Students Say They Were Forced to Get Vaginal Exams in Class & It Wasn’t Educational

worreid med studentMost of us appreciate a little empathy from our doctors. So some med students will actually volunteer to have exams and procedures done to them so they'll understand what their patients go through. But one college went way too far with that idea when female students were forced to get vaginal exams -- right in the classroom.


Two medical diagnostic students are suing Valencia College in Orlando Florida. They claim they were forced to submit to transvaginal probes as part of their classroom training. Three instructors are named in the case, and here's the surprising thing: All three are female.

According to the lawsuit, the Medical Diagnositc Sonography Program's faculty "believed that students should undergo invasive transvaginal ultrasound procedures in order to become better sonography technicians." These exams are supposed to be voluntary, but the students say they were threatened with lower grades and getting blacklisted from future employers if they didn't comply.

The students were allowed to undress in a restroom. But then, they had to "drape themselves in towels, and traverse the sonography classroom in full view of instructors and other students." A fellow student would place a condom over the probe and then apply lubricant. "In some cases, the student would have to sexually 'stimulate' plaintiffs in order to facilitate inserting the probe into plaintiffs' vaginas," the lawsuit claims.

The students "experienced discomfort and embarrassment each time they had to endure this forced probing of their sexual organs."

But it gets worse. The lawsuit alleges that one of the instructors, Barbara Ball, approached one of the women during a probing session and "stated (she) was 'sexy' and should be an 'escort girl' (prostitute)." 

Ugh, that places the real purpose of the probe entirely into question, doesn't it?

But I'm utterly horrified that this abuse allegedly came at the hands of women. It's not just because statistically, sexual abuse overwhelmingly comes from men more often than from other women. It's also because you'd expect a certain amount of, well, empathy and solidarity from women. This experience would have felt like a double betrayal. Wouldn't they know how humiliating this would feel?

Neither gender has a monopoly on peversity. But I'm still disappointed to hear women were behind this alleged abuse.

Meanwhile, Valencia College isn't apologizing for anything until the lawsuit is settled. They issued this statement.

The use of volunteers -- including fellow students -- for medical sonography training is a nationally accepted practice. Valencia College's sonography program has upheld the highest standards with respect to ultrasound scanning for educational purposes, including voluntary participation and professional supervision by faculty in a controlled laboratory setting. Nonetheless, we continue to review this practice and others to ensure that they are effective and appropriate for the learning environment.

Effective and appropriate? Yeah. Please, do find out if forced vaginal probes are effective and appropriate. We'd love to know.

What would you do if you'd been one of these students?


Image via sheff/Shutterstock


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