It’s been less than 24 hours since I wrote about my PTSD and my support for Melody. In my inbox there are 3 letters.
The first? A charming young man who insists that I am lying about my PTSD. Amusing, since no one starts the dialogue with veterans by demanding that they demonstrate their service history and explicit information about their diagnosis. Also? Rather puzzling since I have repeatedly stated that I have lived in the Middle East and even demonstrated knowledge about geography and events that could only have occurred had I been there. The very irony of this is not lost on me. Now the anti-Melody brigade will call this “honest criticism”. If I did the same to one of the veterans who are anti-Melody, I would be told that I was bang out of line.
The Second? A charming young man who didn’t read my post and who claims you cannot get PTSD from broken dolls, dead cats or a dental visit. I repeat, PTSD often passes unnoticed and silent until it manifests itself over a trigger incident. That is when you know something is awry.
And the amusing thing is I have not played the victim card at all. At no point have I demanded special treatment for my PTSD. I don’t even mind if you have balloons at your Birthday party. What I do mind is people chasing me with one and forcing me to deal with a popped balloon.
The last one? A video link
My response? You do realise my Internet is powered by a hamster right? It didn’t load and subject me to tinny balloons being popped on a point and shoot video. It just showed me the title and I promptly shut it down. Yawn, you missed.
Oh imagine if I did see it. Imagine if I had no capacity to deal with such a trigger and instead took myself off to bed to curl up in an anxious and depressed state to relive past trauma in my dreams. Imagine the effect it would have on my work. Of all those patients who would be subject to inferior care because I couldn’t treat to the best of my abilities. Imagine the cost to the charity to send me back home because I was no longer helping. Why, if you did that you would be some sort of terrible human being whose only role in life is providing carbon dioxide for the plants and as an example of a douchebag that I can show my children. Your only role in life is to serve as a warning to others. They will have this man’s picture up in pubs with a sign “What a dick”.
It’s a good thing I didn’t see that video. I have saved this man from a lifetime of being a tosser.
And here is the thing? Harassment doesn’t exist right? See this isn’t threatening to most of my readers. It isn’t dangerous. But it is to me. This is the trigger to my bomb.
Now I bet some anti-Melody champion will stand up and say “this fine fellow does not represent us! We are reputable people, not douchebags”. But then is this not evidence that dickery and harassment exists?
So I figured I was doing something right here.
And there is more! Why! It’s professional Woman Hater Dean Esmay and Thunderfoot have combined forces!
Until today, we’ve never published anything on Melody Hensley. Although we happen to know at least one gay MRA (there are a number of those, you know) who she called a stalker just for questioning her and suggesting she and other feminists were hijacking of gay men’s experiences and co-opting their issues. In any case, we’ve never so much as spoken to Thunderf00t, let alone joined forces with him.
I bet Thunderfoot will say that he isn’t an MRA. He just worries that talking about women’s issues will detract from the dialogue about how much we don’t believe in a god.
Who knows? Thunderf00t may not even like us. Maybe one day he or The Amazing Atheist or some other person in the “skeptic community” who isn’t completely nuts will make a video about why we suck. If it’s sane and rational, we’ll try to accept the criticism. If we think it’s wrong somewhere, we’ll say what we think is wrong with it. The thing is, unlike feminists, we do not demand that people identify with our cause or movement in order to support them or their work when it’s rational and sane and based on documentable fact. Hell, we don’t always even agree with each other, let alone expect everyone else to.
Dean Esmay insisted that he stands by the notion that women in Afghanistan and India have it better than men because fuck the UN and the WHO and MSF and the IRC. The manosphere knows more! His MRAs tried to call me privileged due to caste (I am half caste and untouchable. My parents got lucky and leveraged an education into a ticket abroad through service. I paid the price in Kuwait as did they). Then he derided my education. Because Dean Esmay does so much for men by waggling his fist online.
I heard the word used against me by MRA before. Ah yes. Dean Esmay is a “slacktivist”.
