Doctors across Pakistan and every one over the planet are on the frontlines during the coronavirus pandemic. Harassment of female doctors at the time of corona crisis.
While tons of them are working tirelessly in hospitals – isolating themselves from their families and risking their own lives – testing and treating patients, many have also volunteered their services to boost awareness and made themselves available to answer any concerns of civilians.
All around social media, folks are sharing their appreciation for medical workers, calling them heroes and warriors. Surely they’re getting the respect they deserve, right?
Well, the male doctors are… Can’t say an equivalent for ladies .
Apparently, even an epidemic can’t stop predators from harassing women within the medical field who are utilising their time to assist those in need. and people doctors have had enough.
Yep, you bought that right. Where doctors are talking about saving yourself from a dangerous virus, some men are trolling them with vulgar messages.
Imagine being a doctor and trying your best to assist people, being made to waste precious time having to block/report numbers using such abusive language.
For female doctors, this is often not a replacement case though, as Dr. Anza shared with Images.
“It starts right from once you join med school. If you mention it on your social media profile or maybe hint at it, the messages start pouring.”
“What’s weird is how they always begin in an eerily ‘respectful’ manner, saying ‘Hello doctor sahiba’ then it pops during a bad direction. Sometimes it’s from other doctors – or people claiming to be doctors/med students.”
Dr. Fizza* started facing problems after becoming a volunteer.
“I’ve been relatively under the radar so I hadn’t really faced anything like what I had heard from fellow doctors,” said Fizza.
“When the time came to volunteer, I joined in immediately, genuinely hoping to assist the maximum amount as I can. on the other hand came the attacks.”
“Sometimes they might begin sort of a real patient but things would take a shift. And I’d ignore it tons because I’d think, ‘They’re just trolls’, but sometimes the messages would be too graphic and are available with pictures and videos that might just ruin my day. I knew of such things happening but seeing it for myself was depressing.”
Fizza revealed that she also backed out of volunteering because it had been an excessive amount of in touch .
Sara Khurram, the founding father of telemedical company Sehat Kahani, opened more about the virtual harassment faced by her team. Sehat Kahani features a team of female doctors who are digitally connected to patients that require healthcare. Harassment of female doctors at the time of corona crisis.
“We have an app through which patients can directly connect with female doctors and have a consultation via chat, audio or video call,” said Khurram, adding that they face this issue tons on the app, especially the past few months.
“Last Saturday, we made our app free for the approaching three months in order that people could use it during this pandemic, to ask about Covid-19 symptoms, screenings etc especially due to the lockdown and therefore the load in hospitals, an individual shouldn’t need to enter only for a consultation.”
“We made the app liberal to help people and each now then , someone calls to mention ‘I love you’ to a doctor who might be helping an individual who needs it, saying ‘Please ask me’, ‘What are you doing’, ‘Tell me about yourself’. As soon as someone starts doing so, we block them. We’ve had enough to understand the way to affect them now.”
For Sehat Kahani and its doctors, the preparation came from a previous spammer attack. Sara revealed that that they had been facing issues long before they made their app free. That’s right, people paid to troll female doctors who just wanted to try to to their job.
“Around two months ago, we had a spammer attack where variety of men started calling all our doctors, booking their slots, which the doctor couldn’t unbook for an additional patient and bombarding them with missed calls. The doctors couldn’t see the other patients.”
“Then those guys started having inappropriate conversations, sending vulgar pictures and porn site links within the session… Again, this was when the app wasn’t even free. They were paying to try to to all this! i assume we did observe money from it.”
Of course Khurram and her team took immediate action to figuring it out and reducing the trolling.
“We reported it and added some checks and balance on our app after which it reduced significantly but they’re still there.”
Despite all the regulations, some problematic folks still get through, and while it’s going to be a joke for a few , the damage is sort of deep for the people at Sehat Kahani.
“I work with doctors who come to figure ,” explained Sara. “The main purpose of my company is to bring female doctors who’ve left the sector back to the workforce. numerous aspiring doctors find yourself quitting after marriage. It takes tons for them to convince their family for why they have to return back to figure albeit this is often a manageable thanks to do so.”
“Some of my doctors actually said they can not do that because once they come to figure and that they get this treatment, their family becomes very upset. During the spam attack, tons of them got disturbed and demotivated.”
She added, “We do our greatest to assist our doctors but it’s sad that we’ve to mentally prepare them for this. There should be more mention this because tons of hospitals are using telemedicine now. tons of doctors especially female doctors will face this abuse.”Harassment of female doctors at the time of corona crisis.
According to Dr Tooba*, another who volunteered to assist during the pandemic, calling out their behaviour doesn’t work.
“They need a response out of you. Whether it’s angry or complicit. They know regardless of what they are doing and regardless of how you response, you’ll bear the brunt of it all. That’ the victim-blaming culture.”
Tooba shared that her family got very concerned from the primary time it happened.
However, she isn’t backing down.
“I’m a vocal person, therefore the first time a man started saying gross things, i used to be angry and was yelling at him. Thankfully, my family is knowing about such situations but they worry about me. i do not blame them, a bit like i do not blame the ladies who aren’t volunteering anymore. It takes a toll on you.”
Of course there are many like Tooba who are standing strong, getting work done despite of these hurdles. They’re calling out the problematic behaviour and moving past it. But should they need to? Not in the least .
We’ve normalised harassment such a lot that we expect this to happen and as a society, it is a nuisance to listen to about such accounts. Too repeatedly we have seen women post about what they face in their daily lives and a few respond with “That’s life” or “No got to make a hue.” Guess what? once they aren’t vocal, you deny it happening or restrict it to singular analogies.
It’s about time we address such problems and for the love of humanity – the very humanity these doctors try to save lots of – stop harassing women who are just trying to try to to their job. Harassment of female doctors at the time of corona crisis.