No Graphic Detail: The Injustice of Being Silenced

Sera Davidow
60
2429

“What makes my need to share less important than your need not to hear it?” – Stephanie Gimeno

Graphic Detail, Part I

Graphic detail is terrifying.

I’m fragile. I’m broken.

If you insist on unleashing this storm,

Ignited by your pain,

All my fractured bits might collapse in upon themselves.

 

Words you say…

They turn and twist like lava

Searing through grooves and valleys

And into my wounds, lying in wait.

A river of fire pouring out from you and into me

Leaves nothing but ash in its wake.

 

How am I supposed to survive you,

When you insist on stirring all this pain?

 

You can call me ‘Consumer,’ but I’m not buying what you have to sell…

Typically, when I hear people refer to individuals like me as “consumers” I bristle. I’m not interested in being given any one-word label based on my current or former relationship to the mental health system. But, if I pause for a moment and think deeper about it, I realize that — of all the labels of this kind — ‘consumer’ is the most appropriate of the bunch, because they sure are doing their right best to sell us something. The primary problem, though, is that we seem to lack the privilege possessed by the average customer to refuse to buy.

You’re sick. You’re imbalanced. You need our drugs, our therapy, our groups, our belief system, our very definition of you. Oh, and you also need our protection, because you’re very, very weak. In fact, our favorite question to ask you is if you’re “safe,” and most of the time we mean from yourself. You need to be kept “safe,” even from what you’ve already survived. Shhh. Don’t speak of it. Just calm down, sweetheart. Hand over your sharps, swallow these pills, and put those big words down. (Or the drugs can put them down for you, if you’d prefer.) You can thank us later. We’ve got you now.

Unfortunately, it’s hard for the system to not succeed when so many of us seem willing to become complicit in tearing the words from our very own mouths. They tell us we’re too fragile to speak our own truth, and that those around us are too fragile to hear it. If you must name what happened to you, at least slap a “trigger warning” on yourself, and don’t “paint a picture.” Too much truth all in one place is dangerous for us all.

The devil is in the (graphic) detail

Fuck that. Fuck all the silence and presumptions of brokenness and “too much.” Fuck the vaguely named traumas packaged up for someone else’s comfort, and all those damn FYOGs.  Most of all, fuck this idea that what I had to live through may be too much for you to hear laid out in words. And fuck two times over the suggestion that if it is too much for you in this singular moment, that that isn’t more about you than me, and that we can’t best mitigate such tension by you choosing not to listen rather than me having to not speak. I want to breathe life into my memories, even the worst of them. I need to so that I can own them, sit with them, make sense of them, reclaim power over them, and be able to move on if and when I fucking choose.

So, here’s some graphic detail of my own:

I’m standing on this burnt orange, tightly woven area rug in my “big girl” bedroom. I’m Graphic detail: A colorful child's bathing suit lies on a burnt orange carpetshakily putting on my swimsuit with all the balance and grace that a 5-year-old does commonly possess. I’m so excited to go swimming with the older boy from down the street who said he’d watch me in the pool. I’m trying to hurry. Then, just as I navigate one of my legs through the first leg hole of my one-piece, he walks in. I don’t remember anything after that… Just that I never wanted to go swimming with him again. I’m a teenager now, and it’s the first time I ever drank. Orange juice and vodka. Screwdrivers. It’s so late at night. His whole family is asleep when they pin me to the little twin mattress in the upstairs bedroom. The ceiling slopes over us, and they risk hitting their heads as they climb on top of me, taking turns forcing me to kiss them. Their hands are all over me, on my breasts and down my pants with all the overeager roughness of an adolescent boy… because that’s what they are. My best friend says she’ll start screaming if they don’t stop. But, I don’t remember… I’m in my “closet single” at college. I let the older guy who’d been hanging around campus into my room. (Why did I do that? Was I asking for it?) As he is shoving my head down toward his erect cock, he offers feigned lament, throatily whispered: “I’ve never had to force anyone before.” I made him so frustrated (or excited?) with all my resistance. I don’t have a period for months after it happens. I thought he made me pregnant. But… I don’t even remember having sex.

