You may be thinking, “Psychiatric rape and sexual misconduct“?  Rape and sexual misconduct are scarcely unheard of in the psychiatric and psychological profession, which for some may come as a shock. The Hippocratic oath of “First do no harm” has been ignored in these professions in more ways than one. Taking advantage of a vulnerable patient sexually is a particularly heinous crime.

 

As reported by Dan Scanlan in 2010, a document he researched cites a particular case involving a psychologist that “dates back to sessions in 2008 with a woman being treated for childhood abuse. Prewett [the psychologist] asked her if he should ‘cancel the appointment because he was so distracted by the way she looked,’ according to the case document. He told her he wanted to ‘jump her bones,’ adding that most girls who are sexual abuse victims are basically ‘nuns or whores’ and she was in the ‘nun stage’ the document says.

 

The report states that “The woman left the office in shock, feeling victimized and hurt.”

 

This  profession is at least aware of their own psychiatric rape and sexual misconduct as outlined in the online website Psychiatric Services. “Next to suicide, boundary problems and sexual misconduct rank highest as causes of malpractice actions against mental health providers. Nevertheless, psychiatric training about boundary issues has continued to be ineffective despite today’s wider awareness of these caveats, increased recognition of the severe dangers to patients, threats to psychiatrists’ licensure from complaints to boards of registration, and professional ostracism. We speculate that these deficits of modern psychiatric training and practice may reflect the additional pressures of managed care—fostering a paradigm shift in psychiatry away from psychotherapy and toward pharmacology and excessively brief psychotherapies—but that the result is the same: We continue to see a steady stream of boundary violations, both sexual and nonsexual, in all psychiatric contexts.” 3

 

A 2009 article in The Baltimore Sun reports “A once-prominent psychiatrist and pain specialist who enjoyed a national reputation and a thriving practice in northwest Baltimore County was in court again Tuesday, facing another in a string of female patients who over the years have accused him of sexually abusing them.

 

This article states that “Nelson H. Hendler, 65, whose license to practice medicine was revoked by the Maryland Board of Physicians in February 2006 after it concluded that he committed sexual misconduct with patients and dispensed drugs without a permit, settled earlier civil suits from some of the women.”

 

Library Resources reports  “…sexual misconduct has been the leading cause of malpractice suits against psychologists since the mid-1970s.”

 

The report continues “…Some child psychologists have been accused of sexually abusing child clients.  Surveys attempting to assess the extent of sexual involvement between professionals and patients indicate that a large number of professionals admit to sexual contact with their patients.  Psychologists have also been successfully sued for sexualized dual relationships with their students or supervisees.” 4

 

Instances of psychiatric rape and sexual misconduct can be reported to Citizens Commission on Human Rights.