Editor’s Note: This story is part of the series A Plastic Surgeon Sexualized My Exam
I underwent post-bariatric body contouring with the finest plastic surgeons in the nation. Let me be clear that he is not the plastic surgeon who sexualized my exams. Here is my story.
By Law This is Sexual Assault
I saw the local plastic surgeon for my six-weeks post-tummy tuck follow-up. The surgeon seated himself on a low stool then had me stand and open my robe for the examination. He then pulled in intimately close to my exposed body. His face was close to my bare genitalia, so close that he had to look up to address me when he beamed "Oh He did a mons lift!" The lilt in his voice seemed oddly excited. Perhaps it was just an indication of his medical curiosity in the work that my real plastic surgeon had done, but my perception after the fact is this was a signal of what was in store for my exam. Either way, the plastic surgeon would remain up close to my naked vulva for nearly the entire hour that he examined me.
The plastic surgeon slowly traced his ungloved finger along my incision from hip to hip and through my pubic hairline. As he spoke to me in great detail about my abdominoplasty and mons lift, he repeatedly moved his finger along the part of the incision in my pubic hair over and over and over again. The incision is very low near my cleft and I remember thinking that he was touching me a lot in a very intimate area.
All the while that he was touching me, I would look now and again at the nurse. She would be staring at the wall and shoot me an uncomfortable glance, then quickly look away. I don’t know what to make of that. But there is a wealth of credible documentation that shows the nurse chaperone is there to protect the physician, not the patient, and most will not speak out against the doctor for fear of losing their jobs.
I now know what the plastic surgeon was doing: He was testing my defense response to his touch. With his eyes fixed upon my vulva, he would run his finger along that part of the incision in my pubic hair and then look at my face to study my expression. He did this three more times after he initially ran his finger along my entire incision. I remained silent and unflinching, an obedient good patient. I did not stop him and that was the indicator that he was looking for. The surgeon then took full advantage of my compliance.
He rose from the stool and stood even closer to me than he had previously been. His body nearly was touching mine. He turned his back to the nurse and positioned himself between her line of sight and me. Without explanation, he quietly slid his ungloved hand between my legs. His touch was delicate and unhurried - and nothing about it felt clinical. He cupped my vulva in his hand and made strong eye contact. He stared into my eyes as he groped me, and in that moment I could feel him take all my power away. He spoke softly and still did not release me from his grip, "The swelling here will resolve." It was a cloak of deceit, a small detail to keep me entrapped in the belief that this was a proper exam. I froze: It felt wrong that the surgeon was touching me like this but I had put my complete trust in him. In the moment all that I could do was mutter, "good."
The surgeon continued to abuse his power over me. Still holding me in his grip, he slowly lifted my vulva gently upward with his hand, pressing his palm into the most intimate area of my body. I could feel the pressure against my clitoris and the entire experience felt intimidating and sexual. All this time, he remained invasively close to my undressed body. We were eye to eye and he watched me intently to observe the look in my eyes and the expression on my face as he fondled me. I was completely submissive and vulnerable, unable to move or to say anything. All I could do was look back into his gaze, stunned like a deer in the headlights of an oncoming car. Then he gradually released his pressure and removed his hand.
Cheryl Ann Borne, writing as My Bariatric Life, is a contributing writer and Paleo recipe developer for HealthCentral’s Obesity Community. Cheryl is an award-winning healthcare communications professional and obesity health advocate who has overcome super obesity and it’s related diseases. She publishes the website MyBariatricLife.org and microblogs on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. Cheryl also is writing her first book and working on a second website. Watch her transformational video on Vimeo.