TINA MCDUFFIE: The following program contains material that may be disturbing.
Viewer discretion is advised.
♪ ♪ DANA LOEWY: It was the worst experience with a doctor, period.
The examination itself was very painful.
I shrieked and he told me not to make such a fuss.
MCDUFFIE: Survivors of sexual abuse of U.S.C.
's Student Health Center speak up.
BRENNAN HEIL: As soon as I knew that telling my story would help other people, I think, was when I was able to actually be open.
MCDUFFIE: "Breach of Trust" on Local, U.S.A. ♪ ♪ OPRAH WINFREY: Many of your parents are probably taking you somewhere really special for dinner tonight.
(audience laughs) I heard, I heard, I heard.
(audience applauds) I can do a little better than that.
And to the parents, again, I say, and faculty, family, friends... ♪ Graduates ♪ (audience cheers) Let me tell you something about the truth.
The truth exonerates and it convicts.
It disinfects and it galvanizes.
The truth has always been and will always be our shield against corruption.
Our shield against greed and despair.
The truth is our saving grace.
(audience cheers and applauds) ♪ ♪ MATT HAMILTON: I would say about ten days before the story ran, we sent U.S.C.
a letter outlining our key bullet points of what the story would show.
said, you know, "We'll meet with you."
And they scheduled it for commencement day.
It certainly had the effect of delaying the story past commencement.
So, as Oprah was speaking to journalism students, we were in a conference room going over the Tyndall story and pressing the administrators for some kind of explanation for how they handled this.
♪ ♪ (news reports playing in background) ♪ ♪ NATALIE MORALES: In 1989, Dr. George Tyndall was the only full-time gynecologist... - ...treating thousands of women.
He now stands accused of sexual harassment, abuse, and assault.
MORALES: Women ranging in age from 21 to 53 are telling their shockingly similar claims of abuse from a man they trusted in a place they say that should have protected them.
♪ ♪ HEIL: I wanted to come to U.S.C.
just because it seemed like the perfect culture for me to fit in.
Just a super-fun environment and...
I think I immediately joined a sorority, so I, like, extra had fun.
And I was already surrounded by people that kinda made me feel safe and comfortable, because you actually have a bit of a home.
It was the spring of my freshman year.
It was January still, and because I'd been raped over Christmas break, I had confided in a friend, and he had told me... Not even-- I didn't even tell him everything that had happened, but he was, like, "Oh, you had a sexual experience?
You have to go get an STD check."
And the only way that I knew how to get that was by going to a gynecologist.
When he came in, and there was a chaperone in the back, and then I was sitting on the table, and one of the first things he said, he's, like, "Oh, have you ever... Have you ever used the stirrups before?"
And I was, like, "Yeah, you know, I had a... "...issue, when I was, like, nine, so I've technically done this."
And I was, like, "Also, I'm a horseback rider, so I, I've been in stirrups before."
Like, trying to make light of a situation that I already felt uncomfortable in.
And he goes, "Oh, so you know how to ride, then?"
Just, like, made it a sexual commentary instead.
I was sitting there and your legs are up, you know, and everything else is nude.
He looked inside, and then...
He first, like, kinda, like, placed his fingers, like, kind of checks it out, and then he goes, "Oh, we're, like, you're pretty tight.
We're gonna have to loosen you up."
By which point he started, like, massaging my clitoris with his fingers, um, in an attempt to make it wider, I guess, um, and then immediately just, like, shoved the steel device, like, just, metal device, whatever, it's, like, (bleep) freezing cold, like, just, like, up.
So I yelped out in pain, and then the chaperone in the back was, like, "I'm uncomfortable," and she left the room.
♪ ♪ - I studied English, I was an English major-- actually an Americanist, a modernist, that was my favorite period.
But I also studied translation.
I loved being a grad student.
♪ ♪ It was the worst experience with a doctor, period.
He commented on my, on a small rose tattoo that I have on the inside of my thigh.
And he said, in a very sleazy manner, "Oh, a picture for me."
The examination itself was very painful.
I mean, he just basically shoved his, I would say, not hand, but probably several of his fingers inside me, and I remember that I reacted, I shrieked, and he told me not to make such a fuss.
And so I never wanted to see him again, and I made sure I didn't, and the next gynecologist, who was a woman, I told her.
And she, she was very embarrassed by it.
It seemed she didn't know what to say.
She looked away, she swallowed, she didn't say anything else.
