Letter to the Editor: Reader responds to Doctor Love
Sunday, October 11th, 2015
Dear SP Sun Team,
I usually read the Doctor Love column with enjoyment. There’s often a splash of humor, some honest talk, and, most importantly, a message of empowerment to the women who write in: encouraging them to get out of broken relationships, value their own happiness, and take the high road.
And so I was shocked to read the response in the October 1, 2015 edition of The Sun, in which a victim of child abuse (named Traumatized) wrote in seeking advice on raising her own children. Dr. Love recommended she call her abuser and thank him for the “good job he did”. He recommended that instead of the counseling she desired, but could not afford, that she would have to “do it herself” and use the bible. He ended by suggesting she keep her own children “locked up at home” so that they don’t become “mischievous brat(s)”.
It was misogynist victim-shaming at its very worst. We know that depression, PTSD, anxiety disorders, etc. are real medical conditions – we cannot continue to tell people to try harder, do it yourself, and quit complaining. We know that women and children are more likely to be the victims of rape, abuse, trafficking, and inequality – we cannot tell them to thank their abusers. These messages aren’t just read by the individuals who write in to the paper. They’re read by the community; by women who may be struggling with their own past or present abuse, by young parents who are figuring out what it means to be a good parent, and by the rest of us; who absorb it into the way we think about abuse, trauma, child rearing, and how we respond to people who come to us for help.
I lost my brother to suicide when he was 25 years old. My MIT graduate, political analyst, triathlete, baby brother. I wish more people had told him “Hey, your feelings are real, and I’m sorry. Here’s a phone number you can call.” instead of telling him to buck up and tuck a bible verse in his wallet.
The San Pedro Sun can do better. We can all do better.
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