In a country where most women feel unsafe, doctors aren’t spared either. “We are as vulnerable as any other woman on the street….as any working woman in society,” recalls Dr Athira Darsan, as she talks about her constant encounters with male exhibitionists.
An exhibitionist is a person who behaves in an extravagant way in order to attract attention, usually using sexually explicit methods.
In a Facebook post on February 2, Athira wrote:
“A man came to me complaining about boils on his penis. I could not have prescribed medicines without a detailed examination. Not only did I not find anything abnormal, I soon realized he was an exhibitionist. I chose to ignore, sending him back saying he could consult a senior doctor the next day. Apparently, he did this regularly….. walking into Health Centres with similar complaints, to derive whatever little pleasure he got during examination!”
In a telephonic conversation with a news house, Dr Athira said “Nobody prepares us for such incidents…nobody tells us during college about how to deal with such cases. It is only in the course of our practice that we learn to cope. Being doctors, we realize that such patients have a psychological disorder, and we make it a point not to provoke them. As lady-doctors, we tend to ignore them. None actually address the underlying cause… I don’t think anybody knows how to.”
“Often, men take advantage of the fact that we are doctors, to slip in sexually explicit messages. Even online, we are not spared. I have had men messaging me on Facebook seeking medical advice, some of which are not at all genuine,” Dr. Athira wrote.
She shared a screenshots of messages from a male user who repeatedly sought medical help for reported ‘problems’ he faces during masturbation. Check out her Facebook post:
After her post went viral, she says that a few of her colleagues have come out to talk about similar experiences.