But it seemed to me that it was not the first time she heard it.
♪ ♪ (women speaking in background) ♪ ♪ HEIL: It's an assault from U.S.C.
on every woman.
AMANDA DAVIS: It's still a difficult thing to talk about.
There's still a lot of us hurting.
I wanted to give the best life to my daughter that I could, and that meant going to college.
It meant doing what I could do to better myself in order to make a better life for her.
He did not give me any kind of drape to put on.
I just remember being naked on the table and he was making small talk with me.
He told me that he was doing research, and it was basically how women's bodies change when they're pregnant, and then after you have a baby, and he asked if he could take pictures of me naked.
Other teachers that I had, I knew they did research, and so I didn't have a reason not to trust him.
After I left, I remember feeling like something was kind of off.
The more I thought about it, I felt really stupid and embarrassed.
And then I thought about it more, and thought, okay, if I say something and they're, like, you know, "Oh, nothing's happened," or blame it on me, you know, would this cause me to not be able to finish my college education?
♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ HAMILTON: And once we spoke to Dr. Tyndall, it just became clear, because he was very...
Almost proud of his fondness for his international students.
He had a map of China, and he had-- I believe he had studied Mandarin, if I remember correctly.
So he really tried to ingratiate himself with his international students from China.
KAY ZHANG: I was in China, in Wuhan, that's my hometown.
I was in Duke University for undergrad.
We had a program called Duke in L.A., which is where we are allowed to take classes in U.S.C.
So I was, like, "That's designed for me, I'm definitely gonna do it."
The conversations we had were very uncomfortable for me.
I remember going in to just do an annual checkup, and then those conversation would just go on and on into very personal topic.
He wanted me to do follow-up visits, and that's what we did.
And I grew more and more impatient each time we visit, because I really don't know, why am I sitting here having these long conversations?
JANE JUNN: The vulnerability of international students has to go to, on some level, the novice experience-- that is to say the likelihood that those students were experiencing a gynecological exam for the first time, and not knowing what to expect, and not being ready to object and recognize what had actually happened to them.
A criminal might think that way.
A criminal might say, "What's the least powerful group that I can go to where I'm least likely to get caught?"
- It's hard to explain to everyone the level of, um, uncomfortableness and the severity of how much you were assaulted.
We were constantly thinking, "Oh, maybe I didn't have the worst experience.
Maybe I'm not categorized as a victim."
There's no such thing as, who is the more victimized victim.
- It's really beyond kind of comprehension for many of us to understand how it is, that so many people had some inkling and did nothing.
One person did something.
More than one person, but one person in particular did something.
♪ ♪ CINDY GILBERT: I think the connection to the students, that's really why you're there and makes you wanna do everything you can for them.
The complaints that were brought to me were, um, consistently inappropriate comments, kind of inappropriate behavior in exams.
Sometimes it was more about what he would say and sometimes it was more about how he treated the girls.
We had a hard time getting anyone to even come check it out.
The major obstacle was being told we weren't to talk to anyone about it and we weren't supposed to go to HR.
We weren't supposed to go to Equity and Diversity.
We weren't supposed to go to anyone except our management, and then our management didn't do anything.
is a really good job.
It's a good place to work.
The great benefits, good retirement package, your kids get tuition.
You might even get tuition if you want to pursue a degree.
You know, several damaging scandals had come to light over the years, and people felt like, on the one hand, maybe they could be retaliated for speaking out.
On the other hand, not much had really changed after those scandals had come out.
♪ ♪ - That is amazing that you have to do that, because if you've tried more than once to report it to the people that you work for, to the institution that's supposed to be overseeing this employee's work, and, um, and if you don't have tremendous faith in that and you have to go that far out, it tells you just how rotten the apple is.
♪ ♪ - Around this time, there was a fruit fly infestation at U.S.C.
's campus health clinic.
Dr. Tyndall was somewhat of a hoarder, and had old fruit in his office while he was on vacation.
And those rotting fruits had attracted flies, and there were flies all over the clinic.
People who worked at the clinic said at one point, a fruit fly landed on a patient during an exam, and that's when, you know, they had had enough.
So the fruit flies lead some clinic administrators to Tyndall's office, and they find this box of images.
What appears to be genitalia of patients.
DAVIS: Just every so often through the years, when people talk about U.S.C.
or asked where I went, or it would come up, or I see it on my resume, that my-- I have a very bad memory, a picture that sticks in my mind, that's attached to that, of me standing there naked, and Dr. Tyndall right in front of me.
