Silverman says this is the last mammogram with this, or any, male doctor
Comedian and actress Sarah Silverman did not mince words on social media after a breast ultrasound with a male doctor left her feeling vulnerable. Her message to other women to speak up when they feel they’re feeling violated is a rage-inducing must-read.
Silverman started by saying she had “shitty time” at her mammogram appointment. “I have to get an ultrasound after my mammograms because I have dense breasts (insert joke here) and this radiologist — the same man I had last year — I do not like him and here is why,” she wrote.
Silverman went on to explain that this doctor not only put the ultrasound gel on with his bare hands, but he also proceeded to have a conversation with her about a subsequent chest X-ray she needed to have while she was topless.
“Finally I said ‘Hey-can we either talk about this when I’m dressed or WHILE your doing the ultrasound? I’m not comfortable with my breasts out just shooting the shit with you,'” she continued.
Then it went from bad to worse. As he’s gliding the ultrasound wand over her breasts, with no gloves on, Silverman said he also dragged his fingers over them at the same time. “Again, AS I TOLD HIM LAST YEAR, I said ‘Hey! Do you need to be touching me with your fingers?’ He said ‘No’ and then removed them, saying he was doing so to ‘for balance.'”
Silverman, like many women, said it’s taken her years to be able to speak up when something like this happens because we are women and god forbid we hurt anyone’s feelings or make anyone else uncomfortable (while we’re agonizingly uncomfortable ourselves).
“It’s uncomfortable and too easy to think it’s all in your head. And arrogant fucks like this doctor take advantage of women’s socialized instinct to not speak up,” she said. “…I know that personally it took many years into adulthood before I spoke up for myself.”
Silverman points out that regardless of his intent, it’s his job as a physician to be aware of his actions and how they may be interpreted by a woman, who is the only one naked and vulnerable in that setting. “For him to be so arrogant that he didn’t even internalize the problem when I said something to him about it last year is obnoxious and probably a subconscious power thing if we’re getting deep,” she continued.
This cuts to the heart of the MeToo and Time’s Up movements. There is always a balance of power issue in every one of these situations. And when you have the power — be it money or employment or in a doctor/patient relationship — you need to be aware of how that impacts every single interaction you have. Taking advantage of that for your own benefit is why there needs to be a movement in the first place.
“That was my last mammogram with this dude. Or any dude,” she writes.
“Look. I’m a grown woman and I’m fine,” Silverman finished. “All this to say speak up. Trust that thing in your gut that tells you this shit ain’t right.”