Heed the content notice, while this post ends on a positive note, the bulk of it is tough and potentially triggering. Please take your time and take a break if you need to.
CN: Abuse, Trauma, Assault, Suicide Attempt, PTSD, Depression
I’ve been re-watching Grey’s Anatomy as my background show. I got pulled back into it after re-watching the episode where Dr. Bailey has to treat a Nazi. There were enough things going on in the episode that I just recognized based on watching the show a long time ago, and there are times when I can’t help it. Not remembering things, especially stories, irritates me and I feel the need to refresh my memory.
The following rant will contain spoilers for the first three maybe parts of 4 seasons.
One thing that struck me quite a bit on this go round, is how the nice men, the “Honourable men”, the so called good guys of Seattle Grace Hospital, are all abusive assholes.
Let’s start with Derek Shepherd aka McDreamy.
On my Facebook memories page, I found an old Tumblr picture that includes stories from a series of girls talking about how their appendix burst because they didn’t realize the pain they were feeling wasn’t cramps. The post goes on to explain the difference between menstrual pain and appendix pain. The stories were a way for girls to discuss just how painful cramps can be – that appendicitis, which is known to be extremely painful, was not different enough from their regular menstrual pain to be noticeable.
I had shared the post, along with my commentary that the suggestion to talk to your parents or school nurse about pain, even if it was “only cramps”, ignored the reality of most people who experience menstruation who are told that they are overreacting and to suck it up. Many of us have been told that all women deal with it and that it’s not that bad. Even when my cramps would leave me shaking and with a fever, I was expected to go to class and carry on as though everything was normal. After all “every woman goes through the same thing”. (Not all women actually, and not all people who do are women, but that’s another post for another time). Continue reading “Fear of Menstruation Is Why I Can’t Walk”
For as long as people have been talking about social justice online, there have been people, trolls really, who make a point to argue, harass, and otherwise engage in actively hateful and bigoted behaviour. This has been the case in every online community I have been involved with: the feminist community, the atheist community, disability community. There is always someone prepared to defend the vilest behaviour you can think of. If you are a representative of these communities: a Person of Colour, a Trans Woman, a Disabled Person, if you are a member of some minority, the number of people who target you in particular escalates.
The sheer number of people committed to spreading hate has made places like the comment boards on Youtube a place to be avoided. Many magazines and blogsites have closed their comment sections. More than one writer, activist, organizer, and so forth has been forced off the internet as a result of death threats, threats of rape and violence, dealing with a constant barrage of slurs and hatred, and even having their private information released to the public.
We really need to talk. Enough is enough. As much as we make jokes about doctors and their god-complex, the truth of the matter is that you are only human. You are as much a victim of internalized bias and prejudice as any other person who is a product of this biased society we live in. It’s unreasonable to expect otherwise given how those same biases influence how we teach doctors. But I am going to expect it, nay I’m going to demand it. Because for all that you are only human, you often have the power of life, death, and suffering over people and right now your biases are killing my friends and me.
TW: Domestic Violence, Systemic Violence, Bigotry
As some of you may remember, I talked about the possibility of going to New York, to help a single mom friend who had hurt herself. I was doing a fundraiser to be able to afford to go (I could still use some donations to help recover from the financial strain. And also to cover unexpected expenses).
Well, earlier in July, I finally went. Many of you may be wondering why it was so urgent. While it is true that an injured ankle makes things hard to deal with, especially for a single mom with an active kid, but it doesn’t seem like the type of thing to really justify spending so much money to go help out. Heck, taking a cab around would be cheaper.
The truth is that out of concern for privacy and at the request of my friend, I left out a lot of details. While it is true that she did injure herself, and that a portion of my help was to make things easier on her for a few days, the truth of the matter is that I was going there to stand witness and see what I could do to help her with a much more complicated issue.After my visit, my friend gave me permission to release some of the information on my blog.
You see, my friend was a victim of domestic abuse. Severe domestic abuse. Her partner hit her, sexually assaulted her, the details of which are so unbelievably horrible, that the court had a hard time accepting the truth of it. That was six years ago, and this man will likely never see the inside of a cell for what he did. My friend however, has had her life, and that of her child, completely hijacked.
In the last several weeks, there have been several news articles relating to opiate use and changing definitions regarding drug classification and how doctors can prescribe. As usual this has brought a lot of the stigma surrounding medicine use to the limelight. Whenever these conversations get sparked again, a lot of people start talking about over-prescription, abuse of narcotics, and how big bad pharma creates fake conditions in order to sell drugs. People start talking about patients who abuse the system and end up addicted. These conversations are usually had by people who have no personal experience with chronic pain or the type of conditions being discussed. These same arguments then get used to discredit conditions like Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, and ADHD.
