You may recall reading fellow Chorister Caitlin’s recent post on rapist and serial violator of women, Dr Sabi Lai. In an extrodinairy case of injustice for rape victims Lai was reinstated to the medical register by VCAT just a couple of weeks ago. This is despite the Medical Practitioner’s Panel conclusion that he was unfit to practice as a health professional (no shit!). Even more shocking is the fact that Lai has so far managed to escape an actual prison sentence altogether.
Well, this week another case of a Doctor abusing his powers of authority has been brought to trial.
Sulieman Ismail Hamid, an emergency department doctor at the Western Hospital in Sunshine has been accused by a woman (who cannot be named for legal reasons) of two counts of indecent assault, two counts of rape, two counts of sexual penetration of a person under his medical care who was cognitively impaired and two counts of indecently assaulting a person who was under his medical care who was cognitively impaired.
The first incident occurred at the Western Hospital, when the woman, who was a regular patient of the hospital, was seeking treatment in the emergency departement for a drug overdose and self-harm.
“(She) was alone with the accused in the cubicle. . . under the influence of those drugs she had taken at home and the ones given in the hospital. She propositioned the accused using the words f–k me,” Ms Forrester told the jury.
“He said he couldn’t because he was working, but then he rubbed her neck and breasts,” she said.
Two days later the Hamid went to the woman’s house and asked if he could come inside. According to the woman’s lawyer the victim thought that Hamid was merely making a house-call to give her medication so let him inside. Once inside the Hamid first digitally raped the woman and then after an interval where she thought he had left and fell asleep, he then raped her again:
The woman told the court that when Hamid came over to her house she was tired and went back to bed and he followed her into her bedroom.
She said he told her she was attractive and began touching her and kissing her.
“I was telling him I wanted to die and stuff like that,” she told the court. “Then he just got really in to me and started kissing me and touching me.”
She said Hamid began removing her clothes and she was feeling confused. She told the jury Hamid removed her pants and began touching her underneath her underpants. He then digitally raped her.
“I couldn’t move. I felt I didn’t have any bones in my body,” she said. “I think I screamed out . . . because he was hurting me.”
After Hamid left the woman went and told a friend who went with her to the police. A DNA sample was taken and Hamid’s DNA was found on the results of the sample.
Not surprisingly Hamid is denying that occurrence of rape. He is also denying that the woman was cognitively impaired, even though during their first encounter he would have been fully aware that she was mentally and emotionally unstable, she was after all being treated by him in emergency for self-harm and a drug overdose.
I just hope that the judge will see past the original proposition by the victim, and see that the doctor was not simply reciprocating the attention of the patient but using his position of power to exploit the vulnerable woman who looked to him as someone in a position to take care of her, not violate her.
Because regardless of whether the victim did initially proposition Hamid or not, he has committed a grave abuse of his powers as a doctor. The victim had history of mental instability and was not in a position to consent to any form of sexual contact, Hamid was clearly aware of this, and clearly exploiting her vulnerability. By admitting to sex (something he had no choice to do because of the little fact of his DNA) and denying rape he plants the seeds of doubt where in the end it is his word, a doctor (a position which as we have seen with the Dr Sabi Lai case seems to grant a different sort of judicial treatment than usually handed out) against a woman who’s mental health issues could quite easily be twisted by a good defense lawyer to indicate a web of lies.
However regardless of the cases still “alleged” status, the point remains that Hamid should not have responded to the sexual advances of a patient.
He stands guilty of abusing his powers of both masculinity and his medical profession.