The fairer sex

Think about this for a second: 1 in 4 women attending university say they have been victims of rape or attempted rape.

Just think. Do you know more than four university aged women? Have most of these women ever attended a house party with alcohol present, a concert, a sports game, a bar, a rally, or some other event where rape would be easily masked? Chances are, you know someone who’s been raped.

I feel myself becoming more aware of these issues–and, more aware of how often I bombard my friends and social media networks with this kind of information. And though someone always manages to point out how annoying I’m being, I find that very easy to brush off when I hear at least one or two people responding that they really were not aware of this information. It’s comforting to know I’m doing something to increase awareness, but it’s simultaneously disturbing to know that many people, men and women, are truly clueless about how frequent and prevalent sexual assault really is.

It’s interesting that no matter how much lifestyle planning I do for my career, no matter how much I want to factor in a nice family, a suburban home, regular work hours, I always come back to this idea of being a wild raging advocate for women who have been sexually assaulted. I see myself going on missions across the Indian subcontinent and southeast Asia to lend these women my voice. These amazing, powerful, impossibly strong women whom I could only aspire to be like. I want to be the one to do that because I, of all people, should relate to them most closely, as a woman of colour, a woman of minority status who made her way up into medical school. And they should see in me that connection which I hope would cause them to reach out to me and let me help them. I see myself as a Lisa Ling, a Sanjay Gupta, a human being who they could actually relate to and trust that I would relay their stories to create something bigger, some change that is more powerful than what they are used to.

Have you ever felt a calling? I don’t think medicine is my calling, insofar as treating the same kind of patients with the same kind of medicine and going home to my white picket fenced house is my calling. But I’ve never felt as strong a compulsion as I do towards advocating for women who have been victims of rape and assault, and I don’t think I would ever feel fulfilled in life until I did this. Luckily, this degree lends itself to advocacy as much as it does to traditional patient care, if not even more so.

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