Share your experience of sexual violence in healthcare
When people get sexually assaulted, the first advice people give you is to go to the police. However, the police are not easy to access, especially for people who do not speak the language or are experiencing disability. For instance reporting at the police, might mean losing the medical help you need. Not to forget the institutional oppressions that make the police not a safe haven for our trans, queer, black, disabled siblings.
Even if the police were easy and safe to access to all, the criminal law system in the Netherlands is built around protecting the persecuted by the state, whereas the victim is nothing more than a witness who has to provide evidence. This means that the persecuted does not need to prove that it did not happen, but the victim needs to prove that it did happen. And especially disabled people tend not to be believed, in particular by their own family.
Furthermore, we do not believe that an issue that is so ingrained in our culture is solved by punity. Especially if most of the perpetrators are from our own community. Instead, we want to move towards accountability.
Bystanders, such as professionals and institutions within the medical system, need to take accountability and intervene to end and prevent that the responsibility to end the violence is in the hands of the victim. This includes consequences, such as preventing someone from working in the field of medicine.
The medical institutions need safeguarding rules and regulations in place to help those who are harmed in the system. Instead of focusing on protecting their name and reputation.
If you have been sexually assaulted and contacted the police to help you, please do not read this piece as any attack on your personal choice. We applaud your strength: doing that must have been so hard. Our project is a systematic critique on the fact that we are currently missing any viable alternatives from the criminal law system: the only way to do ‘something’ is by going to the police.