As the activist at the Toronto Rape Crisis Centre/Multicultural Women Against Rape (TRCC/MWAR) who gets the awesome privilege of being in leadership of the annual event, Take Back the Night, my brain is already on themes for the event (TBTN is a global event which happens in many cities to protest our right to walk the streets free of violence).
I reflected on the idea of counseling in this city. As a counselor, I keep seeing women, trans people, youth and children accessing support from psychiatrists and institutions, and taking more prescribed drugs for what folks are being diagnosed with. So I thought a Take Back the Night event about the pathologizing/medicalizing of our experiences of violence would make sense. More and more, I see that survivors of sexual violence, lesbian, gay, bi, trans and queer people, poor people, young people, and so many more are being diagnosed with things like depression, schizophrenia, bipolar, divided disorder, ADHD (Attention Deficit Disorder), borderline personality, etc. Further, there are already many movements in Toronto that are making central the issue of psychiatric survivorship and the links between our bodies, our identities, psychiatric pharmaceuticals, electroshock, mental health institutions and the medicalization of our minds.
On May 6th, I went to an event/protest called Occupy Psychiatry, planned by Voices Against Psychiatric Assault and Occupy Toronto. The following is the speech I read at the event:
Hello, my name is deb singh and I am an activist and counselor at the Toronto Rape Crisis Centre/Multicultural Women Against Rape. I want to begin by saying thank you to the Coaltion Against Psychiatric Assault and Occupy Toronto for having the TRCC/MWAR speak at this event. I also want to say thank you to all those who identify with the issues presented at today’s protest, those who are living with or loving someone who has been affected by the medicalization of our minds and thanks to you for making
your experiences an activist issue through planning this event. i would also like to acknowledge that we are on Indigenous land of the Mississauga New Credit territories of the Anishnaabe peoples.(more inside…)