real life

When Jane Caro was in her 20s, she was sexually assaulted by her doctor.

Warning: this post discusses sexual assault. 

Australian author and social commentator Jane Caro spoke out about the sexual abuse she encountered as a young woman in her 20s, and the shame she says she carried around with her about the occurrence as a result.

“I never complained about it. I never reported what happened. I never even told anyone what happened for years. And every time I thought about it I went hot with shame,” she said on Wednesday’s edition of The Drum.

jane caro sexual assault
Jane Caro on The Drum. Source: ABC.

According to Caro, the incident occurred when she went to a male doctor to have an IUD fitted, something that she says, "as any woman who's had one will know, it's quite a painful procedure."

Moaning at the pain, the doctor said that rubbing the clitoris was known to make the pain subside, and so, "proceeded to do that."

"I just froze," Caro said. "I was in this situation where in my head was this litany of things like, what's he doing? He's the doctor. Is that right? Oh, I'm so humiliated; I don't want him to do this. This is so awful. It took me ages to actually move and do anything and then I somehow managed to sit up, brush his hand away and get myself to rights."


Like many women who have been in similar situations, Caro said that despite having just been assaulted, she still said thank you and paid for the procedure.

"I paid the bill," she said.

Jane Caro Image: Supplied.

It wasn't until Caro went to a book club and discussed The First Stone, Helen Garner's non-fiction story into sexual assault claims made by a University of Melbourne student against a teacher in the 1990s, that she finally discussed what had happened to her that day.

"All the women in that room had a story," she said.

Watch the full segment below. 

If you or anyone you know has experienced sexual assault, Mamamia urges you to seek help via 1800 Respect and Reach Out