Friday, July 15, 2011

Post Traumatic Stress and Controlled Rape

Journalist Mac McClelland wrote a very painful article about post-traumatic stress disorder and her way of dealing with it. If you have rape triggers or have been through some hard horrible stuff, you might want to steer clear of this. If you want to write PTSD you might consider giving it a read.


  1. Disturbing, to say the least.

  2. It is, but I don't think we get to turn away from things just because they're hard to look at.

  3. It took me a couple of tries to get through this. Wow, yeah, hard to look at. Very thought provoking, certainly. I can't really question her choices because all the choices she describes are so far beyond my reference. Since I'm pathologically risk/conflict-averse, her career choice is not one I can relate to, so her way of dealing with the fall-out may be appropriate to her personality (though I think she should keep up with the therapy). Makes me wonder about a potential link to BDSM, or if the relief cutters feel by inflicting physical damage to circumvent their psychological pain is a closer parallel. Both of those mechanisms take the mind-body-emotion links to an extreme. Is it all a question of wiring? How much comes down to the schematic we start with vs. the potential shorts and crossed wires created by difficult experiences, and what can be done to untangle the mess?

    I was interested in the therapist's comments about trauma - how some people run towards the fear, trying to prove it's survivable, or perhaps to rewind and try to change the ending, or even to *get* to an ending, however horrible just to stop the film playing and re-playing. I was also intrigued by the idea that some people live in a state of heightened awareness and only feel calm in chaos. Possibly because they've been continuously anticipating *something* and having their expectations realized is a relief.

    But I think the biggest question I had concerned all the men who were the direct source of her trauma. There was very little questioning that this is how men behave when there is nothing to stop them. Is that true? Or is this atrocious behavior *their* physical-mental-emotional response to disaster and a peculiar combination of powerlessness and freedom? Civilization has broken down and in the resulting power vacuum, human connections seem to have transformed into more of a barbaric gang mentality. They don't feel protective towards their fellow country-women, instead they seem bent on abusing and alienating them. That's the behavior of an unhealthy animal. I can't help but wonder why this happens and what can be done to stop it - other than putting all the women behind barbed-wire and guarding them, like my friend's nephew guarded lumber-yards when he was stationed in Haiti. What do the men in these situations need to bring their self-control, their true power, their humanity, back?

  4. As terrible as the article is, I must admit I was more disturbed by reactions to it.