In this piece for Canterbury Christ Church University, Nell Butler highlights the significance of the recently released Power Threat Meaning Framework. A trauma survivor herself, Butler comments on the potential of the new framework to promote recognition of the impact of systemic violence among mental health professionals.
“At the Royal Commission I noticed something. When we care leavers talked to each other, we used different words to the professionals. We used torture for being burnt with cigarettes, not child abuse. We said rape, not sexual assault, rights, not needs, oppression, not vulnerability. Torture, rape, rights, oppression: political terms for political problems. When professionals spoke about what happened to us they de-politicised it. The Power Threat Meaning Framework acknowledges that the medical model of human distress privileges Western psychiatry over other cultural understandings, and that its use of specialist terms results in the loss of the full, wonderful range of words people have to describe our experiences. In an attempt to sound neutral it defaults to the mildest terms for describing emotion and experience, but when we are talking about child rape this language is invalidating and de-politicising.”