Everyday Victim Blaming

challenging institutional disbelief around domestic & sexual violence and abuse

Things which are not “affairs”: the case of Adam Osborne.

Dr Adam Osborne, brother of George, has been struck off the general medical registrar following investigations into his behaviour with a female patient over a period of two years. Osborne was treating a female patient for depression, anxiety and chronic fatigue syndrome, who also problems with self-harm and substance abuse. He made a choice to pursue a 'sexual relationship' with a woman who was not in a position to consent due the power imbalance and the woman's mental health.  Despite the fact that Patient A attempted suicide after Osborne ended the 'relationship', Osborne still sent her threatening emails demanding she withdraw her complain to the General Medical Council (GMC). Bernadette Baxter, who represented the GMC at the hearing stated that Osborne's emails were "highly highly manipulative in preying on the woman's vulnerabilities".

Osborne had been previously suspended, in 2010, for writing fraudulent prescriptions for three people including a family member.

According to the media, this was an "affair". Medical professionals, like teachers, are prohibited from forming 'sexual relationships' with patients, yet the media minimises Osborne's behaviour by using the word affair - a term that refers to a consensual sexual relationship between two adults when 1 partner is supposedly in a monogamous relationship with another person.

Osborne did not have an 'affair' with a patient. He committed sexual abuse, which he followed with threatening communications. Frankly, we're not entirely sure why the police and Crown Prosecution Services have not investigated this as a criminal acts.

As we say daily, language matters. Conflating the sexual exploitation of a vulnerable patient with consensual sexual relationships is dishonest and misleading. There is simply no excuse for this type of lazy writing that minimises the criminal acts of a licensed medical professional.

 

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