And, um... (exhales) GILBERT: You know, we were told that didn't matter.
This didn't matter.
If that doesn't matter, then... We're in the wrong place.
You know, what matters more than the students at a student health center?
The students have the right to have people take their concerns seriously.
And the staff, you know, shouldn't have to, to see that constantly and then be retaliated against if they speak up.
So, just the whole thing, the whole culture, is broken.
So towards the end, it was very hard to go to work.
But I think that I had seen that work before on other people, where they just give up and say, "It's not worth it," and leave, um... And I realized I probably was gonna have to leave, but I was gonna finish this first.
♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ - How do you... How do you acknowledge, you know, these 500 or more alum, alumnae who say they've been abused or harassed on the exam table, seeing their doctor?
How do you acknowledge that, and are respectful of that, while at the same time trying to promote the university?
♪ ♪ GILBERT: Parents send their kids there.
They expect them to be safe, and, um... We should keep them safe.
(chuckles) ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ARIELA GROSS: We let this happen.
We didn't call this administration to account when they had this enormous breach of trust a year ago.
We let it go, and we can't do that again.
REPORTER: ...about an hour ago, as many of the faculty who attended voiced their strong opinions asking that the university president here step down.
The scandal has sent shock waves through the University of Southern California community.
This week, 200 tenured professors signed a letter sent to the university trustees asking for the university president, C.L.
Max Nikias, to resign.
They still have questions about what exactly happened involving Dr. Tyndall, and what did the university know.
GROSS: I think feeling the pressure from our letter, called a town hall.
JUNN: I worried at first that we wouldn't get many people, because often, one of the first responses to scandal at U.S.C.
is, everybody just gets quiet.
And yet the room was packed.
- Hundreds of people showed up to that town hall, in May, after classes are over, when the campus is empty.
- No one from the administration came, at which point, many questions, angry comments were unleashed.
They assured us that the university was doing everything it could, and that they knew nothing about it, to which we all said, we, you know, we called BS on that, because we knew, and they had revealed that they knew.
- Each person who stood up was more eloquent than the next.
People were filled with outrage and anger.
Jane Junn, who's in the political science department, held up the names... (crying): ...of, of women, of victims, and, and women students.
- And we asked those on the stage, did they have a special student who was an incredible person?
And then we asked them, "Are you standing for them?
Can you protect them?"
- And it was the boldest thing this Academic Senate had done in, at least all the time I had been at the university.
- So, so many unethical, unlawful things have happened here, and nothing ever happens-- it's all the same.
And that's what I felt when we left.
And I was delighted to hear later on-- later on-- that the president had agreed to step down.
♪ ♪ - It wasn't the original, this is what happened.
It wasn't even the, the 30 years thing, which, both were awful.
But I think for me, it was U.S.C.
's reaction afterwards.
They paid off George Tyndall.
They paid him off to leave, basically.
And I was, like, "You're gonna pay him, after all this time?"
Like, "Why not just let him get in trouble?
"Why not, why are you protecting him, in a way, even though you know that this is what happened?"
- And U.S.C.
was never transparent.
They were always trying to make it go away.
So, that did not surprise me in the end, because if you focus everything on raising money, which U.S.C.
is a fundraising machine.
When fundraising becomes the number one cause and purpose, then sometimes, obviously, ethics will go by the wayside, and even crimes can be committed.
DAVIS: It's not quick, "Let's move on."
To me, that is a little bit too close to that, "Let's protect our brand and keep moving."
Part of fixing that is allowing victims to have a voice in the process, because otherwise, you're just sitting in an office separated from your community, separated from the victims.
♪ ♪ LOEWY: We want institutional change.
We will not go back to the status quo ante before all this happened.
And that's why I'm still in it.
♪ ♪ GILBERT: Was there ever a time that I considered giving up?
I think there were times where I questioned whether we were ever gonna get someone to listen, but as far as giving up, no.
♪ ♪ HEIL: As soon as I knew that telling my story would help other people, I think, was when I was able to actually be open about what was going on.
ZHANG: I didn't realize how courageous I was being.
DAVIS: Imagine if all of these hundreds of women, if we all had a voice, and were speaking up, how big, how much more power, how much more strength and encouragement... LOEWY: I didn't realize how big it would be, ultimately, yeah.
That there would be so many women.
And many of them have not even come forward yet.
There are potentially thousands more.
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