A year or so later, I drive to visit my friend at college. I hook up with a guy I meet there. He is a friend of my friend. He tears my fishnet stockings off of me. I didn’t mean for it to go so far. After, he would gloat to his buddies that he’d “slapped the shit” out of me, and still had my blood on his fingers. The next day, I wear a coat that is too warm for the weather, to cover the bruises on my body. But… I don’t remember. Not long before I move off campus (and ultimately get kicked out of school), I am hanging around outside talking to a guy on a park bench. He tells me about his culture in the country where he was born. When the conversation ends, I don’t notice that he follows me back into my dorm and down into the basement where people sometimes hang out late at night on couches, study together, and watch movies. No one else is there when he grabs me, fingers digging into my neck, and forces his mouth onto mine. He leaves dark, angry marks where his fingers press into my flesh. I thought I was safe. It was broad daylight outside. I barely get away, and when he catches up, he tells me that he can only think of me non-sexually if I agree to be his sister… The catch? Sisters have to do everything their brothers tell them to do where he’s from. And… I. don’t. fucking. remember.

I want to throw up. I want to throw up all the words and memories, but some of them are just out of my reach. My own mind silences me by filing all that graphic detail where I simply can’t find it. And, I don’t know if I should thank me or tear myself apart trying to uncover those lost moments. Would being able to remember and speak all that into the world help free me? I may never know. But I do know that if it were in my power to do so, no one would be able to make me stop. I would speak every word, and would only get louder for every time someone tried to quiet me. No one would have the right to take my graphic detail away. And these memories I do have of being forced will never be forcibly stolen from me again.

Detail Envy

I envy people like my friend, Sharon, who speaks her memories with such vivid rawness. She gives just a taste of that in her piece, “A Brief Experience of Multiplicity.”  I envy her strength, insistence, and unabashed refusal to let the world turn away from it all. Yet, I’m terrified of all the people who respond to her graphic details with disgust and derision, as if what’s most wrong is not what happened to her but that she dare speak of it out loud. Meanwhile, I mourn for another friend who didn’t find out until she was nearing 50 how normal it is for young girls to have orgasms when they’re sexually abused, because no one talks about such dirty little facts… I mourn for that girl who she was, left to grow up believing that her body’s natural adaptations made her bad or wrong somehow. Society with all its delicate sensibilities was the culprit who left her even more vulnerable to the man who hurt her by hiding those facts. And I rage for yet another friend who was told by a therapist that she was “too much” when she shared the graphic details of being raped in college, just because someone else felt upset at hearing them.

I am not too much. None of us are too much. (And, if we are ‘too much,’ then, as Caroline Mazel-Carlton suggested in her Alternatives 2019 keynote, let’s thank each other for that.) The problem isn’t talking about what happened. It’s that it happened at all. And what a mind fuck it is that the mental health system expects us to talk about the very worst things that have happened to us on demand when we desperately don’t want to, usually in some long and relentless assessment checklist format, and then shut up and swallow it all back down.

This lack of control… this system that reinforces that our ‘no’s don’t matter, and that defines so much of our value and potential by how completely we give in… that is the problem. Sometimes it leaves us locked up in wards to “make us better,” while our abusers roam free. This system centers the problems deep inside of ourselves, where all the lost words of our graphic details are also lodged. And, in doing so, it gives those who hurt us a pass. Yes, sure, what they did was wrong, but our response to it is apparently the real problem that needs ‘fixing.’

How strange it is that when people are upset by someone’s sharing what they’ve survived, that we can’t regard it as a potential gift. For in their sharing, not only have they performed a great act of trust in all us listeners, but they’ve helped us touch something in ourselves. When will we learn that when one person’s story wakes up another person’s pain, that the answer isn’t to silence the storyteller, but rather to turn to the awakened one and invite them in to share, too? Pain is an indicator of a need for healing, not censorship.

