Physiotherapists and nurses denounce sexual harassment suffered at work – The Province

Physiotherapists and nurses denounce sexual harassment suffered at work - The Province


«I loved the massage, can you give me your phone for another private one?» «Your boyfriend will be happy with those little hands», «Will this massage have a happy ending?», "A patient was stripped. I was still studying. I told him to get dressed and he told me he was more comfortable like that. " These are just some examples of the hundreds of messages that flooded Twitter social network last October. The physiotherapists and nurses of our country denounced through the hashtags #MetooNurse and #MetooFisio the situations of sexual harassment, abuse and discrimination by gender that have suffered in the exercise of their work, thus joining the #Metoo tide. Out of embarrassment, many professionals have admitted that they had never shared these experiences in public, believing that they would be isolated cases and in those who could not act, but after the relevance of this action, they demand that measures be created to guarantee them the necessary protection, in professions in which physical contact is essential.

Solidarity with the victims and support have been key to giving voice to this movement. The College of Physiotherapists of Andalusia– based in Malaga – to know the number of colleagues who had confessed in the network have felt harassed or discriminated against in their work, decided to create a survey to contrast the information. The result: 7 out of 10 of the colleges in Andalusia have experienced experiences of harassment, discrimination and innuendo by patients, bosses and even colleagues. More than 75% of respondents admitted feeling undervalued by the fact of being a woman. «We were surprised with the results. In addition, 90% have stated that they have never reported these events, when it is necessary to do so to reverse the situation, "explains Miguel Gil, vice president of the Association of Physiotherapists in Andalusia.

Following this circumstance, the institution has created a commission formed by the colleges themselves and have expressed their rejection of any type of act that denigrates the profession. In addition, they have begun to disseminate information so that all workers know that they can adhere to their right not to perform their services if they are in a violent situation. «We can not allow this to happen. We want our professionals to feel safe and report. Many colleges feel unmasked by ignorance but from the College we will always be on their side, "says Gil.

Despite this wave of support generated by this movement, in Malaga complaints of sexual harassment are still inferior to those of workplace harassment because of the complexity of the process. «It is very difficult to report this type of violence. First, it has to be continued for six months to be processed. Then you have to have witnesses, and not many colleagues are willing to collaborate in such a hierarchical institution, "criticizes Teresa Polaino, delegate of the Union of Nursing in the province of Malaga (Satse).

After 42 years in the health sector of Malaga, Teresa Polaino regrets that the continued harassment is lived from "always" and in two ways, the one of the patients and the one of the companions doctors or nurses. "I myself suffered harassment while working and I have also experienced cases of other partners. There should be cameras in the units of hospitals to stop silencing these cases, "sentence.

For the nurse, the campaigns that are being made from the movement #MetooNurse "They are good to prevent but it is not enough," he says. Defend that it is through the education of children how to fight against this behavior. "In practically all cases, violence is exercised by men and we limit ourselves to defending ourselves. Education is fundamental to learn to respect women and the profession, "he says.

A sexualized profession

Both nurses and physiotherapists criticize that their profession is full of sexist stereotypes, by the image that is given of them in the media. In the case of nurses, the sexualization of his uniform continues to cause problems. The Satse already claimed a few months ago to companies that removed from the sale those disguises that threatened the dignity and image of the professionals, but its complete withdrawal has not been achieved. "It is degrading that the uniform is still used as a sexual symbol, and even worse that there are private hospitals where they force the professionals to work in a skirt," says Teresa Polaino. In the case of physiotherapists, Miguel Gil, also indicates that the media are "responsible for promoting the eroticization of the profession", which causes many people still not considered simple "health workers".

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