Australian news has been plagued in recent weeks by an investigation surrounding the male gynaecologist Dr Emil Shawky Gayed who appears to have butchered many of his female patients’ reproductive faculties over a prolonged period of time. The discredited doctor has over 20 years of experience in women’s health and has worked in four of Australia’s public hospitals during his career. Following the discovery of his abhorrent crimes, hotlines have been established in all four of the hospitals in which he worked to ensure women can report any ill treatment by the doctor-turned-savage. This was undoubtedly a necessary response to reports that suggest that numerous female patients in Taree, reaching at least double-figures in terms of those who noted Gayed’s abuse, have suffered at the hands of the medical official.
To give some detail of his crimes, there are cases in which Gayed performed unnecessary surgeries on women who could have been cured with a few days off work and some bedrest, and in the most extreme case, a victim died after being given unsuitable treatment. Through women speaking out to the media or calling the hotlines, a huge abuse and misuse of power has become obvious as the number of victims that are coming forward with complaints about the doctor continues to grow. Ultimately, Gayed has played God with many women’s insides for far too long, and this horrific case of professional misconduct brings wider societal problems of the relationship between biologically-defined gender and science into question.
Gynaecology is a field of medical science that has been neglected, shamed and shunned throughout history for its vagina-focused practice and was relatively unexplored until the 19th century. James Marion Sims – also known as the “father of modern gynaecology”- began practicing on enslaved black women in the 1840s, with many procedures taking place without any anaesthetic to dull the pain of surgery; a short summary of medicine created for women and exploited by men. The vagina, uterus and ovaries have been treated differently throughout time, perhaps treasured by the bible as a child-bearing mechanism or viewed politically as organs that should be controlled by abortion laws. The irony of Gayed’s story is that he is a man who has taken a Hippocratic oath promising to care for those in need, yet his knowledge of the human anatomy has resulted in a sick fantasy for fucking up women’s sex organs.
The intimacy of gynaecological examination may be intimidating for many as examinations involve inserting a speculum inside the vaginal canal in order to allow any problems to be identified. Perhaps the accusations and events that surround Dr Gayed are more horrifying for this reason, because women feel conscious of anything that involves their vagina naturally. Socially we are taught to not talk about their sexual health for fear of appearing promiscuous in any way. So, when a person that they can trust with this very personal area of their life abuses them, it becomes even more offensive than if this sort of mistreatment occurred with a focus