(Re-)Traumatized While Seeking Help/Medical Care
harm, distress, and trauma caused by incompetence, negligence, rape myths, systemic abuse, and other kinds of evil
Since my return stateside on September 21, 2016, I have sought help with the following organizations and met with the corresponding harm at their hands:
Institute for Family Health
A staff member used the biggest speculum no lube. It hurt.
bottom line: categorical bourgeois perversion present in the medical industry as out of touch as it is pre-modern
I was submitted to a four page single space questionnaire at Planned Parenthood, and forced to discuss the details of my experiences of abuse and sexual trauma with a complete stranger, even after several times I told her I was not comfortable, not knowing where she was putting the information or if it was secure, in direct violation of the Planned Parenthood Bill of Patient Rights.
bottom line: that went against the PP Bill of Patient Rights, was illegal, traumatic, and unnecessary
concerned I may have been drugged in a sexual encounter that also involved 3–4 drinks, instead of testing me for substances used to aid in sexual assault, as I requested, the doctor and nurses tested me for heroin, cocaine, and many other drugs I have NEVER DONE (feel free to take as many samples of hair, urine, blood to prove it), all completely unrelated to the reason for my visit
not only this, but I was aggressively interrogated, invalidated, and implicitly treated like a sex worker due to the recriminating behavior of the hospital staff who claimed that the tests I requested were not available at Lenox Hill nor at any other facility in NYC.
bottom line: some hospitals won’t perform rape kits or other tests because their staff just don’t want to
When I call the hotline, the answering service or on call person says what sounds like “Violence Project,” and it scares me. In another message left by a counselor, it sounds like she says “VP” instead of AVP, too (and that’s what’s transcribed).
The counselor advocate contradicts herself regarding what legal options may be available to address my concerns that Lenox Hill Hospital mishandled my case.
I find out after I move from New York that she is a “Economic Empowerment Specialist”. While I was receiving therapy from her, despite the fact that while she was my advocate counselor my bank account dropped to just 30 cents, she never offered any counseling whatsoever related to my financial duress.
The only “support” provided were single metro cards I had to sign for that were only enough to take the subway to and from appointments.
I took it in stride, but then as now it seems like some sort of cruel joke to call $5.50 worth of metro cards “support,” particularly when a survivor has no money and the only use of the cards will be to get to and from appointments, as in my case.
This strikes me as particularly absurd and strange given that my “counselor-advocate” refers to herself by the title “Economic Empowerment Specialist”.
A cursory search of the (Anti-)Violence Project website and the “Resources” tab leads to 451 links to stories about hate crimes and other incidents of violence that can hardly be qualified as “Resources”.
She also said she would reach out to the hospital, asked me to sign a release for her to do that, but left me hanging, with extreme distress and anxiety due to the trauma I had experienced as a patient there.
bottom line: gratuitous emotional violence.
Sexual Violence Free
I wrote the following letter to Mary Haviland, Executive Director of The New York City Alliance Against Sexual Assault because I was so scandalized by the indifferent, bureaucrat-like behavior of her staff:
Dear Ms. Haviland,
I will correct your obfuscation of the true issue at stake: the communication of information is not support.
And, if the information is given solely on the basis of shouldering off any and all responsibility, then there is no advocacy being done.
Make no mistake: this bad faith is not limited to you or your institution, it is in fact endemic to the society we live in.
People ignore survivors of sexual violence, project the blame on them, as well as the guilt: aggressively interrogate, shun, and punish them for the crimes of others.
My family categorically avoids the moral issues at stake, and so I have never had their support to fight the evil and wrongdoing that has been done to me.
For over ten years I have carried the full burden of experience of sexual violence and trauma alone. Incidents of it have multiplied over the years.
And still, I have no support in seeking help.
Josie wrote me off (in the manner of a bureaucrat) and Bryan didn’t write back for two weeks.
I would like to know what drugs you are all on.
bottom line: The New York City Alliance Against Sexual Assault could aptly be called “Sexual Violence Free” because like the Violence Project, they both add to the gratuitous (in French, “gratuit” means both free and baseless, absurd, without justification) emotional violence of sexual trauma, but also enable it.
I explained to every single staff member very clearly that I wished to be assessed for autism. I was questioned for over five hours, submitted to deeply personal questions about experiences of trauma, sexual and emotional violence, and found out at the end of the “diagnostic assessment” that the person conducting it was a social worker and therefore unable to provide an official diagnosis.
I would never have consented to answering five hours of questions if I had known that the sole reason for my visit would be completely ignored by the staff of the Coleman Center.
bottom line: my trust was violated, traumatic experience
Due to serious concerns about hacking and cyberstalking, Autism Speaks refered me to RAINN, the largest national anti-sexual violence organization.
