Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Mad, mad, mad, mad, mad!!!

...You'll notice that what they have in common

-- Margaret Atwood, A Women's Issue

Among the many things I do at work are diagnositc interviews. One of these is the SCID, a two to four hour structured clinical interview of the DSM IV. Yes, I work in psychiatry and whatever your feelings are about that, know that I do not just expect people to spill all of the crevices of their brain onto my pieces of paper. I give them a neutral, compassionate, reasonably consequence-free place to dump the crevices of their brain. (We do research, so no identifying personal information gets attached to these interviews.)

However, the diagnostic part of the interview is not the point I'm trying to make at the moment.

In the course of dumping the crevices of their brains, people will naturally tell you all about the dramatic peaks and (mostly) valleys that comprise their lives. I figure I have administered about one hundred SCIDs with women so far. And of those one hundred women, at least seventy of them report sexual abuse. As in assault or molestation, and rape.  
Most of those seventy have serious mental health problems stemming from that rape or sexual assault or what-the-fuck-ever-it-gets-called. The law is very fond of specific gradations of how hard and deep a woman was fucked against her will, but is unable to make those subtle distinctions when it comes to other things like socio-economics or Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia and Al-Queda. That pisses me off a whole lot; so much so that I can only seem to use expletives to begin to describe to you the breadth and depth of my anger.

Aaahhh, my anger... I just finished reading the Tomato Rodriguez Trilogy by Erika Lopez. In book two, Tomato talks about getting really down with her anger, but not in the touchy-feely-talk-about-your-problems way. Rather, Tomato recommends painting it in red and decorating it with sequins and THAT is HOW MOTHERFUCKING SPARKLY RED RUBY SLIPPERS ANGRY I AM right now.

Because, you see one of the things we girls talked about over cigarettes during all of those group visits to the ladies room and also the endless high school pajama parties was all of the times everyone was raped. Or assaulted. Or pushed against a wall and felt up. Or pinned down in a tent by your boyfriend's best friend with halitosis. Or creeped out by a totally pervy teacher/ uncle/ cousin/ priest whom you made a point of never being alone with again because of his hairy, scary hugs. And then he added insult to injury by making you watch Beverly Hills Cop or an Arnold Schwarzenegger film festival or Die Hard or somesuch stupid shit.*

The other interesting-but-always-found-to-be-true-as-well thing La Lopez pointed out via Tomato R. was how acting slutty kind of prevents sexual assaults. Well, not exactly. Acting kind of slutty maybe prevents actual rapes, because by subtracting the innocent factor, Joe Blow will sometimes leave you alone. It might not turn him on. Of course, by acting slutty to save yourself, most of the time you're just pretending that the inevitable is consensual and thereby saving your psyche a bruise or two. But so what? Who cares if the line between raped and slut is only in your own mind? All's fair in love and war and it's a thin line between love and hate and whatever gets you through the night, babydoll.

You know, like pretending you didn't give a shit when smelly old men would help themselves to a handful of your ass while your arms were full of the beers they just ordered for all of their buddies. So you stomped on the toe of their boot really hard but that toe was steeled, so they laughed at you and even though your ass and the arch of your foot were throbbing with pain, you smiled big and pretty because THEN the joke was on them sorta kinda and anyway they told you that you had a pretty smile and you swallowed the bile in your throat and kept smiling while you pocketed your tip and prayed for closing time and ate more carbs in the quest to gain some fatty armor.

Oh gentle (male) readers, did you laugh, too? Did you believe your buddy (the one you would never leave alone with your sister) when he told you how that girl asked for it? Did you shun him? Or do you still have uncomfortable conversations with him in which you pretend everything is okay? Did you validate a rape with strict adherence to guy code?

Only you can civilize each other.

Only you can shame rapists.

Only you...


Zoro said...

Me and my partisan feminism and mysogynistic humanism, we only do honesty in extremis (as it should). Sometimes some women are achingly beautiful and again, just the opposite of my own cragginess. Upon a study of the dsm3r - lifetime's - came to a point thinking I might know some feminine things an blokes too. Aren't really that pissed off with the conclusions (good day to day).


La Sirena said...


I think I know what you mean, but I'm not sure. Something like there are more differences among the individuals within a gender than between them.
True -- science proves this. When in doubt fall on science.

I'm sure you do know feminine things, you seem a sensitive soul. I know all men aren't violent, but occasionally it disturbs me when I'm confronted with the evidence of how many are.

I've just been really pissed off about the whole thing lately and writing about it helped me get it off my chest. I feel about 100 lbs. lighter today.


Twit said...

God, I'm glad you've got a son (apparently).

Rapists have mommies too.

Only you can get over it..

Maybe you could start by becoming bulimic.

La Sirena said...

Twit -- If I become bulimic can I throw up on you?

La Sirena said...

I'm a 600 pound hussy with bars of chocolate rolled up in my hair.

Not like some anorexic whore like you.

Mmmmmmmm, bulimia mama.

Upchucking all over the house in your stilleto heels...

-- Karen Finley

Twit said...

Sorry. The bulimic thing was a lame ref to your 'apple post'.

& yes, you can.
But only if I can be naked when you do.