Boy is it nice to sit on the high horse for once.
So, subscribe to Thunderf00t, who isn’t “one of us” and doesn’t have to be to be in order to be worth watching. In addition to making really awesome science videos, has taken up the cudgels to identify and call out hateful pseudoscientific ideology in what is loosely known as the “skeptic community.” Identifying people who are toxic to free inquiry by malicious false claims of harassment, innuendo, quote-mining, whispering campaigns, and playing damsel-in-distress is a noble endeavor. It’s good to see anyone sane making note of it.
Oh dear. Mr. Esmay, you must know that some of us possess the scientific cudgel ourself. It’s been a while so let’s break out what’s particularly wrong with Thunderfoot’s video.
You don’t have to watch it. Look, I have a rule. I don’t like it when people steal my work and not link to my original post. So I won’t do the same to others even if I despise their arguments.
1. Melody is compared to God Hates Fags
Because Melody is actively sat outside the funerals of soldiers or is sitting outside hospitals for veterans screaming about how their PTSD is not “real”. No wait, the people who are suggesting “PTSD isn’t Real” are people like Thunderfoot.
A small educational break. PTSD is found frequently in soldiers who experience combat. It is also found in anyone who experiences a traumatic incident or a series of them. Not JUST soldiers.
When establishing the diagnosis of PTSD it is important to bear in mind that people with this disorder find talking about the traumatic experience very upsetting. They may find it hard to disclose the exact nature of the event and the associated re-experiencing symptoms and feelings, In children this is complicated by the lack of understanding of what is being asked or being experienced.
Patients may initially not be able to talk about the most distressing aspects of their experience. This may particularly be the case for people who experienced the trauma many years ago or have a delayed onset of their symptoms.
The ICD–10 diagnosis of PTSD requires that the patient, first, has been exposed to a traumatic event, and second, suffers from distressing re-experiencing symptoms. Patients will usually also show avoidance of reminders of the event, and some symptoms of hyperarousal and/or emotional numbing. The ICD–10 research diagnostic criteria for PTSD are as follows
(A) The patient must have been exposed to a stressful event or situation (either short or longlasting) of exceptionally threatening or catastrophic nature, which would be likely to cause pervasive distress in almost anyone. The key stress here is pervasive distress. While the individual harassment of Melody is not sufficient, the sum total can cause pervasive distress particularly considering not every anti-Melody person is making pithy and poignant statements under the restriction of Twitter. This is not diagnostic but people involved in psychiatry widely agree that bullying is a stressful event even if it is not life threatening or physical and can lead to PTSD. This includes cyberbullying particularly via social media since social media is inherently personal.
(B) There must be persistent remembering or ‘reliving’ of the stressor in intrusive ‘flashbacks’, vivid memories, or recurring dreams, or in experiencing distress when exposed to circumstances resembling or associated with the stressor.
(C) The patient must exhibit an actual or preferred avoidance of circumstances resembling or associated with the stressor, which was not present before exposure to the stressor.
(D) Either of the following must be present:
(1) inability to recall, either partially or completely, some important aspects of the period of exposure to the stressor
(2) persistent symptoms of increased psychological sensitivity and arousal (not present before exposure to the stressor), shown by any two of the following:
(a) difficulty in falling or staying asleep
(b) irritability or outbursts of anger
(c) difficulty in concentrating
(e) exaggerated startle response.
(E) Criteria B, C, and D must all be met within 6 months of the stressful event or the end of a
period of stress. (For some purposes, onset delayed more than by 6 months may be
included, but this should be clearly specified.)
The DSM–IV diagnosis of PTSD is stricter, in that it puts more emphasis on avoidance and emotional numbing symptoms. It requires a particular combination of symptoms (at least one reexperiencing symptom, three symptoms of avoidance and emotional numbing, and two hyperarousal symptoms). In addition, DSM–IV requires that the symptoms cause significant
distress or interference with social or occupational functioning. Several studies have found that trauma survivors who experience most, but not all, DSM–IV symptoms of PTSD show significant distress and need treatment (e.g. Blanchard et al, 2003b).
