Holy Hormones Journal: I became aware of this post on Dr. David Healy’s site and I could not believe what I was reading. Blogger, Laurie Oakley wrote a five-part series on “Pharmaceutical Rape” on pychiatrist, psychopharmacologist, scientist, and author, David Healy’s site.
I have been thinking a lot about rape lately. We generally think of rape as a physical act of violence – being coerced or forced into the act of sex without our consent. Now, I am thinking about it in a larger context. Rape occurs anytime we are coerced into any act without our consent.
Have you ever been raped over the phone? I do not mean in a sexual conversation – I mean when someone calls you and then proceeds to rant uncontrollably – without your consent – and many times not asking how you are – or is this a good time to talk – or even asking can I share what is on my mind? Phone rape. Sometimes I just put the phone down and walk away – only to come back and make the appropriate comment like “uh, huh.” But often times I am just shattered and hold the phone at arm’s length – or even lessen the level to where the speaker is barely audible.
Or how about when you are out in a social gathering? all of a sudden someone is in your face and you are being verbally violated – without consent. Let’s dub that Social Rape.
I think mental/emotional rape just like mental/emotional abuse is as damaging and traumatizing in many ways as the act itself.
I am concerned – it seems that more and more people are acting out this way. Not normal – and a sign of severe hormone imbalance – lack of adequate nutrition to the brain – to be able to process information or an experience without becoming emotionally charged. And of course, we have to throw in heavy metal toxicity – xenoestrogens, chemicals, preservatives. It;’s all building up and we are becoming toxic. Our emotions are becoming toxic. Our environment is toxic.
But pharmaceutical rape? Isn’t this what is being done to women? Uneducated about our bodies – and raped with unnecessary drugs and procedures – without informed consent. But as you read Laurie’s excellent blog – you will see that she covers the wide-spread and routine rape experienced by the body collective.
In other word’s we’ve all been fucked.
PHARMACEUTICAL RAPE is a relatively new phenomenon. It is a culturally invisible harm outside the domains of public, medical, and political discourse. However this type of violation is commonplace and stories of these harms are especially visible on internet forums. This new definition is meant to challenge the current, widely accepted societal assumptions about pharmaceutical harms, their prevalence, causes and consequences. It provides an alternative framework for defining and interpreting serious adverse events that are rooted in corporate pharmaceutical behavior. Through this definition it is hoped that pharmaceutical violence will begin to be publicly recognized as the serious public health problem.
Pharmaceutical rape stems from the collective decisions of powerful individuals within an industry-government-medical trade alliance. It is an offense that results in an invasive violation of bodily autonomy for the victim. A pharmaceutical product is introduced into one’s body that causes harm — something one did not consent to — something that one had a legal right to more information about so that a different choice could have been made. Most often, it involves trusting and having that trust violated. ~Laurie Oakley
Pharmaceutical Rape: Discrimination
Pharmaceutical violence is a social injustice that can intersect with every other type of oppression and form of discrimination. Dehumanizing in its own right, pharmaceutical rape (and the cultural/medical denial of it) compounds the distress already experienced by persons in socially marginalized groups as well as in individuals who are dependent, frail, or otherwise in their most vulnerable states. Many (but not all) who experience other forms of institutionalized oppression turn to healthcare systems where they are too often subject to retraumatization and further stigmatization.
- Women – Pharmaceutical harms could be considered a structural form of violence against women alongside domestic violence and sexual assault. Women are specifically targeted with advertising for SSRI anti-depressants marketed as several different medications (that are not outwardly identified as SSRI’s) for common issues such as premenstrual discomfort and hot flashes. Certain birth control products, hormone replacement therapy drugs, medications to prevent osteoporosis, and other medications are encouraged for widespread, routine use while the FDA’s post-marketing surveillance system (MedWatch) is failing. Risks of harm are therefore downplayed and patient reports of harms are often met with skepticism. The life-injuries resulting from cavalier prescribing practices, and especially the systemic denial and trivialization of harms, have a deleterious effect on women, and reinforce the overall oppression of women in society.
- Pregnant Women (and the unborn) – Anti-depressant use in pregnancy is known to double the risk for miscarriage and to cause birth abnormalities. These risks are downplayed and anti-depressants are routinely prescribed to pregnant women. Narcotics are also commonly prescribed to women for pregnancy-related back pain leading to neonatal complications for newborns. Where adverse-effects of medications are haphazardly overlooked while prescribing is encouraged, gross physical violation is occurring. Industry failure to disclose known drug dangers affecting the unborn child can be considered a covert attack against the bodies of women and children for the purposes of monetary gratification.
- Children – The widespread and routine, off-label prescribing of psychiatric medications to children when no tests have been performed in this population results in pharmaceutical injury that is difficult to quantify. While some harms are obvious, the full effects of these drugs on large numbers of children in their crucial stages of development are unknown. In 2009, approximately 1% of children in the general population in the U.S. were prescribed psychotrophic medicines for conditions like attention deficit disorder and depression; 2% of children in families receiving Medicaid were prescribed these drugs, compared to an estimated 12 to 13% of children in the foster care system who are medicated with powerful antipsychotics and other mind-altering medicines. Since 2009, these numbers have only continued to rise. This structured pattern of chemically treating the emotions of children in lieu of alternatives (such as seeking to understand the root of behavior and supporting children non-pharmaceutically), constitutes a form of child abuse that is a moral injury to individuals, their families, as well as to whole societies. A critical mind will also note that all children are being targeted with an ever growing list of vaccination requirements that are developed by and financially lucrative for the industry-government-medical trade alliance that is routinely failing to warn the public and patients about known, significant risks.
- Individuals with Disability – Pharmaceutical violation against the disability population is common as the medicalization of disability has led to increased prescribing in this subset. Societal structures and attitudes toward disability impose daunting barriers that these individuals struggle against daily. Pharmaceutical harms add to the struggle and impair one’s ability to address these and other institutionalized oppressions. Those with developmental disability in particular are subject to the systemic, gross overprescribing of psychiatric and other drugs that can tragically end one’s quality of life and in many cases lead to an early death.