A few tweets by Chinoy detailing her exasperation at a doctor’s un-professionalism generated a debate of epic proportions, from men educating women on the technicalities of harassment, to discussions of elitism and celebrities using undue influence. Like all social media debates where a woman is concerned, the discussion took no time turning vitriolic, with men bombarding Chinoy’s page with threats of violence. What has been lacking from the conversation is nuance, context and an understanding of ethics and professionalism.
Whether you agree with Chinoy’s approach or not, it must be acknowledged that people in positions of power need to be held to higher professional standards than laymen. This is especially true for doctors who have partial control and access to our bodies. A woman going to a doctor gives up some of her privacy and the inappropriateness of a doctor taking advantage of her vulnerable position should not be so difficult for social media critics to grasp. We must remember, what is normal for an acquaintance may be an ethical breach for a professional.
Sharmeen may have mislabelled a breach of ethics as harassment but what has been far more disappointing is seeing the blatant ignorance of people on how harassment depends on the context and the disproportionate power between the culprit and victim. It is disappointing that while Pakistanis rightly condemned American producer, Harvey Weinstein’s example of someone using his power and position to make advances on women, at home, we often entirely forget the code of professionalism and sanctity of client privilege.
It is impossible to make a clear conclusion on harassment without thorough detail of the facts, which only AKH knows, and being a hospital of international repute, we trust their judgment. Breach of ethics is a solid reason for suspension and amidst a medical profession rife with doctor-patient and doctor-nurse harassment which is brushed up under the rug; it is heartening to see a proactive decision.