I called at 8:30 PM on March 27, 2017 and the woman who picked up said “WYCA,” took down my information and said someone would call me back from a private number (I asked her her name and she said “Tara”).
I thought I had called RAINN, and was so confused that I google searched “WYCA,” and found it’s a local radio station that plays Gospel.
I did get a phone call back, from the local YWCA rape crisis hotline, to whom I explained again the reason for my call, but my phone died before she could give me the information I needed.
So I called back, explained everything again to the answering service, and then I got a call back and was given the number for a counseling intake at the closest YWCA.
No person calling a rape hotline should ever have to repeat the reason for their call three times because this could clearly compromise their safety.
15 days have gone by and phone tag has intensified.
Here is the email I sent to the Coordinator of Advocacy and Crisis Intervention, DuPage:
I would like to know why my concern about cyberstalking was answered with a phone number for counseling.
In fact, the reason I called the RAINN hotline was to find help to create a police report.
Once again, I made the original call on 3/27 and have made subsequent calls since.
It gives a very bad feeling that the only “help” provided is to pathologize me and conflate my request for support in order to address a specific hacking/cyberstalking concern with a need for mental health care.
That is bigoted and it is wrong and at worst it could be an obstruction of justice.
Fifteen days have passed since I explained legitimate concerns about hacking/cyber/stalking, that I can back up with screen shots, documentation, and as much proof as I can provide.
But alas, this egregious and prejudiced way of treating the practical concerns of women as psychological ones is endemic to our culture.
It is one area of my research as feminist scholar and I have documented this sort of misogyny extensively over the past year:
This rude treatment makes me extremely uncomfortable because I have made the reason for my call so clear, so many times.
Here is what I wrote in the email you responded to, Colleen: “On March 27, 2017 I called RAINN with concerns about hacking and cyber security, certainly linked to several experiences of sexual violence.”
Fifteen days have gone by, and I have to live with the psychological consequences every day.
Your behavior, and that of this illogical need to pathologize women’s concerns has caused unnecessary psychological harm.
bottom line: incompetence, misogyny, inefficiency, unsafe
Developmental Disabilities Family Clinics
My initial call to the intake line was not returned and then despite positive engagement from staff after I made four more phone calls and sent three emails, another staff member called and said “they do not do psychiatric evaluations,” and that “they do not have any psychiatrists in their staff” even though I never asked for a psychiatric evaluation, and only made it clear in every single call and email that I wished to be assessed for autism, which their clinic is in fact specialized in.
bottom line: weird.
here is some background.
I have taken a few too many for the team — through economic crisis, layoffs, and fascist politics — coming from a middle class background.
A straight A student by nature, I went to college on scholarships and a full need-based financial package.
My parents both lost their jobs during the financial crisis and life has been hell ever since.
Fast forward to 2015/16.
I experience some trauma working at a job I love in Paris, France: a teacher bullies me so much I can no longer work at one of the schools I was assigned to as an English teacher through an excahnge program run by the French and American Embassies.
My French boyfriend emotionally abuses me with all the colors and tones of extremely violent classical misogyny.
The year before that I was exploited working as an au pair by several rich French families (weeks of work I am still not paid for), who broke the law, systematically abused and bullied me, all absolutely sure they will get away with it.
My rights to healthcare coverage were denied, along with my need for mental health care; I paid out of pocket and struggle financially due to the exploitation and abuses I have suffered.
Through a solidarity group I find a living situation because I am poor and must work something out. The golf exec who is my landlord lies to me, takes all my money, then exploits every pretext to harass and traumatize me, with a novel-like volume of threats and lies.
Ten organizations in France deny my requests for therapy and mental health care, including but not limited to Paris Aide aux Victimes, BAPU, Paris Rectorat, Femmes Solidaires, Ni Putes Ni Soumises, Voix de Femmes, CIDFF, Efigies.
I was also in contact with several social workers in France, of Paris 3 Sorbonne Nouvelle, CROUS, l’Hôpital Saint-Louis, Rectorat de Paris, none of whom EVER HELPED ME, though they successfully wasted hours, weeks, months and years of my time, because they are evil.
I was drowned and pushed into destitution by evil, negligence, incompetence and criminal arrogance, then family and friends offered to help me leave in one piece.
All constantly reneged and I was stuck in France in destitution, completely traumatized for months, often without money for food.
I found an affordable flight but family wouldn’t listen to me and I was forced to stay in France almost a full month beyond my tourist visa.