The truth is that graphic detail can make some of us stronger in a way that silence never could. Our fear grows in the darkness created by the absence of words, where we’re left to mingle with memories unspoken without even a hand to grab onto in the pitch black. When we speak them into the world, those secrets begin to lose their power and we get stronger if for no other reason than we no longer need to hold them entirely alone. Those who try to teach us to be quiet are the enemy… even if only an unwitting and benevolent one. They are our captors, forcing us into silent prisons for fear that our minds will break should the floodgates open… but the truth — the graphic detail — shall set us free.

Graphic Detail, Part II

Or maybe, just maybe…

Graphic detail is raw truth,

The wounds you bare for me to see,

Birthed by your pain,

I will grow stronger just for knowing you.

 

Words you say…

I will stand in witness of every last one…

I will dance and wail by your side

And collapse with you in the darkness.

A river of fire pouring out from you and into me,

Helps clear me out for rebirth.

 

How did I ever survive without you,

Fooled into thinking that silence could set us free?

60 COMMENTS

  1. Sera, This is literally first time I’ve read an entire article. I absolutely am enthralled at the details and the graphic sordid things people don’t highlight.

    I used to think of graphic trauma that is I as loving in secret. Now though Sera these memories are more than decent with me. There are about three so plentiful and big memories with me. There is no more caressing them as I did in my twenties in darkness. No, no more.

    When I get old, very old this pain is reason of my song.

    This article possessed me and I’m gonna read it one more time.

  2. Thank you for the community service of speaking the truth about your life. Psychiatry is “trauma denial” in support of existing social structures; it falsely advocates that distressful experiences are an anomaly in an otherwise friendly environment. Psychiatry is trauma denial when advocating that people should “recover” from traumatic experiences without justice and often without cessation of the traumatic experiences. Psychiatry shames the victims of trauma by advocating Pollyanna and a fairy tale world of fairness and goodness; the truth about distressful human experience is antipsychiatry.

  3. And some pain is way deeper, way more intense and primal, than words can ever touch. I went to a Pagan festival once that had a ritual called The Keening Circle. It was exactly that- people all wailing and keening and sobbing as they gave themselves over to grieving profound losses. I was scheduled to do something else when it started, so I didn’t participate, but it went on for quite some time. I could hear from my tent. We need this: Elders created safe space for the community to gather and share their deepest pain and grief. a place where even words could be too cerebral, too limiting to express the raw emotion. The step beyond graphic detail.

  4. “The primary problem, though, is that we seem to lack the privilege possessed by the average customer to refuse to buy.” Yes, the ‘mental health’ workers coerce, threaten, lie, and force people to “buy,” what they do not want or need.

    “don’t ‘paint a picture.’ Too much truth all in one place is dangerous for us all.” They forgot to tell me to stop working, instead they incorrectly assumed I was “w/o work, content, and talent.” Then when they finally bothered to look at my work, it was called “insightful,” by a psychiatrist. However, he assumed his belief system would be attached to my work, not the truth of his malpractice.

    So my artwork is now “too truthful” for the child abuse and rape covering up “mental health” workers, and their “religious” employers. But as a matter of fact, denying and covering up child abuse and rape is the primary actual function of both the psychologists and psychiatrists, historically and today.

    https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2019/01/23/18820633.php?fbclid=IwAR2-cgZPcEvbz7yFqMuUwneIuaqGleGiOzackY4N2sPeVXolwmEga5iKxdo

    https://www.madinamerica.com/2016/04/heal-for-life/

    “The problem isn’t talking about what happened. It’s that it happened at all.” We need to end the “rape culture.” But since the “mental health” workers can’t bill insurance companies for helping child abuse and rape survivors, you’re not allowed to talk about such crimes with them.

