Melnick at Large
By Arnold Melnick, DO, FACOP
Arnold Melnick, DO, FACOP
Are we doing enough? All pediatricians are familiar with Anticipatory Guidance, essentially effective guidelines promulgated by the AAP and in government publications. And I think that, like me, most of us think of this important subject only in relation to infants and young children.
And I think all of us are quite familiar with the recent celebrated aggravated, brutal rape case of an unconscious young lady at Stanford, with the perpetrator, who lied to the judge, receiving a slap on the wrist: six months in county jail of which he only served three. There followed a million letters demanding the recall of the judge in the case. But to me, the shining light was the 12-page letter written by the victim and read to the judge before sentencing. It detailed so effectively, in colorful and engaging language, her reactions and feelings and memories. Moving and tear-jerking! I strongly believe it should be read by everyone, but especially all pediatricians, particularly those who work with adolescents. Every one of us can learn tremendously about rape from her letter. (If you haven’t seen it, https://assets.documentcloud.org/documents/2854755/Victimstatement.pdf)
Why am I so exorcized? Besides my great love and concern for children, now defined as up to age 26 by federal standards, and ignoring my own shortcomings, I think the subject of rape has been mostly untouched by physicians. Even though I always included adolescents in my practice and emphasized it in my later years, I do not remember ever seeing anything about rape in the pediatric literature. I know I never heard the word mentioned in any of the many courses I took over my 50-plus professional years. So, are we doing enough?
I present a thought here, but I do not feel qualified to expound on the details. This rape case has made me think that pediatricians ought to have anticipatory guidance system for adolescents. There seems to be an epidemic of rape cases among college freshman (towards the end of their adolescence and having been just related from parental supervision and control), and so often mishandled by the colleges. It would be good for parents – and for the teenagers themselves – to receive some education especially since it could reach these adolescents about the right time. I leave specifics to my many colleagues specializing in Adolescent Medicine or in Sexuality.
Stanford took meaningful action: expulsion and lifetime ban from Stanford grounds. As to the judge’s lenient sentence, it was suggested by some commentators “that would have ruined his life.” What?? What about the lady whose life is irrevocably changed? Two lives shattered! Plus multiple family members.
(Editorial Note: This column was written June 15, 2016. For updates see Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/People_v._Turner)
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September 16-19, 2016
Anaheim Convention Center