How Family and Friends Can Help Dr. Levy’s Victims
Former patients of Johns Hopkins gynecologist Dr. Nikita Levy are experiencing unimaginable trauma. As a Partner of the Law Firm Schochor, Federico and Staton, I am involved with 8,000 victims of Dr. Levy’s unimaginable violations.
In my many years of working with victims, I’ve learned how families can help in the recovery process. Victims of Dr. Nikita Levy will need family support. After a violation, victims may be openly upset, even hysterical, or they may be numb and seemingly calm. For purpose of this discussion, we are calling Dr. Levy’s wrongful conduct, including sexual boundary violations, as the “assault.”
The victim needs to:
Feel safe. This was a traumatic violation of a person. Especially in the beginning, it is often difficult for victims to be alone.
Be believed. In this case especially, victims need to be believed that what occurred was, in fact, a violation.
Take control of her life. When a person is violated, she may feel completely out of control of what is happening to her. A significant step on the road to recovery is to regain a sense of control in little, as well as big, things.
Things you can do to help:
Listen; don’t judge. It is not your place to play prosecutor and make her prove her story. Accept her version of the facts and be supportive. Many counseling services can be helpful to friends and relatives of women who have been victims.
Offer shelter. If it is at all possible, stay with her at her place or let her at least spend one night at your place. This is not the time for her to be alone.
Be available. She may need to talk at odd hours, or a great deal at the beginning. She may not have a lot of people she can talk to and she may over rely on one person. Be there as much as you can and encourage her to either call a hotline or go for counseling.
Give comfort. She has been badly treated. She needs to be nurtured.
Let her know she is not to blame. This is crucial. Many victims blame themselves. She needs to be reassured that other people are to blame, she is not.
Be patient and understanding. Everyone has her own timetable for recovering from a violation. Do not impose one on the victim.
Don’t be overly protective; encourage her to make her own decisions. She needs to feel in control of her life and this will not be possible if you do everything for her.
Accept her choice of solution—even if you disagree with what she is doing. It is more important that she makes decisions and has them respected than it is for you to impose what you think is the “right decision.”
Put aside your feelings, and deal with them somewhere else. Although it is supportive for a Levy victim to know that others are equally upset with what happened, it does her no good if on top of her feelings, she also has to deal with, for example, your feelings of rage and anger. If you have strong feelings, talk to another friend or to a local hotline.
If you or someone you know may have been a victim of Dr. Nikita Levy’s, consider getting in touch with the medical malpractice lawyers at our firm to see how we can help.