OK, so this is about the most effed up thing that has happened to women in a while (which is saying a lot.)
Today, in “Full-Grown Adults Acting Like The Meanest Kids You Went To Middle School With,” a woman in Cincinnati was horror-stricken to learn that the results of her STD test had been made public. Two hospital employees took it upon themselves to post this woman’s name and her sensitive medical information to a 2200-member-strong Facebook group called “Team No Hoes.” The screenshot of the test results was followed by a barrage of comments labeling the woman a “hoe” and “slut.”
The Cincinnati woman’s attorney, Mike Allen, stated that his client “. . . was absolutely devastated. That is the most private of private medical information that was posted on Facebook and went out to a group on Facebook that had a huge dissemination.”
The woman in question is suing two employees from the UC Medical Center where she was tested, who allegedly procured and posted these results. She is also suing her ex-boyfriend, who apparently goaded these employees into committing this crime. The woman in question is suing for more than $25,000. I’m obviously not a lawyer (watching every episode of “The Good Wife” does not acing the Bar Exam equal) but it seems like a TON of state and federal laws were violated by these hospital employees, and twenty-five grand seems like a pretty low amount to settle for, given that they’ve taken such a hard toll on her reputation and general well-being. My fingers are crossed this woman gets WAY more than that.
Her attorney informed news sources that this leaked information has deeply wounded his client:
“She doesn’t want to go out. She doesn’t want to talk to people. People who were formerly her friends have made fun of her for it. She’s chastised in the community and all of this could’ve been avoided if UC Med Center had proper protections in place.”
I shouldn’t have to say this but, here it is for anyone who MISSED THE MEMO: A woman has the right to seek medical attention without being shamed for her sexual history. It’s a woman’s right to keep her medical history between herself and the medical professionals who are treating her. It is appalling that this woman has been publicly shamed for being responsible for her health. I can’t imagine what was going through the minds of the medical professionals who posted her private information. I don’t know how they justified this “Scarlet Letter”-level of slut-shaming to themselves. It’s also horrifying that this Facebook group exists, and that thousands of people have taken it upon themselves to cheer on this deeply misogynistic cyber-bullying.
This is an absolute nightmare for this woman who has been so terribly maligned, but it’s also a problem for all American women who want to live in a country where their health is their own business and no one else’s. This incident is disgusting, but it’s by no means isolated. There are too many instances of misogyny worming its way into women’s health issues. This isn’t the 1600’s, we’re not supposed to be living in Puritan America anymore, we should not be seeing a reincarnation of “The Scarlet Letter” play out on our public stage.