Victims Forum

Sexual Assault at the Hands of Your Doctor?

UPDATE: On Nov. 7, police arrested Dr. Jeffrey Abrams and charged him with 24 felonies: 15 counts of sexual penetration of an unconscious victim, 8 counts of sexual battery and one count of child pornography, local media reported. ABC10 reported that a total of four women have come forward with accusations against Abrams.

Your relationship with your doctor is a unique one. Keeping healthy means telling your doctor intimate things you wouldn’t tell anyone but your closest friends. Our doctors see us naked and vulnerable, and we have little choice but to trust them.

So it’s disturbing to hear that a doctor here in San Diego County is accused of sexually assaulting a female patient during an office visit. What’s worse is that she doesn’t appear to be the only victim.

A Violation of Trust – and of the Law

The man accused is Dr. Jeffrey Abrams, who practices in El Cajon at Volunteers in Medicine. He was placed on leave when the accusations surfaced. To date, Abrams has not been charged with a crime.

CBS News 8 – San Diego, CA News Station – KFMB Channel 8

The woman Abrams is accused of assaulting came to him with pain in her belly button in January. According to the search warrant, Abrams asked her to undress in front of him. He then placed his finger in her vagina and later took five photos of her naked body, authorities allege. The woman reported the incident. 

A warrant from the state medical board described the doctor’s alleged activities as “extreme departures from the standard of care.” According to the warrant, among the content on Abrams’ phone was a photograph of a fully nude young girl and a video of a patient masturbating.

Jessica Pride is representing this victim who was brave enough to come forward. She intends to file a civil suit against the doctor and the clinic to help the woman receive justice. Jessica recently spoke with CBS 8 and ABC 10 about the case.

What You Need to Know

Many of us are shy and nervous during a visit to the doctor. But what you must remember is that he or she is your doctor that you are hiring to help you. Your doctor doesn’t have the right to subject you to anything you do not want. Except in certain emergency situations, your consent is always necessary.

So here’s a few important things you need to keep in mind:

  1. woman and doctor in officeWhen you get a gynecological exam, you have the right to have a woman present.
    If your gynecologist is a man, you have a right to have a female in the room during your exam. This extra set of understanding eyes can make a woman feel much, much safer, and it’s easy to understand why.
  2. Anytime you are undressed, you should be provided a gown – even if you aren’t fully naked.
    When you need to undress for a medical exam or procedure, you should be given a gown to wear. You shouldn’t need to be any more naked and exposed than is necessary to attend to your medical needs.
  3. Doctors must always wear gloves during a gynecological exam.
    For the sake of both comfort and sanitation, this one is a no-brainer.

Speak Up

If you are unsure of something during an office visit, ask your doctor about it. If your doctor is doing something that makes you uncomfortable, speak up. If your concerns linger, look for another doctor.

If you think you have been sexually assaulted by your doctor, contact law enforcement immediately. Doctors who sexually assault patients should not be in practice. Speaking up cannot only help your case but help other women who may be future victims.

by Jessica Pride
October 29, 2014

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