#MeToo campaign should raise awareness for violence against ALL women

I know how much everyone loves a good scary movie, especially with Halloween right around the corner.

Mentally deranged killer (check), blood and guts galore (check), and the usual gorgeous scream queen (check) … one recipe for the perfect scary movie coming right up.

Ah life on the big screen, it’s where fiction is almost always scarier than fact.

I don’t write this in an effort to pour water on the spooky fires and scary stories of Halloween. It’s by far my favorite holiday and I adore getting to be someone else one night per year.

But if you believe there is much truth in the repeated portrayal of “psycho” killers, your stay in fantasy land is most certainly more than just an overnighter.

It’s more comfortable for the masses to live in that place where we are the fiends, the monsters under your bed. If you live in this fantasy world and believe ignorance is bliss, stop reading now.

For those of us with mental illness, reality is a far more sinister place. In the real world, we only make up about 1% of violent offenders. Again in the real world, we are 11 times more likely to be the victims of violent crime.

Thoughts vary on why we fall prey in such large numbers. My theory is that it’s much like the rest of the animal world. We are viewed as “weaker” than the rest of the herd. That’s especially true if we suffer from mental illness and we aren’t getting adequate help and medication.

Like a wounded animal lags behind its herd, our “defect” shows in the inability to carry out normal social interaction. I think predators find us more mailable and less likely to report a crime than our healthy counterparts.

Even if we do manage to report, we are most often not believed.

I’ve always been vocal when it comes to ending violence against women. I pay close attention to grassroots efforts and mainstream media coverage of the problem. I’ve even joined the ranks in rallies, demonstrations and other events to bring awareness. It’s only recently that I put two and two together and realized it’s not just a women’s issue.

It’s a mental health crisis too!

So why isn’t this much more victimized portion of population getting more lip service? I believe it’s because a “normal or sane” woman is given the benefit of the doubt when reporting a violent crime. If she says she was victimized, people believe her until given a big reason not to. If apprehended, it is up to the accused to prove their innocence.

However, mentally ill women are doubted as soon as they even allude to being victimized. Their accounts carry less weight and their observations are more scrutinized. It is no longer at the feet of an attacker to prove their innocence, that burden lies squarely at the feet of his mentally ill accuser. She must prove she is innocent. She must prove she is the victim. Sadly, even if she prevails, there will still be whispers … “She’s just crazy”.

As you come to the end of my entry, I urge you to not only lend your voice to end violence against women but also please don’t forget those lagging behind the herd. Lend your voice to mental health awareness too. Tag your #MeToo post to include us all.

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