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A therapeutic relationship is a real relationship that requires thoughtful consideration.

Mental health is finally being taken more seriously. Around 42.5 million Americans have a mental illness, and LGBTQ+ people are 3 times more likely to experience a mental illness, such as depression or general anxiety disorder. With mental illness being such a prominent issue in the QTPOC community, many people are turning to therapists for support through depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, and other mental disorders. Going to therapy can be a rewarding, fulfilling experience whether you have been diagnosed with a mental illness or not. Actually looking for and choosing a therapist can be anxiety inducing. A therapeutic relationship is a real relationship that requires thoughtful consideration. After all, you will be revealing intimate details about your life with this person. There are several factors to consider, and it’s completely normal to speak with a few therapists before you find your right fit. And as you grow and go through different stages in life, you might need a new therapist to help you reach new life goals. If you’re just starting out on the journey of finding a therapist, use this list as a guide for things to consider and questions to ask yourself.
Related: 8 MENTAL HEALTH AND SELF CARE RESOURCES FOR QTPOC

Language is malleable, yes—but we cannot allow social justice language, particularly the type of language specifically invented to empower victims of abuse, to work against us, to re-silence us, again and again. 

[TW- Mention of sexual assault]

A couple of weeks ago, when the #MeToo campaign was making its way across the social media landscape, I finally decided to out my rapist publicly. We had been friends for many years, romantically involved off and on—and then, about a year ago, I cut off contact with him completely. It wasn’t just one time that it happened, the rape. It was multiple times. But the most egregious and horrifying one, the one that eventually lead me to cut off contact with him completely, had stayed lodged within me like a splinter, unprocessed, unmoving.

Few people in our circles knew what had actually happened between us. Although I had admitted to being sexually assaulted on multiple occasions, I never stated his name out loud, much less publicly. It felt too vulnerable, and I didn’t feel ready for the onslaught of emotions that would inevitably accompany such an outing. But the #MeToo campaign struck a nerve. As woman after woman on my feed posted #MeToo, my only thought was: why are we the ones who have to make ourselves vulnerable, again, while our rapists sit there cloaked in silence—in the complacent comfort of non-confrontation?

I understand that there can be catharsis, even a feeling of solidarity, in seeing huge numbers of women in your community speak up publicly about the fact that they were sexually assaulted. But it didn’t feel like enough for me. If I was going to admit that I was raped in a public forum, I thought, folks better be damn sure I’m also going to name the person who raped me. If I have to make myself uncomfortable, then folks better be damn sure I’m going to make him uncomfortable too. I wasn’t about to re-victimize myself in the process of outing my oppressor.

My worry was that the #MeToo campaign was starting to render the idea of rape into something abstract—one of those things “every woman has experienced,” while, in the meantime, the actual, concrete people that raped them remain safely anonymous.   

https://twitter.com/sndrsng/status/920097942010200064

Part of the reason why I was so intent on outing him was that I knew other women had already reported him as a rapist to powerful institutions—such as Yale University, where he is currently a graduate student—only to have their requests ignored and silenced. Granted, Yale (along with, let’s face it, most institutions of higher learning) has a terrible track record of bringing justice to victims of sexual assault. But to see it happen so close to home just enraged me further. No institution would ever hold my rapist accountable—I knew this, and I know it now.

Given that, it seemed to me that the only real form of accountability available to me—to us—was social accountability. I needed my community to know what he had done—to me, and to many, many other women. The consequences of social outing for a rapist can be numerous, but here are some of the outcomes I hoped for in outing him publicly: first, mutual friends severing their ties with him; second, a sense of shock for my community—particularly my male friends who had been close friends with him for many years—that yes, they too, had been complicit. They, too, had been harboring and protecting rapists in their close friendships for many years without thinking twice about what that looked like to me and the numerous other women he had raped.

Related: HOW OUR USE OF LANGUAGE DEHUMANIZES & DEMONIZES MENTAL ILLNESS

Week after week, the Outlander audience, almost half of which are middle-aged white women, rooted for Claire as they decided to condemn a strong woman in reality.

For three years, Diane Gabaldon’s world of Outlander has taken over the Starz fall lineup. The historical romance is about a WWII nurse who travels back in time to the era of the Scottish Highlander, doing so while vacationing in Scotland with her husband. The woman, Claire (played by Caitriona Balfe) meets one of the highlanders named Jamie (Sam Heughan) and a romance ensues. Their relationship then jumps between different timelines and is what dominates the show and engrosses millions of viewers each week. During those three years of the show’s existence, the show’s audience rooted for the traits of strength and independence in the lead character Claire, but then attacked those same traits when they appeared in a woman who sought the highest office the US. That woman was Hillary Clinton during the 2016 election. I am a fan of the show, and one of 2.5 million women who Business Insider claims watched during the 2015 premiere season. The show is a favorite escape for women, with 64 percent more female viewers than male. The audience that formed for the show became middle-aged women. Middle-aged white women. They were almost half the female viewership that first season. The showrunners were watching and planning accordingly. They even had a theory as to why the audience was largely older adult women. According to Jethro Nededog of Business Insider, the reason for the female-centric audience is feminine touch throughout the show’s production. He quoted a person close to production who mentioned that the women see in Claire, “what a strong woman looks like, how a strong woman sounds and that women at any age can have full lives.” Claire continued to be this character through the next season.
Related: ROSE MCGOWAN’S WHITE FEMINISM IS ROOTED IN A LONG HISTORY OF BECKERY

Shackling isn’t about safety. It’s about punishing those deemed unfit and undesirable for exercising the choice to become mothers.

To be a woman in this society is to be vulnerable physically, financially, and politically. 33 percent of women have been the victim of some form of physical violence by an intimate partner. Women, on average, earn less than men in nearly every single occupation for which there is sufficient earnings data for both men and women to calculate an earnings ratio. Hundreds of thousands of women are positioned to lose access to birth control without a copayment after the Trump administration rolled back an Obamacare regulation that required employers to provide birth control in their health insurance plans. Additionally, women in jails are the fastest growing incarcerated population in the United States. This rapid growth is linked to trauma, sexual violence, and mental health issues. Of the over 200,000 women in jail or prison, around 6 percent are pregnant while incarcerated. Only 22 states and the District of Columbia have laws against shackling pregnant incarcerated women, but this inhumane practice still takes place in these states because of nonspecific language about shackling pregnant women during transportation to medical facilities and first, second, and third trimesters. Essentially, pregnant women are being illegally restrained, and it’s difficult and often dangerous for these women to speak up for themselves. Often times, these women have already grown accustomed to maltreatment and abuse of power from prison employees.
Related: NEW BILL HOPES TO END THE HORRORS SUFFERED BY INCARCERATED WOMEN

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