Thursday, March 7, 2024

From Outrage to Empowerment: My Journey to Therapist in Pursuit of Justice

With the move, I’ve been considering my business. This process included going back to basics and examining my purpose.

I realized that I haven’t shared about this before, so here goes.

When Tom and I moved from Spain to Malaysia, we agreed that he would follow the fixed career path, academia, and I would have the portable job.

I always wanted to write, so I went for it.  Between 1995 to 2015, I wrote and sold 3000 features to newspapers and magazines in 12+ countries plus 10 books with traditional publishing houses and more as an Indie.

Then, in 2012, Malaysia Womens Weekly asked me to write up a feature on rape survivors.

What I learned then is still true today, in Malaysia, the UK, Australia, Spain – actually, everywhere.

For people attacked by rapists, the initial violation is just the beginning. The ‘justice’ process is designed to torture.

Emergency care in hospitals is systematically dehumanizing. Worse, many victims report some of the receptionists, nurses and doctors making nasty victim-blaming remarks.

The police often treat victims like offenders. Female victims have their phones seized and searched, and their dating history scrutinized. Male victims often don’t even get to make a report. They are openly told to get lost.

Because of this, many victims just stop there.

The few who do press on, have to tell their story over and over to police and lawyers. This is intensely traumatizing.

Almost all cases are dumped after a few months anyway, because the courts tell victims they can’t get justice unless there are witnesses. Right, because rapists work in front of an audience.

For the 1 or 2 percent of cases that do go to court, it takes at least 2 years to be heard.  

During those years, you’re scheduled to appear but it changes at the last minute. Or someone doesn’t turn up. Also, papers are lost, staff change, and so you have to gear up and stand down over and over, and retell your story. It’s hugely stressful.

And guess what? You can’t see a counsellor! If a victim tries to heal, they are punished by the courts who then accuse them of being coached.

So back in 2012, I was raging.

As I had a degree in psychology, I went straight out and signed up for masters in counselling.  As part of that, I spent six months with AWAM, the Malaysian feminist NGO that helps victims of violence.  

When I graduated, I set up my therapy business, and that’s where I am today.

I provide a safe space for anyone who needs it.

Aside from those who have been attacked, there are many others who have trouble accessing mental health support. Doctors, lawyers, and police officers are punished from stress that comes from empathy and exhaustion; care givers are not allowed to be angry; and the LGBTQ community and atheists are also routinely targeted by haters.

I believe there is no justice. Not anywhere. As I see the system is fundamentally hostile to justice, I am super private. I don’t say who my clients are. I don’t share paperwork.  And I keep prices as low as I can, so I’m accessible.

So that’s my origin story 😊

As for the next bit of change, I've decided to start posting on Instagram as part of my marketing. I'm engaging artists now and should be online by the end of this month. You can follow me now though, in anticipation, at Talk to you soon!