In contrast to the ICD–10 definition, a DSM–IV diagnosis of PTSD further requires that the symptoms have persisted for at least 1 month. In the first month after trauma, trauma survivors may be diagnosed as having acute stress disorder according to DSM–IV, which is characterised by symptoms of PTSD and dissociative symptoms such as depersonalisation, derealisation and emotional numbing. The ICD–10 diagnosis does not require a minimum duration.
By contrast, Thunderfoot goes for the “Soldiers get PTSD dialogue” instead.
Note, this is not a diagnostic tool for Internet Diagnosis. This is merely the current ideas about the diagnosis of PTSD. To diagnose someone online is quackery. It is not possible to determine someone’s healthcare issues online unless you are a radiologist involved in telediagnosis. And this is not that!
War Never Changes
The entire point of this is to do something that has plagued civilian PTSD victims and indeed soldiers who were victims of PTSD. Initially, the Bomb Happy and Shell Shock victims were products of artillery bombardments causing PTSD. Soldiers who were injured by bullets or just by the witnessing of trauma were considered to be faking it or “just sad”.
Did you know that in WW2 PTSD was blamed on mothers who failed to wean their sons from the teat? That PTSD soldiers were denied letters from home? Of course you did Thunderfoot, being an expert on PTSD. Having PTSD was initially a sign of weak character, of a lack of moral fibre. There was a distinct lack of willingness to listen to experienced Army doctors who survived WW I who were exempted from the dialogue. Yes, the actual experts on Combat Stress and Shell Shock were not consulted. Many of the decisions on these were made by people who had no medical training what so ever.
Men who were charging head first into machine guns and artillery shells were being told by idiots who never were on the lines that they weren’t manly. People like Thunderfoot.
Now there is an entire problem with PTSD with regards to the “Blighty One”. An injury sufficient to get you a doctor’s note that excused you from further soldiering. Some people lost their legs or their arms and their eyes and went home disabled. Their “PTSD” was attributed to the shock of becoming useless. They were pitied and cared for as heroes who gave their health for freedom. Then there were others. One such man was Spike Milligan. Another such man was Peter Sellers. Minor injuries gave them PTSD. They were told that their injuries were insufficiently severe to be treated with such respect. They were treated as cowards. They were NOT heroes.
We changed how we treat and understand combat fatigue. Thunderfoot however utilises war to do the same thing as those generals and leaders in the past. He declared himself the gatekeepr of trauma.
4. PTSD from Twitter
No, Melody has not got PTSD from Twitter. That’s idiotic. Melody has PTSD from bullying and harassment. You must be goddamn obtuse to keep the dialogue towards Twitter. That’s like suggesting that a a person got raped while jogging so they got their PTSD from jogging. People would consider you mad!
You took the wrong thing from her statement. It’s the harassment, not the damn twitter. She got it from tweets. Had we lived in the world where people still sent threatening physical letters? We would be claiming that the Royal Mail, Stamps and Calligraphy gave her PTSD.
Thunderfoot’s idiocy is that he compares harassment online to complaints about cookies fitting into cups or running out of shampoo and conditioner at the same time. Then why the fuck is he after Melody, she’s just one lady claiming that online harassment is terrible. Why isn’t he after GLAAD or Stonewall or It Gets Better? How many GLBT children are at risk of depression due to online harassment. Well good news! Thunderfoot thinks those kids are at risk due to Twitter and Facebook rather than harassment that comes from it.
This simply trivialises PTSD and Cyber Bullying and the victims of it.
5. But People Are Asking Genuine Questions
PTSD sufferers are told not to compare their trigger events. PTSD has always been about your response to the stimulus rather than the severity of Stimulus. The original dialogue of PTSD was often to deny victims of less severe or permanent trauma the diagnosis. A lot of civilian PTSD sufferers were told that they could not have PTSD even when their injuries or trauma exceeded that of soldiers. Hell, many soldiers who were injured in non-combat roles were left to dry if they had PTSD.
