On Friday, May 27th, ABC featured a startling program about Bill Cosby that exposed his long history of drugging and raping dozens of young women. Earlier this Spring, Brock Turner, a student at Stanford University, in Palo Alto California, raped a nearly unconscious woman. He was sentenced to a slap on the wrist by a judge who apparently did not want to harm his athletic career. Brock's father stated that the minor sentence was too much "just for getting 20 minutes of action".
What do these sexual abuse incidents tell us? Plenty. In nearly 50 years of full time practice as a clinical psychologist, I have witnessed many damaged and destroyed, suicidal women and several equally damaged men who were unable to get relief from their anger, self loathing and self destructive behaviors that resulted from " keeping the secret". All perpetrators know that rape is a felony and punishable by imprisonment. To protect themselves from incarceration, they threaten their victim with horrendous consequences if they tell anyone.
Nearly all abuse victims suffer immensely from being raped and would be better off if they could confide in someone. Seldom, however, are victims able to think about their horror, or talk about it. It is common to internalize the anger, hate, shame and place the blame on themselves. Their body become a sealed container for their suffering. We now know this process as PSTD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). Shockingly, our college campuses appear to becoming similar to war zones for co -- eds. There have been reports indicating that 40 percent of the women at Stanford University experienced rape. And, this is occurring at a University where the students are among the brightest and most talented in our country. Nearly half the women graduate with horrors rather than honors. The Brock Turner rape "sentencing" revealed serious flaws and biases in our judicial system. Namely, that affluence can and does, influence the outcome of heinous sexual crimes.
Universities are not the only institutions where such atrocities occur, some treatment hospitals, established specifically to help the challenged and traumatized have been investigated for patient abuse.
Approximately 45 years ago, I held three administrative positions in an adolescent treatment hospital in Faribault Minnesota. The Founder and Chief Psychiatrist asked me to work with Paul, a recently admitted 14 year old. It was easy to see that he was different from the other patients because he was stable, sensitive, super bright, alert, and studious. Most importantly, he was the only patient in the entire hospital who did not need medications. This caught my attention because all of the other patients were diagnosed with adolescent psychosis and required medication!
Nearly 40 years later I learned that Paul's affluent parents started placing him in residential hospitals at the age of five years old. Apparently, they were not interested in being parents to their only son and did not seem to care he was being mercilessly abused (physical and sexual). In the 1960's and 1970's, it was socially acceptable for wealthy parents to rid themselves of unwanted children by placing them in such hospitals. Paul was placed at the adolescent hospital in Minnesota when he was 14. The abuse and corruption that later occurred at this Psychiatric hospital went as far as "renting" adolescent boys and girls to men in the community for sexual purposes.
In the late 1980's the psychiatric hospital was closed by the state. The founding Psychiatrist lost his medical license, and is now deceased. One "positive" result of this horrendous story is that Paul is currently finishing an informative and somewhat unbelievable screenplay called "The Hurting". The screenplay is an expose about what happened to him, and likely continues to occur in some hospitals and treatment facilities.
I am encouraged that the General Public is becoming interested in the realities of sexual trauma that is a devastating epidemic. It does far more damage to the victims than ever imagined. The Academy Award winning movie "Spotlight" is a film that exposed the sexual abuse of alter boys in the Catholic Church. "The Hurting" may open the door to what occurs in some fully accredited and licensed facilities whose medically defined purpose is to help patients heal and adjust more favorably to life. Here is a demo trailer of "The