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Psychology Research...Unraveled

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10 Years of Torture, What's Next?

Posted on May 8, 2013 at 9:50 PM Comments comments (51)
For the last 48 hours the country has been fascinated by the story of three women and one child who were held captive as sex slaves for over 10 years in Cleveland, Ohio. The story broke on Monday night (May 6, 2013) after Amanda Berry, 27, had the courage and tenacity to escape and get help.  Gina DeJesus, 23, and Michelle Knight, 32, also escaped shortly after Berry.

According to one of  the women, they were kidnapped and raped for over a decade by three  brothers, Ariel, Pedro and Onil Castro. Aside from a number of miscarriages and extremely rare access to the outside world, the women were subjected to psychological abuse, according to City Councilman Brian Cummins. 

It is unclear right now exactly what type of psychological abuse the women suffered; however, it would be surprising to hear that the abuse was anything less than severe and intense. Keep in mind that when these women were kidnapped, two of them were minors. Being in captivity for 10 years puts Berry and DeJesus at 17 and 13 years old, respectively. Even though Knight was 22 at the time of her kidnapping, she was still relatively young.

For all intents and purposes, these women were impressionable babies when they were first kidnapped. It is traumatizing enough to be taken from your family, but to be raped repeated FOR 10 YEARS is extreme trauma. Additionally, for some of these women, this terrible ordeal may have been their first sexual experience. 

Just think back...while you were carelessly going to the grocery store or laughing with your children on a playground, three women were being held against their wills wondering if they would ever see their families again. Think of all of birthdays (theirs and family members'), holidays and special days that they missed. Did Amanda Berry even know that her mother passed away a year after she was kidnapped from heart failure?

They have a lot of psychological work ahead of them. Berry, DeJesus and Knight had been roommates, friends and each others' protectors for a decade. It is highly probable that these women bonded over their experience and had a hard time leaving each other, even if it meant freedom. Psychologically speaking, being protective of each other was probably one of the factors that contributed to them not being able to escape sooner. If one escaped, what would happen to the other two when the kidnappers found out? What if the escapee couldn't get back in time?

Now, the women are going to have to create a new normal. They are going to have to learn how the world works and where they fit in. They are going to have to learn how to relate to others and trust again, which may prove to be incredibly difficult.

The only thing that won't be difficult in this entire situation is a jury figuring out what to do with those three brothers.

Psychology Is Everywhere!

Student Harassed For Sitting Quietly In Class

Posted on April 13, 2013 at 10:28 AM Comments comments (19)
Have you ever been harassed by a teacher and assistant principal? Enidris Siurano Rodriguez has. The American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland has stepped on in Rodriguez's behalf to end this harassment and support her choice to remain seated and silent during the daily recitation of the American Pledge of Allegiance.

Rodriguez, a 10th grade student attending school in Montgomery County, Maryland, has been refraining from standing and reciting The Pledge for the last three years as an outward demonstration of her concerns about U.S. policies toward Puerto Rico. Notably, no teacher or administrator has seen this practice as a problem until this year.

We are doing our young people a huge disservice when we preach about being unique and not following the crowd and then punish them for doing so. Rodriguez has chosen to express her disappointment with national decisions in a respectful and peaceful way, which by the way is supported in our Constitution. 

According to Erik Erikson, a well-known psychologist who theorized about psychosocial development, Rodriguez is at the identity vs. role confusion stage. Erikson believed that 12-18 year olds start to develop a deep understanding of who they are at this stage. Having authority figures who support her growth is vitally important, and these authority figures extend past her parents. They extend to teachers, mentors, older siblings and community figures.

Not only have her teacher and administrator not supported her growth, but they have sent the message that you should take a stand for something you believe in...as long as it's what I believe in too.

Whether you agree with Rodriguez or not, you have to acknowledge that she isn't doing anything illegal and she is respecting others' desire to pledge allegiance to the American flag. Did her teacher, Deanna Jennings, and her assistant principal consider that she isn't allegiant to America? Why "pledge" allegiance literally and figuratively if you don't really mean it?

Malcolm X once said, "If you don't stand for something, you will fall for anything." It looks like Rodriguez has found her stand...sitting.

Psychology Is Everywhere!

Not Accidental Racism...Just Plain 'Ol Racism

Posted on April 12, 2013 at 11:00 PM Comments comments (62)
You have to be kidding me!? Did LL Cool J and Brad Paisley really go there? Did you put your really write and support 'Accidental Racist?'

First, let's start by acknowledging the intention behind the song. You have to give the artists credit for trying to unite people with music. However, this song leaves more questions than it does answers. Below are just a few of the questions.

"To the man that waited on me at the Starbucks down on Main, I hope you understand When I put on that t-shirt, the only thing I meant to say is I’m a Skynyrd fan"
Really?! Do you know how many Lynyrd Skynyrd shirts don't have the confederate flag on them? Tons. Deeper question: Do you know what the confederate flag means to people of color?

"The red flag on my chest somehow is like the elephant in the corner of the south"
That's just it. For you it's the elephant in the corner of the south. When people of color see that flag, the elephant is not in the corner. It's taking up the entire room. Do you know or understand the feelings of terror that are invoked when people of color see that flag? They don't know that you're just a "proud southerner." 

"I’m proud of where I’m from but not everything we’ve done. And it ain’t like you and me can re-write history"
You are correct! We can't write history differently and we shouldn't try. Just like you shouldn't have tried to send the message that you are empathic to people who were victims of the southern regime by writing this ridiculous excuse of a song.

"Our generation didn’t start this nation. We’re still pickin’ up the pieces, walkin’ on eggshells, fightin’ over yesterday And caught between southern pride and southern blame"
Isn't it funny how you managed to turn something like slavery into a situation where you are the victim "caught" between the home that you love and the behavior of its people? Weren't Africans the victims here?

"We’re still siftin’ through the rubble after a hundred-fifty years"
And when you say "we..." Exactly who is "we?"

"Dear Mr. White Man, I wish you understood. What the world is really like when you’re livin’ in the hood"
Interesting that Mr. Cool J started his lyrics so respectfully; just like a Negro should. Where exactly did Mr. Paisley give you the respect of referring to you as "Mr." or "man?"

"If you don’t judge my gold chains; I’ll forget the iron chains"
Oh, uninformed Cool James, don't you know that it is so easy for you to forget the iron chains because you weren't actually in them? How could you suggest that you will forget what your people gave up so that you could even write this song with Brad, a white southerner who enjoys sporting the confederate flag as a sign of his southern pride?

"The past is the past, you feel me"
Sorry, not feeling you. If the past is the past, then what's the need for the confederate flag?

"Let bygones be bygones"
Are you daring to refer to 400 years of enslavement as a "bygone?"

"RIP Robert E. Lee but I’ve gotta thank Abraham Lincoln for freeing me, know what I mean"
Rest in peace Robert E. Lee? Huh? Next...thank you to Abraham Lincoln, the president who freed 3.1 million slaves with an executive order on January 1, 1863? Did your history books explain to you that there were 4 million slaves at the time of the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation, which means that 900,000 slaves were still enslaved at that point in history?

By the way, what is an accidental racist? Is it someone who is lacking so much insight that he doesn't know when he has offended someone, let alone a whole group of people, by his words or actions? Isn't that called ignorance?

Last question...which one of you is the accidental racist? When someone writes a song about his pride in the confederate flag and another person supports that pride, there's nothing accidental about that racism.

Psychology IEverywhere!

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