The shaming inherent in a lot of these arguments not only make life more difficult for patients, but they are actually an example of how “a little” knowledge is a dangerous thing. Take, for example, the frequent argument that ADHD is often over-diagnosed and an excuse to medicate children. Some people have gone so far as to claim that ADHD meds are the shut up and sit still drug and that ADHD itself doesn’t exist.
The first half of the argument is based on two problematic ideas: the lie of more-diagnoses which I discussed in a previous article, and a tendency by certain studies to limit their focus on white males. While there is some indication that ADHD may be over-diagnosed in white boys, in every other category girls, people of colour, and so forth, the opposite appears to be the case.
In white children misbehaviour is believed to be pathological, whereas in the case of children of colour, it is believed to be genetic and inherent. When behaviours that are believed to be disruptive appear in class, white children are often send to counselors and psychiatrists, while black children in particular are punished. We’ve seen this discussed when activists and studies discuss the school to prison pipeline. In many cases the behaviours being punished are the same that are said to be caused by ADHD in white children. Continue reading “Shaming Med Use Kills”
In response to the horrible bill banning abortion in the case of disability, I would like to propose 10 much more effective ways to combat eugenics. Ones which will actually help.
- Fight for Better Accessibility
One of the biggest barriers towards integration into society and thus the biggest source of “misery” is the lack of accessibility in our world. What is infuriating is that it doesn’t have to be that way. In a world where almost every person carries around a tiny computer more powerful than what was used to send man into space, the idea that we don’t have the ability to make this world easier to navigate for people who can’t see, or hear, or have mobility issues, is a little ridiculous.
Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R) signed a controversial abortion bill Thursday that, among other things, would ban the procedure if it is sought because the fetus was diagnosed with a disability or defect such as Down syndrome. – https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2016/03/24/indiana-just-banned-abortion-if-the-fetus-has-down-syndrome/
Ok let’s get one thing straight. The solution to one group being oppressed is not to take away the rights of another group. You are not helping disabled people by taking away the rights of people with uteri. This is not a solution.
All this bill will do is increase the number of people having unsafe medical procedures, and increase the amount of disabled children who end up in abusive homes. Forcing someone to have a child they don’t want doesn’t end ableism. The parents forced to care for a child they would have rather terminated are more likely to resent the child. Forcing people who are bigoted against a group to raise a member of that group may eventually lead that person to reevaluate their bigotry but at what cost? Children shouldn’t be forced to live with abuse just so someone can learn a lesson eventually.
With the high rates of murder of disabled children, a bill such as this is basically creating a situation where these events are even more likely.
Taking away a person’s bodily autonomy reinforces that that is an ok thing to do, and that idea is exceptionally dangerous to disabled people. We are already dealing with too many people who think we don’t have a right to control our own bodies. Parents who think it is ok to drastically alter their children’s bodies without consent, people who think it is ok to forced disabled people to have abortions against their consent, and the fact that disabled people have an 80% chance of being sexually assaulted (higher for female presenting disabled people). Even in less extreme circumstances, people who think it is OK to touch or force their help on people using assistive devices like wheelchairs or canes.
What’s more, there will be living breathing disabled people harmed by this bill. People with disabilities are more likely to be poor. They are more likely to be struggling. Bills that limit access to abortion have a disproportionately higher impact on people living in poverty. They can’t afford to fight legally for special exemptions. They can’t afford to go to another state to get access to the health services they mean. Moreover, the decision to terminate a disabled child, may be directly influenced by their own knowledge of their ability to care for one, whether it be because they lack the physical energy necessary in some cases, or because they lack the financial resources to be able to properly provide for them.
All this bill does is further restrict and take away the rights of women and people with uteri, and put more disabled people in harms way. Remember, a disabled woman is still a woman. If you take away her rights as a woman to defend her rights as a disabled person, she still ends up with a loss of rights.
I’ve previously written about the difference between eugenics and pro-choice, and how the thought process that goes into the decision to abort a disabled fetus is both a symptom and a perpetuation of systemic ableism.
What does it mean in practice to oppose eugenics, however? If aborting a fetus on the basis of disability is harmful, how do we address that? Do we make it illegal? Do we restrict a person’s ability to make that decision by eliminating the ability to know in advance whether a child has a disability or not?
How can you oppose eugenics and still remain pro-choice. Isn’t it wrong to shame people who get abortions for the reasons they get abortions?
Let me make it clear. The right to bodily autonomy is such that any restriction, even for the best of intentions, is a violation of bodily autonomy. Regardless why someone is getting an abortion, the ability to do so safely and without barrier is essential. All people should have the right to access an abortion without shaming. Continue reading “What is Anti-Eugenics in Practice?”