I recently came across this article by Dr. Jeanne King, Ph.D.
Of course, she is plugging a book on her website, but the advice for battered and abused women is good.
It doesn’t take long in this field to stumble upon a causality of the legal psychiatric system. If you are a battered woman or work with domestic abuse survivors, then you, too, know the incidence of abuse by psychiatric labeling to this vulnerable group of people.
Who Is Crazy?
From the moment she asserts her truth that she is “the abused,” the psychological abuse begins. She is told, “It’s all in your head.” “You’re out of your mind.” “You’re crazy!”
Then, as she ventures out into the world for support and validation of her crippling relationship circumstances, another wave of psychological insult is upon her. She can be told by the very mental health professional she sought comfort from that she is a borderline personality disorder or has a severe mood disorder.
Then, if children are involved, she could even have Munchausen by Proxy. Whatever it takes to just get a label on this ranting, whining woman. But, is she really crazy? Does she really have a psychiatric disorder? Or, are these psychiatric labels used to contain, discredit and silence the alleged domestic violence?
The Psychiatric Rape and Incarceration of Battered Women
Battered women have been institutionalized in psychiatric hospitals for decades. It’s the tried and true means to silence the abuse to her and save face for her abusive partner or former partner.
When the label doesn’t do it in and of itself, more stringent measures are taken to impose psychiatric confinement to the battered woman. She could be picked up by the police and escorted into a 72-hour psychiatric hold for “evaluation.”
We have seen women parked in mental institutions just because their abusive partners claim they belong there. The saddest cases I see are the women who are in and out of psychiatric hospitals over and over again for a span of years.
These women can be subjected to psychotropic medications, solitary confinement, physical restraints and electroshock treatment all in the name of mental health “care.” In many cases, they can emerge from the psychiatric system unrecognizable to their family and former friends.
Often, when they do return to their lives, they discover they have no family or friends. It is not uncommon for their former abusive partners to engage the support of the victim's immediate family to carry out the psychological abuse toward them.
How to Prevent Legal Psychiatric Abuse
The answer to “How to Prevent Legal Psychiatric Abuse” rests in the statement/question. The operative word is “prevent.” You must be vigilant in your steps to prevent it, because once it starts, it quickly can spiral out of control.
Here are some things you will want to know to help you prevent legal psychiatric abuse.
1) Never subject yourself to a voluntary psychiatric hospitalization unless you yourself are seeking care by doing so.
2) Recognize that a psychiatric residential stay is not required to do a psychological evaluation.
3) Pick your own mental health professional, rather then subjecting yourself to the care of someone chosen by your abusive partner.
4) Give yourself a reality check... Seek the input of an independent professional not entangled in your court case to provide you with psychological care and assessment.
5) Trust your gut even when it offers up mixed signals. Deep in your soul, you know who is really "crazy."
If you are a domestic abuse survivor, you will want to keep your eyes wide open and follow the above pointers while you campaign for your safety and psychological well-being.