Dear Piers Morgan, Shut Up

new york   may 27  lady gaga...
new york may 27 lady gaga...

Dear Piers Morgan,

Wednesday, you described Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder as 'the latest celebrity accessory,' a disorder people use to promote themselves and insinuated that people without combat experience can't suffer from PTSD.

Let me give you a brief crash-course on PTSD. PTSD is not just a disorder for combat veterans. Victims of sexual abuse, domestic violence, severe physical illness, accidents, and first-responders can suffer from PTSD. Anyone who has experienced or witnessed a traumatic event or finds out that a close friend was exposed to a trauma can suffer from the disorder. It is not a "celebrity accessory," it is a life-disrupting condition that can pervade every aspect of one's life, from interpersonal relationships to sleep patterns and memory. It can contaminate every thought and every quiet moment. Many people with PTSD lead ostensibly normal lives. Many of us are successful. Because we have learned to cope does not mean we do not suffer. It does not mean we are unburdened. Eventually we learn to put on a mask and hide the most painful parts of us.

The only thing worse than your idiotic comments on PTSD, was the context. You made these remarks in response to Lady Gaga's vulnerable and courageous disclosure that she is a victim of sexual assault and suffers from the disorder, daring to call into question her experience of assault on Twitter.

I have PTSD as a result of the sexual abuse I suffered as a child. Were it not for a successful phone sting thirty years later, my case would have been one of the unsubstantiated cases that was never proven in court. Who are you to deny the experience of millions of men and women who have suffered abuse at the hands of a perpetrator when the vast majority of sexual crimes go unreported because of attitudes like yours. Who would report a crime that carries so much shame and stigma in a culture where victims are doubted and even slandered publicly.

I say this with as much civility as I can muster in the moment: Shut up, Mr. Morgan. Stop commenting on topics you know nothing about. Stop contributing to a culture where mental illness is stigmatized and victims of sexual abuse and assault are shamed into a life of silence while their perpetrators walk free, emboldened by the likes of you.

You are not a psychiatrist. You are not a judge. You are not a police detective. You are not a jury. You are a human being, and there only appropriate response when a fellow human being removes their mask of stoicism and reveals their inner suffering. That response is empathy, not judgment.

A few quick rules of thumb:

If you don't have anything accurate to say, don't say it.
And, if you can't say something without contributing to rape culture, don't say that either.