Betrayal of Trust: Sex and Power in Professional Relationships

By Joel Friedman; Marcia Mobilia Boumil | Go to book overview

Afterword

In this volume the authors have examined the problem of sexual exploitation in professional relationships. It is clearly a complex and troubling issue, often swept under the rug out of sight. In the absence of sound scientific data, we are left to speculate about how widespread the problem really is and how profound are its effects. The authors have attempted, within the limits of present knowledge, to portray the various conditions that lead to this type of misconduct and its psychological and legal implications. What continues to be impressive is the seeming lack of professional interest in this area, at least until very recently. While mental health professionals have been pioneers in this field, others have been slow to respond. The legal profession seems to be proceeding cautiously, more likely in an effort to protect itself than out of any concern for the public welfare. The medical professions have proscribed sexual misconduct with patients since the days of the Hippocratic Oath, but only recently is it thinking earnestly about enforcing its own code. Clergy, teachers, and allied health professionals are also just beginning to acknowledge the seriousness of the problem within their ranks.

Acknowledging the problem is one thing; doing something about it is quite another. The mental health professions have acknowledged the problem for years, but they, too, have proceeded cautiously in policing

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