Do not compare PTSD triggers as the cause of PTSD. It is a fruitless endeavour where you have to answer the question “Which is more traumatic, a car accident or rape or being shot”. It is unproductive, it helps no one.
And the genuine questions are from people who are trying to push the dialogue that Melody’s PTSD cannot be real because the cause is not as bad as their PTSD.
6. BUT SHE WANTS TO RUIN THE LIVES OF VETERANS!
Being in the armed services does not give you the right to be a dick at will.
And Thunderfoot is idiotically wrong on this. There are groups with higher levels of PTSD than combat veterans. Such as refugees (180 to 210 days of combat postings versus living in a war zone). Rape victims are another example. Since not all Combat Veterans experience trauma but 100% of Rape victims have.
Do you think Thunderfoot is sympathetic to people with PTSD? Or is he just utilising the opportunity to waggle his Atheist Credentials?
And sure there is no coordinated campaign. It’s just the Slymepit, the anti-Melody groups on Twitter, MRA and even Rock Beyond Belief got in on this. I am sure there would be a reddit group discussing this but I hadn’t checked. It’s just people who as a group have decided to harass her. There is no coordination. They aren’t suggesting a hammer and anvil attack upon her. It’s just people egging each other on to greater and greater acts of triggering behaviour while gleefully patting themselves on the back with the excuse that they are standing up for Veterans.
To the Veterans reading this?
Think of your trauma and that of others. Now think if someone decides that your trauma isn’t adequate enough. That another person endured what you did without getting PTSD. Think of being denigrated because of that. That is what Thunderfoot and AVfM are both pushing. They just set the bar at cyber-bullying because it is a major part of the anti-feminist modus operandi.
7. She’s Taking Their Jobs!
If a Veteran were to post racist abuse would Thunderfoot feel the need to defend their careers?
And are we seriously suggesting the Army should be telling (remember History) and encouraging its veterans to tell civilians that their traumas are not sufficient to trigger PTSD? And if it is then they are all fainting nancies who need to shut up while the real men (Like Thunderfoot) do all the talking.
In clear English.
She complained to their Commanding Officer that their soldier was engaging in harassment of civilians. I saw some of the posts, they were harassment. They effectively boil down to “How Dare You Say You Have PTSD, only Soldiers Get PTSD”. A lot of words such as Bitch and Cunt were used. A lot of wishful thinking about a plethora of horrible things that should befall Melody.
Veterans don’t get a free “Get Out of Being a Douche” card.
8. You are Self Centred and Despicable Beyond Words.
While Thunderfoot is shining paragon of selfless service to his fellow man, so holy that his feet do not touch the ground lest they sully themselves.
No. No wait. Thunderfoot made a patronising and highly idiotic video where he compared his scaring of a mountain lion to advice about rape to Indian women. In it he was so self centred that he compared the relatively rare event of a mountain lion attack to the relatively common event of Rape. If we assume the same rape rates as Sweden which is widely considered to be one of the best places to be a woman then India would have a population of 150 million victims of rape. As it is? That number probably is a lot lot higher.
If we are to look at despicable behaviour? This is the key. Thunderfoot weighed in on an issue he had no idea about to tell women and men who were simply repeating excuses being made by idiots why they were wrong. Thunderfoot in effect came down against the dialogue in India which is trying to tell young boys what is rape because in many cases the rapists say that what they did didn’t constitute rape and they are protected by people who think the same way. Thunderfoot was supporting the Status Quo in a country where nearly every young girl has an incident in her life where she was harassed. Where every female traveller has a story about harassment.