    https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/your-child-does-not-have-bipolar-disorder/201402/dsm-5-and-child-neglect-and-abuse-1

    “Sometimes it leaves us locked up in wards to ‘make us better,’ while our abusers roam free … And, in doing so, it gives those who hurt us a pass.” And systemically perpetrating such injustices has left us all now unfortunately living in a “pedophile empire.”

    https://www.amazon.com/Pedophilia-Empire-Chapter-Introduction-Disorder-ebook/dp/B0773QHGPT

    “When will we learn that when one person’s story wakes up another person’s pain, that the answer isn’t to silence the storyteller, but rather to turn to the awakened one and invite them in to share, too? Pain is an indicator of a need for healing, not censorship.” True, but that’s the opposite of what our “all distress is caused by chemical imbalances in your brain” deluded “mental health” workers do.

    “The truth is that graphic detail can make some of us stronger in a way that silence never could … When we speak them into the world, those secrets begin to lose their power and we get stronger if for no other reason than we no longer need to hold them entirely alone.”

    “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” Having the medical evidence of the abuse of my child handed over, explained all the “mental health” workers’, and their child abusing “religious” friends, insanity and crimes.

    “Those who try to teach us to be quiet are the enemy,” indeed. “… the truth — the graphic detail — shall set us free.”

    The majority of psychologists and psychiatrists are nothing but two sides of a child abuse and rape covering up pendulum. Swinging back and forth, from the child abuse and rape covering up psychologists being in charge, to the child abuse and rape covering up (and neurotoxic poisoning) psychiatrists being in charge, and back again.

    We need to get rid of the child abuse and rape covering up “mental health” system. Our country needs to start arresting the rapists and pedophiles. And Epstein is not the only child abuser.

    Just a note, I used a similar fiery dragon image in one of my recent paintings. But it’s going after the child abuse covering up “mental health” and “religious” clowns, as I’m escaping that satanic system, with the help of Jesus. “Too truthful.” “Prophetic.”

  5. Sera I was literally thinking about the last time I was silenced in the beginnings of opening up my own graphic detail, and opened MIA to avoid the pain (obviously lol, no one wants to hear it and I need to act Sane today), and read THIS piece.

    I agree with you – every last bit. Also, if I can echo your statement and use some profanity in the comments, “Fuck this idea that what I had to live through may be too much for you to hear laid out in words.” This is a sentiment everyone needs to hear, and choose to either continue avoiding or begin to embrace.

    Just thank you for pointing out the egregious psychic violence in the silencing of the core issue. Thank you.

  6. Sera, thank you so much for this. I was overcome with emotion reading this, not because of the level of graphic detail you shared, but from the sheer power of you speaking and owning your truth and not shrinking from the horrors of it. I do regularly find myself self-censoring, reminded of the many many times when I’ve been admonished for being graphic and “painting a picture”. It is so inauthentic and robs me of being able to express the enormity of the horrors I experienced so others may remain insulated in comfort (often people who weren’t themselves traumatized, but merely don’t wish to confront the horrors others experience.) Thank you, again.

  7. Sera, I like your article, and I agree with the spirit of it.
    But the way I see it is that we are all survivors of systemic abuses, but we don’t stand together. So many survivors are part of the mental health system, and most survivors still practice denial.

    We’ve got the Survivors of the Middle-Class Family, Bad Faith, not living up to its own values, only exists to exploit children and use the language of pedagogy manuals, like “parenting”.

    We’ve got the Survivors of the Mental Health Fraud.

    We’ve got the Survivors of the Psychotherapy Con.

    We’ve got the Survivors of the Autism Hoax.

    We’ve got the Survivors of the Recovery Movement Sham

    All of these kinds of abuse are real. And the effect that they have is to make a survivor more neurotic and more likely to fall prey to one of the other abuses.

