Violence Against Women and PTSD as a Joke in Recent News Reports on Ohio Shooting

“A former classmate from Bellbrook High School told BuzzFeed News that in 2011 or 2012, Betts made a ‘hit list’ that included mostly girls at the school. When teachers found the list, the school went into lockdown and Betts was later suspended, the classmate said. He tended to play threats off as a joke, the classmate added, and no one seemed to take them very seriously.” — Ellie Hall, Buzzfeed, Aug. 5, 2019

“The suspected gunman in the Dayton mass shooting was a member of a ‘pornogrind’ heavy metal band which sang about extreme sexual violence against women. […] Preteen Daughter P***y Slaughter, 6 Ways Of Female Butchery and Tilt Bench for Gynecology Or Total Rape are among the names of the albums produced by Menstrual Munchies. All the artwork on the album covers depicts highly graphic, sexualised and bloody violence against women. [quoting a band member] ‘Because I know, like, whereas I saw it as a joke — like, ‘Let’s play this and we’ll shock some people,’ and then the people that we know laugh — he didn’t see it as a joke. He was like, ‘F***, yeah. We’re gonna do this.'” — Tim Wyatt, The Independent, Aug. 6, 2019

Violence against women is not a joke.

It is the reason why I have four locks on two doors separating me from the outside world, and yet I still barricade my front door with a chair before I go to bed at night.

It is the reason why I wake up from nightmares thrashing around in my bed and screaming “NO.”

It is the reason why I cannot handle people I either do not know or do not trust touching me.

It is the reason why I am constantly on alert looking for threats and waiting for something bad to happen.

It is the reason why I jump and tense up whenever I hear someone speaking loudly, pounding on the walls or floor, or a slamming door.

It is why I am too many times unable to get out of bed and leave my house.

It is the reason why I first thought about suicide when I was 8 years old, and haven’t stopped since.

It is the reason why I have self-inflicted scars littering my arms.

It is one of the reasons why my mother chose to die.

And, I am not alone.

Women have double the rates of PTSD compared to men due to women having experienced higher rates of child abuse, sexual violence, and domestic violence.

Violence against women is not a joke. And, making light of violence against women is not free speech. Making light of violence against women – physical and psychological pain and suffering – is psychological violence. It is cruel and terrifying. It demonstrates at best a complete ignorance of the harm such violence causes, or at worst a lack of empathy characteristic of psychopaths and sociopaths. If you think that it is appropriate to make light of violence against women, you need to do some self-reflective introspective work and seek professional psychological help.

See also:

Freedom of Speech or Psychological Violence? A Contextual Case Against Degradation

EDIT: 8/15/2019 – See also:

We need to have a serious discussion about free speech…

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Perpetuating Ableism in Treating Adult Children of Alcoholics

Based on a recommendation, I am currently reading The ACoA Trauma Syndrome: The Impact of Childhood Pain on Adult Relationships, by Tian Dayton, PhD. I would like to say that I find the book intimately enlightening, but I don’t. The book replicates and perpetuates an ableist ideology that is subsumed in western psychology (e.g. pp. 22-25) – treating people who have experienced childhood trauma as if they are psychologically and emotionally stunted; psychologically and emotionally stuck in childhood; psychologically and emotionally located lower on the developmental hierarchy.

I find this incredibly offensive in how it patronizes people. This offensive ideology needs to be re-examined through a divergent perspective. Through such a perspective, people who have experienced childhood trauma may have extreme emotions and may be prone to generalizations that result in dichotomous all or nothing thinking. However, these people have developed strategies for survival based on the various types of abuse they have faced throughout their lives. When people hurt you, people who are supposed to protect you, people who don’t know you, and everyone in between, over and over again, what is the most reasonable disposition to take towards people? You err on the side of caution and you immediately take everyone and every problem as a potential threat to your survival.

People who have experienced childhood trauma are not psychologically and emotionally stunted. They are people who have developed strategies for survival based on their experiences. They are people who have had to navigate and deal with adult issues at a very young age. They have developed habitual responses to the abuse and violence they experienced that have helped them survive. While these responses are not conducive to individual flourishing and developing healthy relationships, they are not childlike.

These people are not childlike. They are doing the immense work of self-reflectively examining their habitual responses by breaking down their thoughts, feelings and actions in order to reconstruct their psychological and emotional worlds. This is an ongoing process that will take the rest of their lives. The capacity for sustained self-reflective introspection is incredibly mature. More able-normative people ought to try it.