Sexual Assault

“Lives” Column in the Sunday Times

I’ll be honest with you–last week was not my best week. I can muscle my way through almost anything, with good game face, to boot. But last week I succumbed to a migraine, and as I’m sure many of you know, there’s nothing more humbling than being alone in an ED in a city very far from home, spending hours trying to will your body to work just enough to get you to the next city.

Keeping this in mind, I was particularly interested in a column found in this Sunday’s NY Times Magazine. With pretty constant travel defining my current routine, and with years of taking call before that practically obliterating anything close to a routine, I am a creature of small habits: jasmine tea in the morning;  trashy magazines on airplanes; Sunday NY Times every weekend, starting with the fluff (Styles) and working my way to the front page. In the midst of working my way through this weekend’s Times, I discovered this article in the Sunday Magazine. It’s the Lives column, which is a first person account of what is often a fragment of an experience, by a different author each week. I didn’t think much of it, and in fact wasn’t even going to read it (because after the Magazine comes the Arts section, which I love), when the 1st sentence caught my eye: “It was 2 a.m. when the Haitian National Police brought the rape victim to the emergency room.” So I kept reading. And when all was said and done, I wasn’t sure how I felt about what the author, an internal med doc from Southern California, had written. Actually, I’m still not sure how I feel. I can’t tell if he’s looking for absolution, or just for company. Maybe something else entirely. Many of us know exactly what the scene he describes looks like. Many of us do this work because we were privy to that very scene. I’m curious what you think.

(Let me know if you can’t access it, and I’ll be happy to send it your way.)