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The Launch Of The “Surviving In Scrubs” Campaign

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at DCU chapter.

With misogyny embedded deeply into our societal and cultural structures, it is no surprise that women within specialised professions suffer the effects greatly. The legal sector, IT, medical profession, you name it. With the launch of the Surviving in Scrubs Campaign, those working within the healthcare sector have been at the centre of this issue in the last few weeks. The campaign website has received hundreds of stories since its launch, with women across the UK sharing their experiences of sexism, sexual harassment and assault while working in the healthcare sector. What these stories highlight is the healthcare sector’s failure in supporting these victims. This is what the Surviving in Scrubs campaign aims to tackle.

What is the Surviving in Scrubs Campaign?

The Surviving in Scrubs Campaign is the #MeToo movement of the healthcare sector. Its aim is to establish an independent and safe reporting system for victims of sexism, sexual harassment and assault within the healthcare workforce. The Campaign has been set up by GP Dr Becky Cox and Emergency Medicine trainee Dr Chelcie Jewitt following empirical evidence of victimisation in the healthcare sector. The 2021 BMA survey reported the following statistics: 

  • 91% of women doctors had experienced sexism in the last 2 years;
  • 47% of women doctors felt they were being treated less favourably due to their gender;
  • 56% of women doctors said they received unwanted verbal comments;
  • 31% of women doctors said they had experienced unwanted physical touch.

In light of such horrific statistics, the two cofounders launched Surviving in Scrubs to tackle the issue of sexual harassment/assault within the healthcare sector. The campaign website provides a platform for victim-survivors to share their experiences of sexism, harassment, and/or assault anonymously. In this way, victim-survivors are demanding to be heard. The accumulation of 127 shared experiences submitted to the campaign created a narrative which cannot be ignored. Women in healthcare demand that the healthcare sector give utmost importance to their experiences within the workplace. The two co-founders aim for change within the industry so that a formal and transparent system of reporting sexism, sexual harassment, and/or assault can exist for victim-survivors..

Why Do We Need The Campaign?

A campaign like Surviving in Scrubs has been a long time coming. No centralised method for reporting incidents such as the ones mentioned above has ever existed within the healthcare system, leaving victim-survivors with no other choice but to report the incident to the head of their individual trust. This process would be like reporting any other workplace incident, which is not effective in dealing with such issues of sexual harassment/assault incidents. These incidents are normalised in our society, leading to victim-survivors not being taken seriously. Often times victim-survivor complaints are dismissed for this reason. As Dr Jewitt and Dr Cox highlight, “…at the moment you can speak to your clinical supervisor, but chances are they will know the perpetrator – they may be friends with them. Hospitals are very interconnected, intertwined environments and it may be that your complaint doesn’t go anywhere.”

The head of the trust may very well be the perpetrator also. One victim-survivor shared her story on the Surviving in Scrubs website. She stated that following multiple inappropriate incidents with multiple consultants she spoke up and said she did not like the behaviour. As a result, the consultant ended up, “not completing my ARCP outcome.” Where does that leave the victim-survivor in that case? This is what the Surviving in Scrubs campaign aims to highlight. It aims to raise awareness of the deficiencies of the healthcare sector in protecting victim-survivors within the workplace. This culture of misogyny persists in many areas of the healthcare profession. Dr Jewitt and Dr Cox have built an online platform where those affected can advocate for change and feel safe sharing their experiences.

How You Can Help

It is important that we support victimised healthcare workers in any way we can. If you have experienced workplace harassment within a healthcare setting, you may submit anonymous stories to the Surviving in Scrubs website. You can also follow the campaign on its various social media platforms and share it with your own followers!

It is time we create a safe space for healthcare workers who have been victimised in the healthcare industry.

20 year old law student. HerCampus DCU Editor in Chief