There is a major cancer hospital. It has a treatment that everybody says is the really best treatment ever invented for your kind of disease. Everybody tells you, if you want to get better, you have to go to this hospital, it’s the only way. So off you go – naive and full of hope, desperate for an answer to your problem.
When you arrive the doctor says, well this treatment was developed in 1935 and it hasn’t been updated since, it only has a 5% success rate, but if it doesn’t work, it’s your fault for not having faith in the treatment. But it’s saved millions of lives.
The doctor puts you to sleep for your operation, and whilst you are out of it, he sexually molests you under the unaesthetic – he calls all the other male doctors in to have a laugh at you in your vulnerable state, who’s going to believe you anway, he’s been at this hospital for twenty years and is admired as a good upstanding man.
When you wake up, you can feel you have been violated and you feel scared and ashamed, but you don’t want to die so you keep quiet, this hospital is going to save your life. You are wheeled to the ward where all the patients tell you, it’s a miracle, just do what the doctor says.
The orderly comes along, to bring you a glass of water, and whilst you are still groggy and foggy, he puts his hands under the sheets and touches you inappropriately. You try to protest but the other patients scream at you to shut up, so what, surely a little sexual harrassment is a small price to pay for a miracle, and anyway, look at you in that itsy bitsy hospital gown. That orderly has helped HUNDREDS of people and here YOU are, still sick and half asleep, criticising. You’d want to shut up and take that cotton wool out of your ears and put it in your mouth!
You get up to stagger to the bathroom, sore, sick and disorientated, on the way there, another patient roughly shoves his hand up your gown, and leers at you. When you protest he tells you no one will believe you, he had a miracle fifteen years ago and he’s very popular around here. And anyway, a woman like you, he knows your sort.
The doctor comes to check on you – with a knowing smirk on his face – and tells you, miracle of miracles your cancer is in remission (he fails to mention the odds of his cure were about the same as the odds of a spontaneous remission, or that there are other treatments that are more effective and far less harsh, but that would put him out of business). All you have to do are follow his instructions to the letter, surrender your will, and continue attending the hospital for the rest of your life and go out and convince others to come along too.
Before he leaves, he shoves you against the wall and rapes you. He tells you you were asking for it. The other patients know he’s done this before, but didn’t feel it fair on the doctor to warn you. Anyway, they say, you must have had a part in it that meant you put yourself in a position to be hurt. And this cancer of yours makes your brain go funny, you can’t possibly believe your own thoughts and feelings on this matter. Focus on the miracle, nothing’s perfect.
If you had cancer would you want to go to this hospital?