Jamaica Observer – A number of the island’s junior doctors have indicated that not only must they battle resource shortages, but they have had to endure sexual harassment from their seniors.

The allegations have come from junior doctors interviewed by the Jamaica Observer in May, all of whom have either experienced or know a colleague who has been sexually harassed or assaulted. They addressed the matter on condition of anonymity.

The junior doctors are also alleging victimisation at the hands of the senior doctors who, they said, are keen on maintaining a culture of abuse.

“It’s well known in the medical community here that many of the senior doctors, they take advantage of their junior doctors here. They might do [to others] as they did to me — there’s verbal abuse. This might be straying a bit, but even to the point of things like sexual harassment. This is very rampant in the medical community, but they like to be hush, hush about it,” a female junior doctor alleged.

“A lot of the junior doctors, they’re discouraged from coming forward with any complaints that they have because they are made to believe that it will hinder you going forward with whatever career plans you had in mind. You will be hindered if you kick up too much fuss,” explained the doctor, who has been in the field for two years.

“Every day I come to work I face unwanted advancements. There is no boundary. I’ve actually been physically assaulted by senior doctors, but I have never reported it to a higher body — whether the medical council or my HR (Human Resource) Department. I’ve never gone forward because, honestly, I believe that if I do go forward my career will end. I honestly believe that my career will be hindered. They will do everything in their power to ensure that you don’t achieve what you should,” she added.

She said several consultants use their powers to stymie efforts by their subordinates to bring awareness to the matter, which could have exposed hospitals and the lack of policies in place to protect junior doctors.