And Thunderfoot defended those men who said those things. And what about the people promoting him? Dean Esmay’s blog pushed the radical notion that Indian Women have it better than Indian Men universally. One of the MRA even had the idiocy to say that I was oppressing Dalits (despite being one myself) by encouraging uplift of women because Indian Dalit women have it better than men because Dalit women don’t work.
If Melody is self centred because she’s denying Veterans jobs, then what the fuck must we call Thunderfoot and Dean Esmay who were spreading idiotic statements that opposed the equality of women in a country with an obviously patriarchal society where girls are still murdered, raped and mutilated. What on earth must we call Dean Esmay who gave Indian Rape apologists a platform? What on earth must we say about him and his supports for arguments that women in Afghanistan have it better than men?
I propose we invent a new word to describe this level of terrible.
9. You Don’t Get Criticism if You are A Feminist
Really? I wrote about Gail Simone’s Women in Fridges and the criticism involving threats there. Anita Sarkeesian had the audacity to claim that there are sexist tropes in story telling that we should look at and got rape threats for her troubles. Thunderfoot happily ignores the very real rape threats and death threats that Anita Sarkeesian had to endure while he made frankly shallow videos about games himself. Any criticism you get, you deserve?
Sure, I deserved to have that balloon video. That’s not harassment. How can a popping balloon cause PTSD? That’s just harmless! Kids play with those.
10. Veterans Kept You Free! You Harpy!
We betrayed our veterans. We betrayed them hard. War is terrible but we didn’t go to war for our safety or for the safety of others. Thunderfoot is happily buying into the right wing dialogue that the War in Afghanistan and Iraq were for our safety. Especially as a Brit this is galling. We went to war over the falsified document that cost the life of the Biological Warfare expert David Kelly. It was a tapestry of lies that lead us to the war.
45 Minutes. Do you remember that? How many of your young men died for that lie? How many of us were convinced that we were under threat so we sent our men and women to fight and kill and die for that lie?
We are at our least free. I am not safer when I fly. The death of John Charles de Menezes made it impossible to run for a train or a bus. For the freedom of people like Thunderfoot, I must be a suspect.
Guantanamo Bay showed us what freedom really meant. Freedom meant torture. As did the extraordinary renditions. Oh and we were just as guilty. We stood quiet, we let those planes land here on England’s green and pleasant shores. Did that torture keep us free?
What was Afghanistan going to invade us with? Donkeys? Iraq fought a war that had us win in under a month where we were blowing stuff up for fun and since then was under sanctions. It couldn’t fight or invade anything. We made up weapons to justify a war. It’s like those WND idiots who think North Korea is capable of invading the USA by using an EMP device (a plot stripped straight from the game Homefront and Red Dawn’s remake). While I have pointed out that the North Korean army is the probably the only army that can be defeated using the Big Mac.
Do you have any idea of the cost we paid because idiots like Thunderfoot keep pushing the notion that our current batch of Veterans died and were wounded for OUR freedom? If you really care for your soldiers and your veterans? Seek peace. War is a tragedy.
Our opponents lived in caves and sheds and had 60 year old Soviet Tanks and Toyota Hilux pick up trucks. If you said it was for the Freedom of people in Afghanistan then I would agree with you. But in Iraq? Sure they are free but they are also in a highly unstable society where war hasn’t “stopped”. Let’s just say that there is nothing as uncivil as civil war. While the people no longer have to fear being tortured by the state, they now have to fear being tortured by religious extremists. In his entire reign Saddam did not kill as many Iraqis as the instability and civil war we created by our ham fisted blundering. And who did it benefit? Apart from major defence contracts and post war development contracts? Our freedom is not on the list of things it has benefited.
You poison the memory and the sacrifices made by the very men and women you claim to defend when you repeat the lies that got them killed and wounded in the first place. And you do so just to fuck over some poor woman on the Internet.
You aren’t helping veterans, you aren’t helping PTSD sufferers and you certainly aren’t helping atheism as a movement by portraying us as arseholes who hang out with the MRA to harass someone with PTSD.
If you want to help PTSD research, then check this link out.