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Define “sexual assault”

Nearly one in three female surgeons in the NHS have been sexually assaulted in the last five years, with some taking place in operating theatres, according to a new survey.

Eleven instances of rape were reported by surgeons who took part in the study, published in the British Journal of Surgery.

The survey found 29 per cent of women who responded had experienced unwanted physical advances at work, more than 40 per cent receiving uninvited comments about their body and 38 per cent receiving sexual banter at work.

There’s a strong suspicion that what the average grandmother would call being a naughty boy is being described there as sexual assault. No, this is not to say that being a naughty boy is a good thing – it’s naughty. But a differentiation between that and sexual assault might be useful, no?

17 thoughts on “Define “sexual assault””

  1. As usual the definition of “sexual misconduct” is expanded beyond recognition past any legal definition, and equated to outright rape.

    Same is done to the term “surgeon”, which is equated to “anyone female-identifying who happens to be in a NHS hospital. or possibly just mildly in the vicinity of an NHS building”.

    And …Stuff… that simply doesn’t stand up to actual scrutiny..

  2. Just a wild guess, but I imagine the last NHS workers you’d want to piss off with sex without consent is a lady who knows which end of a scalpel does the work…

  3. 3 thoughts:

    Some wide open definitions and no data on males receiving unwanted etc?
    Of course the difference between unacceptable and acceptable is how the receiver feels about the emitter.

    Alternatively as the NHS is rife with this sort of thing we could solve the problem by getting rid of NHS hospitals and adopting a French / German / Austrian / etc. provision model which would havce the added benefit of saving some lives.

    And finally, I thought the NHS was massively underfunded. So I’d have opted for another nurse rather than some muppet going round asking dumb questions about people bumping into each other. Underfunded or badly run?

  4. And if you conflate rape with a clumsy attempt at a compliment/friendly greeting, you devalue rape to no more than a clumsy comment/friendly greeting.

    Is that the outcome intended?
    I rather hope note.

    Oh, and why treat clumsy/insulting comments to woman differently from the same comments/insults to men? “Bignose”! For blessed are the cheesemakers, etc.
    And define ‘women’!

    Perhaps the accused mistakenly identified the ‘female’ surgeon as a man, so that’s all right then.
    Truly, the western world has gone mad.

  5. Tim Mitchell, president of the Royal College of Surgeons of England, said such behaviour had “no place… anywhere in the NHS”.

    Describing it as “abhorrent”, he said: “We will not tolerate such behaviour in our ranks.”

    Rape is the new inclusivity. More rainbow walkways please.

  6. Is it sexual assault if an attractive female colleague tells you, with unmistakeable import, that she is lonely?

    If not, is it sexual assault the other way round? Especially if the chap is rather unattractive?

    Sexual assault is a nasty business and I therefore object strongly to people who cheapen the phrase. It reminds me of the twats who declare that something disagreeable at work means it’s practically slavery. No it bloody isn’t.

  7. Not trying to question the general point made about these stats and what is merely naughty and what is assault.

    However, there was a women on the wireless this morning who reported that she had complained to a surgeon who in theatre wiped his sweaty brow on her tits, not once but twice and when she asked if he needed a towel, said he was happy with using her instead.

  8. Letting the “fanatics” frame the terms of reference is always going to end up smearing the boundaries… My favourite of which is “binge drinking” – “officially” classed as a bloke having three pints in a session (ie twice the recommended limit in one go) whereas anyone with more than half-a-brain knows it’s really “drinking 20+ brightly-coloured tots of unknown booze then ending up sitting semi-conscious on the pavement in a pool of your own, or possibly someone-else’s, piss”.

    Still, it helps to keep the prodnoses in jobs.

  9. Bloke in the Fourth Reich

    Grandma telling surgeons they are being naughty boys? That’s so niche I have to wonder if even our friend Rocco has ever directed something along those lines.

    Otherwise I refer to the ancient and famous survey of undergraduates, 75% of whom had received unwanted sexual advances. Which primarily makes one wonder what the other 25% were doing wrong (or which proportion thereof found none of the received sexual advances to be unwanted).

  10. For clarity
    The BBC reported on a survey and *of those that responded* – i.e. a minority that one expects to include most of the victime and a minority of others – 63% of the women and 24% of the men had been sexually assaulted or received unwelcome approaches.
    We are not told what the response %age was for each sex
    We are not told what the number of unwelcome advances or sexual assaults were

  11. From the original article: “More than one third of doctors qualify without any sexual misconduct training, a new study by the University of Cambridge has found.”

    Gasp! It’s not the numbers of ‘assaults’ that are the concern, it’s that the lucrative training courses have not been used. And if you think that the average training course achieves anything other than a tick in the box…

  12. This is the definition participants were given:

    When responding to questions, it may be useful to consider the following Definitions

    Sexual Harassment

    Sexual harassment is unwanted behaviour of a sexual nature.

    The law (Equality Act 2010) protects the following people against sexual harassment at work:
    • Employees and workers
    • Contractors and self-employed people hired to personally do the work
    • Job applicants

    To be sexual harassment, the unwanted behaviour must have either:
    • Violated someone’s dignity, whether it was intended or not
    • Created an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for them, whether it was intended or not [reference]

    If you have been harassed at work, sexual harassment can include:
    • Sexual comments or jokes
    • Physical behaviour, including unwelcome sexual advances or unwanted touching
    • Displaying pictures, photos or drawings of a sexual nature
    • Sending emails, messages, or other electronic communication with sexual content

    So pretty wide ranging.

  13. Physical behaviour, including unwelcome sexual advances

    So basically, being asked on a date by someone she considers beneath her standards.

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