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Piers Morgan Perpetuates Rape Culture by Tweeting That Lady Gaga “Doesn’t Have PTSD”

Recently, Lady Gaga has become more vocal about her sexual assault and revealed on The Today Show that she has PTSD. This is a common disorder for victims of rape; I am also a sexual assault survivor and was diagnosed with it during the summer of 2016.

Lady Gaga received mostly positive feedback and encouragement, with many referring to her as an inspiration and even a hero (myself included). Shortly thereafter, Piers Morgan of the former talk show on CNN Piers Morgan Live and judge of America’s Got Talent quote-tweeted CNN’s tweet, and said “No, soldiers returning from battlefields do. Enough of this vain-glorious nonsense”.

Scrolling through my feed, this tweet shocked me. For someone who used to be pretty prevalent in the public eye and has a decent Twitter following of people from all kinds of groups, one would think that Morgan would be more sensitive to the topic of sexual assault. Answer: wrong.

Being a survivor, this tweet disgusts me, and it makes me even more infuriated that someone who isn’t even a mental health professional thought that they had the credentials to diagnose someone else. While soldiers and veterans do suffer from PTSD, rape victims do as well. According to the National Center for PTSD, “Going through trauma is not rare. About 6 of every 10 men (or 60%) and 5 of every 10 women (or 50%) experience at least one trauma in their lives. Women are more likely to experience sexual assault and child sexual abuse. Men are more likely to experience accidents, physical assault, combat, disaster, or to witness death or injury”

Other facts include:

  • About 7 or 8 out of every 100 people (or 7-8% of the population) will have PTSD at some point in their lives.
  • About 8 million adults have PTSD during a given year. This is only a small portion of those who have gone through a trauma.
  • About 10 of every 100 women (or 10%) develop PTSD sometime in their lives compared with about 4 of every 100 men (or 4%). 

People like Piers Morgan perpetuate rape culture by spreading untrue facts; he is also the reason why people are afraid to come out and get help for the sexual abuse they have faced. It took me almost five years to tell someone about what happened to me, and Piers Morgan is a part of the percentage that made me afraid of my attacker, and made me believe that I was somehow at fault.

As someone who shares their story often, I have accepted that fact that I will receive negative backlash at some point. I understand this and accept it because I know that without telling others my narrative, they feel less comfortable expressing their own. I am sure Lady Gaga feels the same way.

Do not think it is your fault. Do not believe the people who perpetuate a false narrative that does not include them. Stand up, for yourself and for others. Do not allow the blanketed opinion of the uneducated to make your reality subversive.

If you or a friend have been sexually assaulted, please go to RAINN, or Rape Abuse & Incest National Network, to get help and learn more about sexual assault statistics, resources and ways to get involved.

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Shan Cawley
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Shannon Cawley is an author and full-time student based in Morgantown, West Virginia. Her first chapbook, "depression is a thunderstorm and i am a scared dog" is set to be released by Maudlin House Press during the summer of 2017. In her free time, Shan works at her dorm's dining hall, involves herself in numerous extracurricular activities, and advocates for sexual assault victims as well as sufferers of mental illness.

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