“I get it. I get why you constantly scare people. Fear gets higher ratings than brilliance.
But I am wondering, have you thought about the ramifications of portraying people with mental illness as evil, scary monsters who commit heinous crimes? Of telling only one story about mental illness? Of perpetuating the harmful stigma and then completely dropping the topic?
They are devastating.
One of the things that happens is that people who are suffering don’t get help. Why would anyone want to admit that they are struggling with their mental health when they might be stereotyped as a terrible, crazy person? When they never see any hopeful cases of people receiving treatment and leading wonderful, productive, happy lives? When they bring up the subject and their friend rushes off to get a drink refill…
We make people feel isolated, alone, and like freaks.
We beg people who are suffering and suicidal to get help while at the same time shaming and stigmatizing them. We give mixed messages. Our shame is dated, unethical and cruel.
We are losing almost 3,000 people to suicide every day. This isn’t just a startling statistic, it is someone’s precious son, daughter, mother, father, sister, brother, etc. It is someone’s beloved family member or dear friend that they have tragically lost.”
“It’s important for all those who want to protect kids from abuse to know that oftentimes abusers are very popular; they are so good; they are so sought-after. They’re attractive. That’s how they get away with years of abuse. It’s this disguise they are highly adept at wearing that lets them unleash years of soul-destroying abuse on children in their power. They hold the ropes and the child believes they want to keep them safe; the child believes that they care. Abusers convince everyone, probably even themselves, that they act out of “love.” They never ask themselves why the love they offer causes so many kids profound suffering or why it’s against the law.
If adults can’t recognize abusers, children are even less likely to realize that what’s happening is abuse and that it is doing damage of a kind they can’t see.”
It is so important that we learn that child molesters are not the stereotypical loners with no social skills, but are quite the opposite. They aren’t weird strangers, much of the time they are the charming, kind, popular adult of either sex. Sometimes even their teacher.
“We’ve known for a long time that only a relatively small number of abuse cases come to the attention of the authorities, but this report by the Children’s Commissioner for England is a comprehensive attempt to measure and understand abuse that is hidden from view.
Its conclusion that only one child in every eight facing sexual abuse comes to the attention of the authorities is a staggering figure, but it does not surprise many working in the field.
Experts will often describe the abuse that is reported as the tip of the iceberg. This research attempts to measure the whole iceberg. “
It can be overwhelming to think about the number of people who either are, or were, abused during childhood. I prefer, instead to think about the number of people who have had this terrible experience, and been able to overcome it. That number should be our inspiration and our hope as survivors, while also motivating us to do better to prevent more children from having to experience it in the first place!
“There are important warning signs — knowing them could save someone close to you.”
If you have teens, or spend a lot of time working with teens, reading this and learning the signs wouldn’t be the worst idea.
“For months, Erin Hagerty tried to get the young boy to open up about his traumatic past. Instead, he spent entire sessions avoiding eye contact, staring at the wall and refusing to speak.
But Hagerty, a clinical psychologist with the Advocate Childhood Trauma Treatment Program didn’t give up on the child, who had been abandoned by his parents and sexually abused by multiple relatives. She built predictable routines — like starting sessions with a joke — into each meeting. She offered him choices in activities, which helped him feel more in control.
In time, the boy learned to trust Hagerty and began sharing his feelings and experiences, while he and his new adoptive family learned how to work together. Eighteen months later, Hagerty said the young boy’s smiling, playful and trusting personality epitomizes the importance of work done by the Advocate Childhood Trauma Treatment Program, one of only a few agencies in Illinois specializing in mental health treatment for children who have suffered trauma or sexual abuse.”
We need more resources like this, and more people like Erin Hagerty, to help children learn to overcome at a young age rather than being traumatized well into adulthood.
“The experiences of abuse take us to a dark and heavy place that no one should ever know. It’s ugly, it’s painful, and it can swallow up everything good we ever knew. Moving on from these times isn’t a step-by-step process you can get from a therapist. It’s a journey. A lifetime of learning from today’s challenges by turning to the wisdom we gained from experiences of the past. It’s no simple process, but it’s a powerful one.
I’m years into my own journey now, with some of my hardest years actually coming as an adult. I went through a terribly painful relationship that took my childhood pains to a new extreme and was nearly the end of me. Hard as it was though, the pain eventually had me more determined than ever to change my life. I wanted to break the cycle I carried and show my children that we can rise above the darkest of times.
Breaking free of those traumatic years hasn’t been easy. I put a lot of work into breaking free from my past. And I mean a lot. But while I’m still very much a work in progress, I have found some simple ways to make life better than ever…”
Some decent advice in this article, especially the reminder that there is no “one” step by step way to healing. Everyone is different and their journey will be different, but everyone is also capable of it!
“In the aftermath of the horrific episode, things went from bad to worst. Instead of sharing empathy with the victimized Imran, locals embarrassed him by sharing rumors about his “homosexual relationship” with Athar. The word spread like wildfire.
“Boys started taunting me,” he says. “They thought it was a consensual relationship while as the truth is that it was rape.””
This story is from India, but that quote could be from just about anywhere. Boys who are molested by men are often faced with that choice, be silent and keep getting raped, or say something and be mocked as part of a homosexual relationship, and also probably continuing to get raped.
Not much of a choice.
I have not seen the new movie Spotlight, and with my current travel/work schedule there’s not much chance that I will see it any time soon. If you have, what did you think of how it portrayed the abuse?
If you’re planning on seeing it, consider submitting a review?
Remember, no matter the size of the audience, if you are reaching one person you are doing something amazing.
I love this sentiment when we talk about our stories as survivors.Your story could reach hundreds, or it could reach one, but for that one person who it does reach, it will be everything.
It’s the 10th-leading cause of death, but you’ll almost never see it mentioned in an obituary.
It kills as many people as breast cancer nationally, but it’s not recognizable by a ribbon or race.
In Ohio, it claims a life every seven hours.
Experts say this is 100 percent preventable. We can stop these deaths.
But we haven’t.
Like cancer in the 1960s and AIDS in the 1980s, suicide is a public-health crisis — one whose victims largely have been ignored by lawmakers, medical professionals and much of the public.
“These are the forgotten people,” said Jan Gorniak, the former Franklin County coroner who now is the deputy chief medical examiner in Washington, D.C. “It doesn’t make the newspaper, and it’s not on TV. We could save lives if we just talked about it. Mental-health problems are real, and we can’t ignore it any longer.”
The interesting thing in this article is the number of suicides and the actual details that have been tracked. The details are heartbreaking, and we clearly are not doing enough to make it easier for people who need help to get it. Not having enough resources is one problem, but so is the humiliation you might be subject to if you ask for help. Individually we might not be able to do a whole lot about the resources, though we should try, but we sure as heck can make ourselves available to support those with mental health issues instead of stigmatizing them.