May 12, 2018
This week on MIA Radio we
interview Sera Davidow, a psychiatric survivor and prolific
activist for the human rights of people labeled mentally ill. Sera
serves as the Director of the Western Massachusetts Recovery
Learning Community and is a founding member of the Hearing Voices
USA Board of Directors.
Through her work, she has gained a range of experiences
including starting up a peer respite, opening resource centers, and
producing educational materials on non-coercive, non-pathologizing
alternatives to the traditional mental health system. Sera is a
regular blogger for Mad in America and has written extensively on
the topics of forced treatment and sexual violence.
In this interview, we discuss the parallels and intersections
between coercive psychiatric care and sexual assault.
In this episode we discuss:
- Sera’s lived experience as a psychiatric survivor and survivor
of sexual violence.
- The similarities between sexual violence and forms of
psychiatric abuse including forced drugging, forced intubation,
forced catheterization, strip searches, restraint, and
- How even seemingly minor or routine parts of psychiatric
hospitalization, such as regularly monitoring patients, can be
- The role that victim-blaming and gaslighting play in both
sexual violence and psychiatric coercion
- That the language and terminology of the mental health system
such as “mental illness,” “noncompliance,” and “anosognosia” serve
to perpetuate violence
- That people’s discomfort with big emotions and taboo topics
often prevent trauma survivors from speaking about their
experiences within psychiatric settings
- How we can help providers and the general public understand the
trauma and violence of psychiatric coercion
A World That Would Have Us Doubt: Rape, the System, and Swim
Us, Too: Sexual Violence Against People Labeled Mentally
101: What is Gaslighting?
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© Mad in America 2018