Editors' note: These anonymous confessions of sexual harassment and assault were submitted to dvm360.com as part of the Vet Confessionals Project. We think these confessions are important to an ongoing conversation and we welcome submissions on this subject. You can submit an anonymous confession here.
With the dawn of movements such as #MeToo and #TimesUp, women today are feeling more empowered than ever to share their workplace stories of sexual harassment and sexual assault. Until recently, this kind of harassment has been a burden that many women just kept to themselves. Confessions like these, anonymous but powerful, showcase the problems many women still face in veterinary medicine and the world.
“I hate that I was sexually assaulted on my campus and my CVM won’t support me—they made me petition for reinstatement and I had faculty tell me ‘not to play the victim card.’ I thought vet med was supposed to be a family …”
As more and more women enter the veterinary profession, more and more come under the threat of bullying, toxicity in the workplace, sexism and, yes, sexual harassment or assault. While those are not all one and the same, seemingly slight discriminations can progress into something worse than they may originally seem.
“I (DVM) work with a tech that treats me like crap. He is sexist and talks down to me. My bosses don’t understand how it makes me feel. I think they think he will be too hard to replace but they may have to replace me if he continues, and I love everything else about my job.”
From subtle slips, to purposeful words and actions, women in the veterinary workplace experience a level of oppression that men normally do not (that isn’t to say it never happens to men. It does). This is why it is so important to speak up to put an end to the unfair treatment.
“When clients ‘pet’ their pet but really it’s my boob …”
Though there seem there are steps being taken in the right direction in the wake of these new movements, professionals in the veterinary world still need to be aware of that there is still discrimination, harassment and assault.
“Doing a rectal exam on a dog while male owner was in the room. Guy says “he [the dog] says you should be doing that to my dad instead.’ Ewwwww.”
Whether or not it’s discussed, the veterinary profession is not untouched by injustice. This is why it’s so crucial to start a conversation, to take action and demand equality in your field. For more information, personal accounts and tips to take action, go here. If you have a story you’d like to share, or action steps you find valuable, reach out to us at [email protected]. Want to write a confession? You can anonymously submit one here.