In a series of tweets over the weekend Piers Morgan, a British 'journalist' and 'television personality', suggested that PTSD had become "the latest celebrity accessory", that it has "started to be flung around by a lot of celebrities". He said that "Lady Gaga & Madonna have both made ALLEGATIONS of rape many years after the event. No police complaint, no charges, no court case" and that he did not believe that "claims of rape should be necessarily accepted as fact without proper criminal investigation." This is my response.
Dear Mr Morgan,
Thank you. Thank you for being the person who verbalises what we think everyone else is thinking, but too polite to say. Thank you for telling me I wasn't raped, that it was, as I sometimes think it might have been, all in my head. The CPS didn't prosecute him, so according to you, it didn't happen.
Thank you for absolving me of that memory, which years of treatment for PTSD, whilst helping me with the PTSD, hadn't managed to remove. Oh, and also, thank you for confirming that I didn't have PTSD either, not having been in a war, I could know nothing of what PTSD is - it was all in my head. My psychiatrist was mistaken and must have made a bad diagnosis. Thank you Mr Morgan for being clear; I only 'alleged' a rape that wasn't proved, and I couldn't have had PTSD as I'm not a war veteran. Phew!
Or, because I'm not a 'celebrity' would you take back your words over the weekend, and acknowledge that perhaps I was raped, as I allege, and perhaps I did suffer from PTSD before expert psychiatric intervention helped me? I'm not Lady Gaga, and I'm not Madonna - I'm merely one of the one in six women who in this country have been raped, I'm merely one of the 85,000 women raped every year in this country, I'm merely one, with nothing to gain; would you tell me you weren't talking about me, only about celebrities?
Piers, you've done a great deal of damage; and of course you wanted to - you've proved time and time again that being famous for being a dick is more important to you than exercising any kind of compassion for your fellow human. Shame on you.
You seem to be very hung up on facts that can be proved, not experiences that are alleged. Let me share some facts with you.
I'm a false accusation statistic. Unlike 85% of victims of rape, I did go to the police and report my rape. Like 93% of those who report, my rapist wasn't convicted of his crime; in fact, like 60% of those who report, my rapist wasn't even prosecuted for his crime. Does this mean that he didn't rape me? No. But if he told anyone that he'd been questioned by the police, he made me part of the false accusation myth.
The main reason why rape victims don't report? Because they feel shame and humiliation. Which comments such as those you made this weekend will only exacerbate. Rape victims are already silenced and isolated; by a fear of judgement, by being shamed and blamed, by not wanting to face into what happened and make it 'real'; your comments this weekend exacerbated this. Shame on you.
Piers, if you really believe a rape only happens when a court has convicted, beyond reasonable doubt, when the main witness is also the complainant and this is a crime you have to prove happened at the same time as you have to prove who did it, do you also only believe that if a tree falls down in the forest, it really doesn't make a sound if no-one is around to hear it? Shame on you.
Piers, you seem to believe that it's 'convenient' to 'claim' PTSD resulting from rape. Some more facts for you. One in two women who are raped will develop PTSD. PTSD is not confined to war veterans. Some other ways to develop PTSD - one in five firefighters will develop it, one in three teenage survivors of car crashes, two out of three prisoners of war. Let me repeat myself, 50% of women who are raped will develop PTSD. Shame on you for ridiculing this.
The fact that Lady Gaga has shared that she is also suffering from PTSD as a result of her rape is an act of immense bravery and courage, which has provided a great deal of solace to those who were feeling beyond broken and fragile. Lady Gaga has PTSD and is able to still be creative, successful, and achieve. Lady Gaga standing up and saying "me too" helps a legion of women and girls all around the world feel less isolated, more hopeful, understood. Lady Gaga is an inspiration.
The fact that Madonna shared (again) that she had been raped by knifepoint was not to elicit sympathy; in the context of her Billboard speech it was merely to underscore and emphasise the extent to which the female experience of celebrity, and actually living, is so very different to the male. Madonna's speech was a warrior's speech, the battles won, and the battles still to be won. It was a speech that was saying that what you represent, Piers, belongs in the dark ages, and we shall overcome you. Is that what scared you and prompted your petulant tweets?
Piers Morgan, shame on you. I suggest that you make a New Years' resolution to only open your mouth, or tweet, or in any way verbalise, anything, if it is designed to help people feel good, to be compassionate, to be kind. If you were to do that, 2017 might be a year that you stop feeling so much for hate for yourself (which must be where this externalised vitriol comes from) and I'm sure you'd be a much happier man.
To all my sisters reading this, ignore him. Lady Gaga and Madonna are beacons of light for us to follow and draw inspiration from. Regardless of the ongoing symptoms of what we have experienced, we don't need to feel broken or fragile. We can move on and be free, we can rebuild our lives in the vision we want, we can live reconnected.
Emily Jacob is the founder of ReConnected Life, a pioneering whole body/mind/self approach to recovery after rape. You can link with her on Twitter here, and follow the Facebook page here. If you'd like to support Emily's work to offer pro bono help to those who need it, you can donate here.
If you're a survivor and would like to find a community of people who understand you, will support you, and will hold a space for you to be whatever you need to be, then please consider joining others just like you in our free Facebook Community group. It's entirely confidential, secret and safe, and details on how to get access are here.