Aspirational Arguments from (de)VOICED: Survivors of Deadly Force with Deadly Weapons

Aspirational Arguments from (de)VOICED: Survivors of Deadly Force with Deadly Weapons


Lauren Tenney, PhD, MPhil, MPA, Psychiatric Survivor

In 2011 when we collected the video data for the (de)VOICED project, consisting of fourteenEnvironmental Workographies-nearly all of the people involved had at some point spontaneouslyreported being forced or compelled to comply with psychiatric products, or having had compliedwithout informed consent. This issue of force was central to the conversation (de)VOICED projectinitiated from its earliest planning stages. To contextualize force using its legal definition as well as itscommon definition is helpful for at least some people involved with State Sponsored OrganizedPsychiatric Industries. This conversation about the future possibility of changing laws may appearradical but other groups who have experienced systemic discrimination have written about aspirationsto change the legal system that appeared fantastic, only to become the law of the land as our societyhas reflected on the merits for change often prodded by activists who were silenced, demeaned,injured--and even killed--by those in power. The analogies between criminal or improper conduct aretools which can be used to build a consciousness-raising practice, to have the general public, SSOPIand the legal community better understand how it is people with psychiatric labels who are subject toacts of force have not been given 'medical assistance' but have been victims of crimes comparable toforced entry, assault and battery, and kidnapping--felonious assaults. Incontestably, force, is a part ofthe accepted practices of psychiatry and sanctioned by SSOPI. In fact, there are many proponents offorced psychiatry, and it is clearly within the realm of allowable within the current state of the law in many jurisdictions. Sometimes, force, however, turns deadly. Deadly Force is defined as "Force whichthe actor uses with the purpose of causing or which he knows to create a substantial risk of causingdeath or serious bodily harm" (Black's, p. 398). It is the, "which he knows to create a substantial risk of causing death or serious bodily harm" clause, which makes Survivors of Psychiatry, Survivors ofPsychiatric Assault, Survivors of Deadly Force.

Learning Goals:

  • To review basic legal definitions through the lens of the experience of psychiatric survivors.
  • To draw analogies between legal definitions and recent psychological qualitative research.
  • To suggest potential future legal arguments based on recent psychological research carried out through the (de)VOICED research process.

Link to brief presenter bio: Lauren Tenney, PhD, MPhil, MPA, Psychiatric Survivor