    But the real underlying problem is that denigration of our social and civil standing is getting turned into a problem with ourselves. And the reason this can happen is that we do not counter strike, we do not fight back, we do not punish perpetrators and seize reparations. So we can be abused, and nothing happens to the abusers. The whole thing is a racket, and it depends upon denial systems.

    So to be able to strike back, I am asking people to hold a line:

    1. No drugs
    2. No psychotherapy
    3. No recovery programs

    Without this line, I don’t see restoring our social and civil standing as possible. But with this line, yes I know that there are things we can do which will restore our social and civil standing.

  8. Thanks Sera for this courageous and very compelling blog. The devil is always in the details.

    I try hold onto the old adage “the truth shall set us free” but truth and reality gets so buried by all the corruption and lies in psychiatry. What I learned in my encounter with psychiatry while in cancer treatment is that even if you get a chance to tell a psychiatrist some details of what’s going on, or has happened, it just goes in one ear and out the other – without a single notation made about what you shared with the psychiatrist.

    The appalling thing about psychiatry is – they don’t want to know any details, reasons or explanations for someone’s difficulties or struggles. The idea one could actually get “help” from psychiatry is a dishonest sham.

  9. Actually Ellen Bass and her co- author did this decades ago. I am sorry Sera you had to endure it all. And yes any knowledgeable caring well trained and well read therapist should tell every sexual abuse survivor yes pleasure is part of the package deal. My guess is our FLOTUS is a victim herself. Notice I say victim because I don’t think she is safe. Several Congress women in the past have come out with their own stories and 4 in 1 female and 7 in 1 male and that is in my humble opinion on the low side.
    As you pointed out so searingly, one does not judge well after abuse and figuring it all out can take a life time. Thus FLOTUS and daughters maybe still too afraid to speak out and are playing the game of pretend.
    This in and of itself should be grounds for use of the 25th admendment.. Sex abuse is a crime and extreme violation of the female and or possible male. One never knows. It was done as nausaym in every captive human enclosure and that enclosure could be the White House or the Bergen Belsen. The story remains the same.
    Anyone who knows anything about sexual perpetrators knows this is part of our current 1% scene.
    I am giving up on news or trying to sort things out. An anchorite life maybe.
    I just don’t see an end in sight at this point and waiting is too soul damaging. So perhaps a cell with paper and fresh food and someone can free me if things turn upwards. Best to all. Keep if the good fight for me.

  10. Thanks, Sera. I have been thinking this for years. I have noticed the silencing. I have even noticed it in the so-called “alternatives to psychiatry” movement and I’ve heard it from fellow survivors. “We don’t want to hear that.”

    Being truthful about life events is a human right because it’s part of Freedom of Speech. Some, in fact most people choose to remain silent. This makes the role of those of us willing to speak out about injustices even more vital.

    We speak for many. We speak for those who cannot speak out, either due to force, or because their jobs or housing will be on the line if they do. Or they are dead.

    While I am giving a speech in a room full of people (where I am assured no one will interrupt, walk away, or stop me from speaking) I can see people flinch at certain moments when I say certain things. The good part is that I am heard out, I get to finish my sentence, I get to make my point. Ultimately I am thanked for the impact my words had on the audience.

    For the most part people aren’t allowed to speak. We are silenced by people who insist we’re psychotic. We’re unfriended. We’re silenced by drugs and incarceration. Our labels discredit us. We can’t get published or they make sure our writings don’t sell. Or we get killed.

    • There is an exception, though, times that I have to “tone it down.” If I am at a venue where children are present, I have to. I have a syndicated video channel and there, too, I have to be careful because I’m told that minors can access the shows.

      Still, even if I leave out something that could confuse kids I can still get my point across.

  11. Hello Sera,
    thank you for entrusting us with your experiences, your pain and your rage. I hear you. I’m sorry you had to go through those things alone. I hope some day your husband can learn to be a safe haven for you and help you hold those lost memories when you are ready.

