That time Sarah Silverman’s breast exam kind of sounded like sexual assault

When I read Sarah Silverman’s account of her breast sonogram on Instagram it pissed me off. Briefly, here’s what went wrong.

  1. The technician applied gel directly to both of her breasts at once with his bare hands.
  2. He left her exposed while discussing her x-ray.
  3. When he used the sonogram wand, he allowed his (again!) bare fingers to drag along for the ride.
  4. He did all of this without her consent.

Nope. None of that is supposed to happen. And I’m writing this now for anyone who’s never had a breast sonogram, just in case (because I’ve had a couple myself and I remember them well). Here is how it’s supposed to go down.

  1. If it’s a male technician, there should be a female nurse present.
  2. The technician is supposed to apply the gel (which is hopefully warmed, but not always) directly to the wand, not your body.
  3. The tech should be wearing gloves. No skin-to-skin contact, and you certainly do not need to drag your fingers along “for balance” as Silverman’s tech claims he did.
  4. They examine one side of you at a time, keeping the other half of your body covered.
  5. A good tech will tell you what they’re about to do before they do it. You don’t have to vocalize your consent for every little thing, but at least this gives you a chance to object before they take the next step.

Like Silverman says, trust your gut and speak up if an exam doesn’t seem right. You know when something creepy is going down. Still, it helps if you know what to expect. And now you do.

As you were, dense beast-havers.