Sarah Silverman posted about an 'uncomfortable' mammogram
No one enjoys going to the doctors, especially when the issue concerns an intimate part of the body. Still, you would hope that a doctor would act professionally and help alleviate some of the embarrassment you were feeling. Unfortunately, that is not what comedian and actress Sarah Silverman encountered when she went for a routine mammogram.
Silverman took to Instagram to share her experience with her 1,500,000 followers, writing: "I had a sh*tty time at my mammogram appt today. 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 went on to explain how the doctor made her feel uncomfortable by touching her breasts with his bare hands - something Silverman said she'd told him she didn't like before. She said:
"He opened my gown and put gel on my breasts and smeared it around with his bare hands. Then he started talking to me about my chest X-ray (I also got a chest X-Ray) and was pontificating with my boobs just out and covered in gel and cold and 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 sh*t with you.'"
She continued: "Okay so — he smears the gel on with his hands and NO GLOVES on and when he glides the ultrasound wand thing over my breasts he drags his fingers on them and it f*ck*ng bothers me. Again, AS I TOLD HIM LAST YEAR, I said 'Hey! Do you need to be touching me with your fingers?' He said 'No'. And he pulled them off of me. Then he added 'I do that for balance.' I said 'Well I believe in you and I think you can do with without your fingers on me.'"
Silverman said that she didn't think the doctor was purposefully trying to make her feel uncomfortable, but that she was annoyed because he should know better as a medical professional. She continued that she thought it may have been a subconscious "power thing", and that the doctor was doing it to assert some kind of dominance. She wrote:
"Look, I truly don’t think he was getting off on it, BUT it is his job to be aware that this is vulnerable for a woman. Wear f*ck*ng GLOVES - this isn’t a date. 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.
"That was my last mammogram with this dude. Or any dude. Look. I’m a grown woman and I’m fine. But this guy does this with everyone and I know that personally it took many years into adulthood before I spoke up for myself. It’s uncomfortable and too easy to think it’s all in your head. And arrogant f*cks like this doctor take advantage of women’s socialized instinct to not speak up. All this to say speak up. Trust that thing in your gut that tells you this sh*t ain’t right."
Sarah's message seems to have resonated with a number of women who have been in a similar situation and have commended the actress for her courage speaking out.
One user replied: "Thanks for posting this. I consider myself a pretty strong woman and a feminist. But if I’m honest, when I think of what I would do in that situation, I could really see myself saying nothing. ‘CUZ I WOULDN’T WANT TO HURT OR OFFEND HIM. And f*ck, man. That’s a scary and sobering thought that I hate to admit. It’s insane how deeply ingrained this sh*t is. Good for you for speaking up and shame on him for not trying a little (so little, omg) harder."
Another agreed with Sarah's sentiment, confessing: "Yessss I need to speak up so much more than I do! Glad to hear it's not always 'just in my head'."
Another user thought Sarah should report the doctor for his unprofessionalism, claiming that she could even take him to court. They wrote: "Oregon Health & Science University has a web page on hand hygiene policy (washing hands and wearing gloves). The place where you went should have a similar policy which is in place to minimize the risk of spreading infections. What he did was unprofessional on multiple levels. You could talk to a lawyer about reporting the incidents to his professional organizations and workplace."
Clearly, a lot of women have experienced similarly uncomfortable situations when visiting the doctor. By bringing more awareness to the topic, hopefully, more can be done to stop these situations from occurring and women will be able to feel more confident in speaking up when something doesn't feel right.