Unless surgeons are virtuous, in the old-fashioned sense of the word, I suspect that it will be impossible to eliminate this seedy behaviour.  

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.