    I wish you deep healing and all the best.
    Sam

  12. “Many people have been forcibly diagnosed as autistic”

    Well yes, that is a huge problem. I say that the “neurodiversity movement” is just completely wrong headed. It is complying with the demands of the abusers, rather than telling them off. And you will see because most of the time this is being done to them as children. They are not in a position to tell of their parents and their hired white coats.

    Sami Timimi is adamant, there are zero biological markers to what is getting diagnosed as ~Autism~.

    Its rather like making ~Autism~ into a minstrel show, and then saying that it is not harmful.

    There is no reason anyone should have to accept a ~neurodiversity Label~. It is being accepted under duress.

    “Neurodiversity” is just a way of propagating the concept of Autism, and this exists today in the service of NeoLiberal Capitalism, and because it legitimates the abuse of children and adults, while keeping the nonsensicalness of the Self-Reliance Ethic protected.

    Taking the “neurodiversity” label means that you are exonerating all perpetrators, because they have beaten you down so you feel that you have no other choice.

    If we want to take down the Mental Health System, then we must not in anyway cooperate with it. Same goes for the closely related Autism Industry.

  13. I’m glad MIA has the courage to publish this…revealing histories of sexual abuse and rape is becoming much more “acceptable” but I wonder when MIA will actually allow a psych survivor to tell graphically the truth about what happens — the physical, sexual and emotional brutalities — behind the closed doors of a psych hospital, those like the ones our illustrious Resident in the White House wants to build more of. I for one have many such stories but so far as I can tell, even MIA has its limits and is much more concerned about protecting delicate ears than in allowing those like me to speak the unvarnished truth.

    • Phoebe, to restore the social and civil standing of survivors, what is most important are victories, holding perpetrators accountable.

      Activists in this arena, notably one Shari Karney, had long ago figured out that what it comes down to are civil and criminal statutes of limitations.

      Excellent Movie:
      https://www.amazon.com/Shattered-Trust-Shari-Karney-Story/dp/B00005R5EQ/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=Melissa+Gilbert+shattered+trust&qid=1565997517&s=movies-tv&sr=1-1

      And SOL’s tracked state by state:
      http://sol-reform.com/

      And then recent NY State SOL reform just going into effect, interesting discussion:
      https://www.democracynow.org/2019/8/15/new_york_child_victims_act#transcript

      Speaking from my own vantage point, as good as this all is, it is still mostly hitting institutions, like the Roman Catholic Church.

      What it still very rarely impacts is the Middle-Class Family. For one thing, that is not really such a deep pocket. Maybe there are still some legal hurdles, not sure. But I think mostly it is just that our society is not ready to face it yet.

      I know that locally when they do jury selection for child molestation cases, and they survey prospective jurors, what they get is totally different from what experts say is true. Its like no one will publicly talk about being molested. It does not exist anywhere in their extended families, and for 80 prospective jurors.

      And so this public silence, it does discourage other survivors from coming forward, and it makes it harder to get convictions.

      In the Lyle and Erik Menendez trial interviewed jurors said that “No father would do that to his sons”.

      But now, Lyle and Erik having been in prison for 30 years, we have a letter which Erik wrote a year before the killings, which documents what was happening and agrees with what they had said in court.

      If tried today, it is unlikely they would get murder 1, probably just manslaughter.

      Locally, child sexual molestation cases have a much much higher rate of hung juries, compared with other types of prosecutions. There are specialist defense attorneys who have devoted their lives to making it as difficult as possible to enforce any child protection laws. They have studied family conflict and they have learned how to turn it back onto the one who was molested. And they pander to anti-government and anti-feminist sentiments in the jury pool.

      And then since our society is in such denial, many of the jurors arrive at the court house with their own set view. The evidence will not sway them.

      I know that this will change.

      But here, talking about Psychiatric Reforms, New Diagnostic Manuals, Psychotherapy Reforms, and Recovery Programs, is all pointless. It leads us in the wrong direction, because none of it will ever restore the public social and civil standing of survivors.

