Humans understand things in contradictory pairs. We are not standing still if we’re moving. To move to a new place means leaving behind another.
Following the event, we resolved to dedicate our efforts to raising awareness at Einstein about domestic sex trafficking. We knew our colleagues might be just as uninformed as we had been. Later that year, we developed research on how to best teach sex-trafficking issues to medical school students.
When many people hear about human trafficking and health care, they usually think about sexual health: sexually transmitted diseases, pregnancy, and so forth. However, the health problems of trafficking survivors are much more vast and complex. It is also important to note that not all trafficking survivors are trafficked for sex.
In the five years that have passed since I met the 14-year-old girl who opened my eyes to the terrible crime of sex trafficking in the United States, much has changed. We have made strides in state and federal legislation to protect survivors, national human trafficking prevention months have been declared, and victims are no longer treated as criminals.
Gun violence as a public health issue is not a new phenomenon. In 2014 alone, there were 81,034 injuries and 33,599 deaths due to gun violence in the United States,which equate to 222 Americans injured, and 92 killed, by firearms every day.
In El Salvador, 17 women imprisoned after experiencing miscarriages or stillbirths began a campaign against reproductive injustice. “The 17” were sentenced for up to 40 years in prison for miscarriages or complications during delivery, after being convicted of attempted or aggravated homicide. This was the outcome of a total ban on abortion: young, often unmarried, women of lower socioeconomic status are suspected of inducing illegal abortion when experiencing emergent obstetric complications. Stigma and misogyny play into the result, in which a woman’s health during pregnancy is viewed with distrust.
You claim that my choice breaks your heart, / as if mine isn’t shattered and cracked. / You think I don’t know how beautiful he’d be, /or wonder how he’d walk, talk and act.
A few years ago when I was working at a charter school in upstate New York, one of my students was caught “prostituting herself” to men she was messaging online. When asked, she said she was doing so for a 30-year-old man she claimed was her boyfriend. Word about this traveled quickly at school. Students talked about her behind her back and called her a “hoe.”
Guantanamo Bay. Abu Ghraib. Americans have long been aware that our government participates in torture. What Americans may not be so readily aware of, however, is physician involvement in torture, an issue that came to light in the CIA report released by the Senate Intelligence Committee on December 9, 2014. The report made headlines worldwide, prompting world leaders to denounce the CIA’s actions and triggering organizations such as the ACLU to call for a full investigation of violations of human rights.
Much has been said about the growing crisis of mass incarceration in our country, especially how it disproportionately affects people of color. And it’s true, the United States currently houses 2.2 million people behind bars, a greater percentage of the population than that of any other nation in the world. Sixty percent of those incarcerated today are people of color.
According to CIA director Michael Hayden, the role of medical officers during interrogations has always been “to ensure the safety and the well-being of the detainee.” The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence refuted this testimony as “incongruent with CIA records.” What a gross understatement that would prove to be.
My entire life’s work has culminated in medical school. Every volunteer organization, every organic molecule I drew, every sacrifice I made in the name of studying has led to being here in Washington, D.C. Why? To join the ranks of the people I held with the highest esteem: doctors. Doctors were the embodiment of justice, beneficence and non-maleficence in my mind: flawless humans. Something I overlooked in that belief was that doctors are, in fact, …