Response to article in the AGE May 12 2015. This made my blood boil.
Dr Sallee McLaren is a clinical psychologist.
What a shoddy and despicable piece of writing this is by someone who should know better. Clearly it was amateur hour when this Clinical Psychologist has this very major brain fart.
The thesis is this: Women are 50% responsible for the violence they endure in an abusive relationship, because (pick your behaviour that she should have done) to stop the man in the first place.
And violence is always wrong. Got that bit right at least.
I was wondering what the remarkable Rosie Batty would say to being accused of being 50% responsible for what happened to her and her son Luke? McLaren's examples in the piece are a great demonstration of logical fallacy:
"All elephants are grey, all mice are grey, therefore all mice are elephants'
i.e. 'Women should not allow their spouses to escalate non violent abusive behaviour, because it will give the man permission to escalate to physical violence' therefore women are to blame equally for the violence.
Seriously McLaren, I mean seriously?
Chris Cummins, Bendigo mental health nurse, recently returned to mainland Australia after working with asylum seekers on Christmas Island for five years, as team leader of the Torture and Trauma Counselling Service (ABC Central Victoria)-
28 April, 2015 5:21PM AEST
Bendigo mental health nurse appalled by treatment of asylum seekers on Christmas Island
Grown men wetting themselves and children suffering from nightmares are just some of the symptoms Chris Cummins had to deal with in her work with asylum seekers on Christmas Island Ms Cummins thinks that asylum seekers would be better off given prison sentences than to remain indefinitely in detention with no time frame for processing.
"With a prison sentence you can mark the calendar and say, 'Okay, I've been given five years so I'll just wait those five years out,'" she said. "But for an asylum seeker, they don't know how long that will be." She isn't surprised by the recent news of a five-year-old Iranian girl in a Darwin detention centre being diagnosed with PTSD and prescribed antidepressants. "Some of the children I worked with had experiences that you really wouldn't want to dream about - ever," said Ms Cummins."These children recalled those [experiences] in their nightmares and in their waking with these intrusive memories." She said some of those experiences are of rape, often witnessed by children.
"Children are just as much a victim as an adult, unfortunately," she said. Ms Cummins said there are plenty more stories that are hidden away. Only the lack of access to services prevents them from being told. "They don't have access to law firms," she said. Ms Cummins was the team leader of the Torture and Trauma Counselling Service on Christmas Island for five years. Based at the hospital on the island, her clients were from the nearby purpose-built detention centre. The general medical and mental health care in the detention centre was provided by the International Health and Medical Service (IHMS), but those with additional support needs were referred to Ms Cummins' team. "Every referral was always high needs, it was always in desperation," said Ms Cummins. Most of her clients presented with symptoms of PTSD or other mental health issues such as depression and anxiety or a combination of all three. [It's] what we call complex trauma," she said.
"We would be seeing people with very heightened symptoms." It wasn't unusual for us to find grown men starting to wet the bed through their trauma symptoms." The symptoms would often bring with them additional issues. "We would work with them to try and alleviate some of that shame and humiliation that went with that, and of course try and stop the symptom itself," said Ms Cummins. With people who have lived though a traumatic event, flashbacks are one of the common symptoms which present and not just at night but also while awake. "It's so intense that they are reliving that horror they were in," she said. It can be triggered by something small. A sound or a smell, something that brings them back to that memory," said Ms Cummins.
Christmas Island Detention Centre
Built in 2006, the Christmas Island Detention Centre, with its high security and heavy fencing, is described by Ms Cummins as a prison. "[It is] a very heavy structure, lots of metal doors, a cage-like facility," she said. She cites poor design as another contributing factor to the ill-treatment of asylum seekers. Originally built to house single men, the centre now accommodates families. "There are two separate facilities on the island. Families are closer to the township in the old construction workers' camp and the single males are held in this prison-like structure," she said. The two separate compounds can be individually locked down. "So it's not unusual for the place to be in lockdown if someone has self-harmed or is getting agitated," she said. "They will lock the whole place down and people are contained in their own little compound." Adding to the problem is the overcrowding. What started as accommodation for 400 people has rapidly expanded to housing 800 people. Ms Cummins said each compound was the size of a suburban backyard that would hold about 100 men.
At one point there were over 2000 men housed in the facility. "That was at its worst and most crowded," she said. To accommodate the surge in numbers, education and visitor wings were converted into dormitories and marquee tents brought in to hold over 40 men. "It was a very crowded place, with very tight, very uncomfortable conditions," said Ms Cummins.
Ms Cummins says regional processing of asylum seekers was the defining moment that changed the way Australia processed claims. With that came the change in language and lack of individual stories which contributed to peoples' de-humanisation. "People were removed from being real to us," Ms Cummins said. "They became a collective of labels called 'queue jumpers' and 'illegals'. "It's really heartbreaking to me that people are a collective 'nothing' when really, they are people living and breathing the same as you and I." She believes this practice changed the way we connected with people."They were just this unknown that we didn't really need to care about because we didn't know them as human, we didn't know their stories," she said. Ms Cummins wants to change that. "My big message is to bring back that human story," she said. "Each person that arrives has a life, they have a family, and they have people that love them. "They would never leave anything that was close to home or their own culture unless they were really forced to."
Ms Cummins has had five years to think about preventative measures for people drowning at sea. She believes Indonesia holds the key to the solution. "That's where everyone travels to; they cross borders and make their journeys to those boats in Indonesia to get to a safe haven," she said. But Indonesia doesn't hold the same desirability as Australia. "It doesn't offer any protection and it doesn't offer a life," she said. "It doesn't offer security to people so they use that as a place of transit." She thinks the $5 billion Australia spends annually on detaining people could be better spent."We need to channel that money into very strong ties with Indonesia and actually try and do something that is worthy," said Ms Cummins. "We need a long-term solution and not a bandaid reactive solution like it is now."
This is where Ill be hanging out and putting my thoughts about the world in the weeks and months ahead. So welcome to my site and to my life, thank you for being here. I hope we have a long and fruitful relationship. These blogs, when I get organised, will cover a wide range of topics. Mental Health, Positive Psychology, Politics, Society and Social Psychology, The Arts to name just a few. Cinema will get more than a passing mention along with current affairs. So I hope you will stick around and join in the conversation!