Juno's story

In her early teens Juno suffered abdominal pains, which she now believes were probably routine period cramps. One day when she was 16 the pain was particularly severe. Juno’s mother decided she should see a doctor. ‘My mum wasn’t very supportive’, Juno told the Commissioner. ‘I took myself to the hospital on the bus.’

Juno was seen by a young male doctor in the casualty department of a Brisbane hospital. ‘He asked me the usual questions and if I was a virgin, which I was. He then told me to undress and lay on the bed and he’ll be back in a minute.’

Juno undressed and lay naked on the bed. There was no sheet to cover herself with. She felt ‘uncomfortable and exposed’. Eventually the doctor returned and began an examination of Juno’s naked body.

‘He felt my breasts for what I felt was longer than necessary and then my stomach. He then proceeded with his internal examination which made me feel very uncomfortable and also seemed to take longer than necessary.

‘He was feeling around inside my vagina and now and then asked, “Does that hurt”? Then he touched an area inside me that felt nice. He was looking at my face as he did this.’

The doctor told Juno he needed to bring in a colleague. A second doctor, an older man, replaced the first and repeated the examination, but more roughly. ‘It was beginning to hurt now and I remember seeing blood on his gloves. I was afraid when I saw this but he told me that it’s “quite normal”.’

Left alone again, Juno dressed herself. The first doctor returned. ‘At the end he was very abrupt … He said, “Looks fine. We can’t find anything. You can go”. And that was it.’

‘I remember walking out through the hospital feeling really strange, that what had happened was wrong but I couldn’t understand why I thought it was wrong.’

It wasn’t until she reached adulthood that Juno realised what she had been through was sexual abuse.

‘I had been finger-raped by two so-called doctors.’

The experience has left Juno with a deep distrust of medical personnel, especially male doctors. She has been forced to seek out female doctors exclusively when she has needed health support.

Juno believes the assault had the most impact on her first marriage. ‘When I … had sex for the first time in my life, my boyfriend at the time later told me that he didn’t believe that I was a virgin because I didn’t bleed and it didn’t feel like anything “broke” when he penetrated me. I was hurt and humiliated that he didn’t believe he was my first.’

‘I think that had an impact on our relationship for sure. Because of that it kind of snowballed … He basically called me a liar and told me I’d slept with people. I hadn’t slept with anyone before him.’

Although Juno went on to marry this man, she believes they got off to a bad start, with trust between them broken. The marriage lasted just three years.

Juno had not revealed her childhood abuse to anyone until approaching the Royal Commission. She would like to see her abusers identified if records still exist, and wants the hospital system to be scrutinised. ‘I wonder how many girls lost their virginity at the hands of child molesting doctors?’ She would like to see safeguards in place so that such examinations can never occur.

‘Because they were free to do that without anyone observing me. That was unsafe. They had total control.’

Content updating Updating complete