      What we should be talking about are the legalities, the strategic law suits and the pending legislation, and the current high water marks.

      Here, explains how in the 1970’s, Feminism brought incest to the surface. But in the 1980’s that got converted into Recovery and Therapy, so it was thus politically neutralized.

      https://www.amazon.com/Rocking-Cradle-Sexual-Politics-Happened/dp/0201624710

      There have yet to be that many victories over the Middle-Class Family, but here was one:
      http://www.vachss.com/guest_dispatches/excerpt_battle_11.html

      • Not sure what “it” is here since clearly church abuses sexual abuses and psychiatric abuses hurt the Middle class Family as much as anyone else…

        Can’t possibly read all those links but I have held two hospitals to account by suing them or threatening to and I won settlements in both cases, along with a you-cannot-talk-about-this-case-with-anyone-clause…

        In another case they investigated three times, with the focal nurses giving different stories each time but apparently that was good enough. So long as their concerted efforts to falsify what happened did not jibe with my own story, which by the way stayed stable, the investigators could simply conclude I was lying…and they did, letting the nurses off the hook.

  14. Yes, Sera, I do think we need to look at the whole thing as oppression. But it is not the mental health system in isolation. It is Capitalism and the Middle-Class Family, and then being backed up by the mental health system.

    And by oppression I mean colonial oppression. And that only works when people internalize and accept the oppression.

    So we need to look closely at how people are collaborating with the oppressors.

    I want to return to this now briefly, obviously you can use whatever drugs you want and live whatever way you want.

    I’m not talking about seceding from society and living on top of a high mountain. I’m talking about how to restore the social and civil standing of survivors. And so this is about public perception.

    Anytime anyone does anything which amounts to collaboration with the ~mental health system~ or with the ~autism industry~ it hurts.

    And so I don’t intend to come across and an intolerant extremist. Rather I’m interesting in staking out a position which will discredit the idea that those who have had their lives derailed should:

    1. Be put on mood altering chemicals
    2. Be sent to disclose their affairs to psychotherapists

    Rather, I want people to see that there are actual injustices which need to be redressed.

  15. Yes, Sera, I do think we need to look at the whole thing as oppression. But it is not the mental health system in isolation. It is Capitalism and the Middle-Class Family, and then being backed up by the mental health system.

    And by oppression I mean colonial oppression. And that only works when people internalize and accept the oppression.

    So we need to look closely at how people are collaborating with the oppressors.

  16. Details are needed to wake people up to what is needed for real change.
    No’s should matter, and providers shouldn’t be given a pass. But we do have to find a way to shift the power from all the people who continue to ask for an expert to lock up what they fail to understand, or what they fail to be able to control. We need an uprising that would show large loud outcomes for people, families, and funders to shift the funding to peer connections that heal. And this means details… Advocacy, and Collaboration. Thanks for sharing these powerful details that may inspire people out of silence and inactivity.

    • Teresa, it is good to read your voice. As a person of many hats, the need to change needs you. To hear a professional social worker SAY the system is broken and we all need to do something is great to read.
      I would love to dialogue with you as both a retired LISW and survivor that was abused by the system.
      There is so much to talk on. And if you could hear me then I could hear you and we could reflect in a column the process of dialogue.
      Steve has my email. So I would be willin to correspond and send in the writing to be seen and read here.

  17. I don’t think we will have more people speaking out, until there is to be legal redress. Otherwise people are just letting people further harm them. I for example would suggest never talking to any kind of a psychotherapist, or in any kind of a recovery group.

    But in NY now we have this Child Victims Act. As I see it, represented by a lawyer, this is the time for people to tell all that they can.

    My greatest life objective is to see the survivors of childhood abuses steered to lawyers and political activists, instead of getting sent to psychotherapists, and to recovery and salvation programs.

    Survivors are being abused when they get lectured to about ~healing~ ~forgiveness~ ~self-reliance~ and anything which discourages legal redress.