This is actually going to be part of the book I am writing about my capture and degradation by the psychiatric profession for the crime of surviving incest and complaining about my pain. I didn’t plan to write very much about the Another Way support group for psychiatric survivors in Montpelier, VT or about my ex-husband and children, for that matter, except as points of reference for the story I planned to write about doctors, therapists, drugs and drug companies. But, first thing when I opened my journal from 1997 I noticed that I kept referring to having been raped by a man who frequented Another Way.
I was puzzled. I didn’t remember having been raped. Practically speaking, while I was literally intoxicated by a prescribed dose of an ssri that was 4 times the legal limit, every man who had sex with me was raping me because I was not capable of giving consent in that state. Just one more of my drug injuries. But this was before that happened.
I wondered why I wrote in the journal that I’d been raped. I wondered if I was being hyperbolic, if I just FELT raped because it hadn’t worked out. But no, I kept reading in the journal and slowly the story came together. He was a transient, a couple of years younger than me. As was my habit, I invited homeless people at Another Way to visit me at my apartment which was next door. I thought I was being a good samaritan. Now I know I was a gullible idiot.
So this guy charmed me and made me feel smart and generous. I was lonely and we began to engage in consensual sex. But suddenly it turned violent and it was no longer a loving act. I considered going to the cops. I talked to mental health workers who took no action whatsoever. I decided against reporting the “date rape” as they termed it in my medical records. The reason why I kept silence was because of my experiences – first testifying in court against my abuser when I was 9 and then being forced to live with him after a short mental hospital stint, then losing a lawsuit against that pedophile because they said I was too chicken to do it in the 3 years I had when I turned 18. And then right after I lost that lawsuit my ex-husband spent thousands of dollars to sue me for custody of our daughters. I won that suit, but I understood very clearly what my position as a woman is before men’s laws.
Additionally I was being critically disabled by the medical treatments I was being subjected to. This is all in the medical record. In that same time period I had a cytoscopy, which is a camera inserted in a tube into the bladder thru the urethra. I had this because, as it says in the record I had “a myogenic bladder related to medication.” Which means they understood that the drugs were causing the muscles in my bladder to seize up, which led to several life-threatening infections of the bladder, where I had to be hospitalized. So I guess they thought they’d shove a large, instrument up inside me to take a look at the damage they were doing to me. I also had a cone biopsy to remove part of my cervix around the same time. I recorded in the journal that I was having menstrual irregularities. I was 44. I know now that the menstrual changes were also from the drugs, which were wrecking my entire endocrine system.
It’s like the whole medical system was completely focused on what is between my legs. And they were hurting me there, literally destroying my bladder and ovaries with the chemicals they said it was critical for me to ingest. This rape was happening at the same time I was raped by a man at Another Way.
I’m telling this part of the story because I understand only too well that the only thing men see when they look at me is the smelly, red, wet, wrinkled meat in between my legs. . I understand that my issue is not with psychiatry or with corporate med or Big Pharma. My issue is with the overweening hatred men have for women and the hysterical fear they have of vulvas and vaginas. You will try to deny this but I say look at how men have laid waste to the planet, to nature, which they consider female. And I simply have to look at the records that were made of the medical and psychiatric and literal rapes I endured to know that this is the truth.
Fast forward to 2010. In 2007 I entered a detox center and began to taper off of all the chemicals. By 2008 I had read Robert Whitaker’s Mad In America and got radicalized about psychiatric oppression. The director of Another Way was retiring and I was taking on more responsibility as a board member there. The board interviewed several people for the position and finally settled on Steven Morgan, Jr. Steven was 30 years old and was tall, handsome, charming and intelligent. He is good with computers. He had had a psychotic episode pursuant to experimenting with LSD and he was hospitalized and labeled bipolar. He had worked as a peer supporter in a public mental health.
In 2010 I was in the middle of detoxing from a massive prescribed chemical cocktail. I was working 20 hours a week at a deli, working as a peer supporter at Another Way. I was on the board, I ran a women’s support group and I ran the farm-to-table food program. I had brain damage along with other physiological drug damage, but working was helping me heal. I had had some issues with Steven Morgan, the director that I had helped to hire. When he first started the job we drove to a conference about food and during the ride we got to talking about rape. He told me he had accidentally raped his girlfriend when they had been drinking because he thought it was part of the sex game they apparently played sometimes. He was surprised afterward when she was upset that he didn’t stop when she asked. At the time I thought, well, everyone make errors in judgment.
On the way home Steven showed me an engineering assessment of the AW building. The former director had neglected it, it needed to be gutted and redone. I was outraged about the condition of the building and subsequently wrote to the Commissioner of Mental Health, who was someone I had known before Steven came along. Steven got angry with me for not letting him handle the situation in “a collegial manner” with his corporate colleagues in the system. This was condescending, invalidating, and an attempt to silence and censor me.
In 2009, when I was trying to start a woman’s group at Another Way I asked Steven several weeks in a row for a door to be put on the women’s meeting room. Men would sit in the adjoining kitchen and talk loudly while we were trying to meet. One time when I went out asked them to be quiet one of the men lunged at me. When I told Steven, he shrugged his shoulders and did nothing.
I was trying to hook AW up with other social service/social change agencies, including Battered Women’s Services, Our House (sexually abused kids) and the Rape crisis center. When I brought in small brochures about sex abuse and safety, he was embarrassed and did not want to display them. When I made a piece of art that had the words Incest Survivor on it, Steven was embarrassed and said asked if it “was appropriate ” and didn’t want me to display it. When a man who had been coming to AW turned out to be on the sex a offender list for molesting a little girl Steven refused to do anything about it.
He did agree to set up public meetings at a church so the community could talk it over and decide what to do, how to set up rules to keep out predators. I took off work so that I wouldn’t have to be at the center at the same time this pedophile was hanging out there. The first meeting went well. There was a large group of longtime AW members and we had a facilitator who helped up draw up ground rules. One of the rules was that a stone would be passed and only the person holding could speak.
At the second meeting, when the stone came to me I began to talk about how the former director had been using his position at AW to groom and have sex with male mental patients who came to the center for support and assistance. One of the male board members, Michael Sabourin, jumped out his chair and started yelling that I had no right to talk about the director in a public meeting. Apparently, this was a big secret that only official board members were allowed to discuss behind closed doors. I wish he had had the courtesy to give me his opinion privately, before the meeting, instead of attempting to shame and silence me in front of the entire community.
But, I was committed to the peer thing, I believed in peer support and I showed back up at work the next day, even though there was still no predator policy. As luck would have it, when I arrived at work ANOTHER AW denizen was there who had just been written up in the paper for sexually abusing a 13 year old girl. Steven refused to make him leave.
I finally got it at this point and that was the end of my career as a peer worker.
A predator policy was never set at AW. If you are a man who likes to rape mentally ill women please go to Another Way because no-one will intervene. You will be welcomed with open arms, fed, encouraged, supported, given an apartment, given a job.
In retrospect, as I read the journal from that time in 1997 I understand why Steven Morgan and Michael Sabourin hated me so much and would not deal with the former director who was a predator and would not cooperate with me about the sex education and intimate violence awareness and in banning men on the sex offender list. It’s because the men at Another Way told them stories about my having sex with some men who came to AW. And all they could see when they looked at me was my smelly, red, wet wrinkled pussy.
In 2010 I took a crayon and wrote on the front door of Another Way these words:
RAPIST SUPPORT GROUP
I was absolutely right on.