Women have long been unduly oppressed by psychiatry. This oppression is still taking place. In the military, according to a CNN report, Rape victims say military labels them ‘crazy’, women are being dishonorably discharged from the armed forces for reporting rape and sexual assault.
CNN has interviewed women in all branches of the armed forces, including the Coast Guard, who tell stories that follow a similar pattern — a sexual assault, a command dismissive of the allegations and a psychiatric discharge.
Obviously the prospect of being kicked out of the service for reporting a sexual offense, and receiving a psychiatric label to boot, would make many women leery of making any such report.
Despite the Defense Department’s “zero tolerance” policy, there were 3,191 military sexual assaults reported in 2011. Given that most sexual assaults are not reported, the Pentagon estimates the actual number was probably closer to 19,000.
The psychiatric excuse used for discharging most of these women has been that of having a personality disorder label. An FOIA request found that 31,000 service members were released from service on grounds of having a personality disorder label between 2001 and 2010. The personality disorder label is being used disproportionably on women in all branches of the military.
In the military’s eyes, a personality disorder diagnosis is a pre-existing condition and does not constitute a service-related disability. That means sexual assault victims with personality disorder discharges don’t receive benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs to help with their trauma. They can still apply for benefits, but it’s considered an uphill battle.
This circumstance, of course, creates undue hardship for the discharged service member forced to go without benefits and expected to pay penalties on a term of duty uncompleted.
I would imagine that a large number of them get labeled borderline as borderline personality disorder is a diagnosis often used by psychiatrists on people who are seen as disagreeable or difficult.
Adjustment disorder is was another disorder label used to get rid of soldiers who report rapes and sexual assault. Adjustment disorder is described as an excessive response to stressful circumstances.
Representative Jackie Spierer of California has introduced legislature that would take sexual assault cases out of the chain of command, under the auspices of higher ups, and that would assign them to a separate autonomous office at the Pentagon. This would represent a definite improvement as the commanders in charge are often the reason these reports are not being taken seriously.
A former Coast Guard member, Panayiota Bertzikis, runs a website for survivors of such attacks, mydutytospeak.com, and she also runs The Military Rape Crisis Center . She and other ex-soldiers are suing the Defense Department for damages owing to a culture that permits such assaults to occur.