Why rape victims have fragmented and incomplete memories

“I had no power, I had no voice, I was defenseless. My memory loss would be used against me. My testimony was weak, was incomplete, and I was made to believe that perhaps, I am not enough to win this. That’s so damaging. His attorney constantly reminded the jury, the only one we can believe is Brock, because she doesn’t remember. That helplessness was traumatizing.”

The above statement is from a rape victim in the 2016 People v. Brock Allen Turner case. This young woman attended a party at Stanford University and the next thing she knew, she was waking up on a gurney with scratches on her body and pine needles stuck to her. She was informed that she may have been assaulted behind a dumpster. The victim could not remember any details of the assault.

While the gaps in her memory may have been a product of heavy drinking, it is also a possibility that the severe stress on the brain from the assault may have resulted in memory loss or fragmented memories.

This memory loss in rape victims has been shown to pervade throughout one’s life after an assault; an effect that interestingly stems not only from a psychological cause, but a physical one too. We often associate traumatic experiences with only psychological effects, but the brain is also physically altered during these intense stress episodes. While fear is an embedded component to survival, it has major setbacks to a person’s ability to recall.

Severe trauma or stress on the body can alter the normal functioning on the parts of the brain that is responsible for emotion and memory. In a study done by J. Douglas Bremner, MD, it was found that the hippocampus in the brain is most vulnerable to stress. The hippocampus is an important part of the brain responsible for memory and learning new information. It is also important for recalling specific memories that took place during a certain time, place and location. One of Dr. Bremner’s studies measured the loss of neurons (brain cells) in the hippocampus of childhood victims of sexual or physical abuse.

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Gay conversion is putting lives at risk

Despite us living in a different time where many things are openly accepted, that may have not been 30, 20, or even 10 years ago, there are many people stuck with outdated views.

With outdated views, come outdated treatments for homosexuality such as conversion therapy. “Conversion therapy,” sometimes known as “reparative therapy,” is a range of dangerous and discredited practices that falsely claim to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity or expression.” The potential risks of conversion therapy include anxiety, depression, self-destructive thoughts and behaviors, and even suicide. Since the basis of conversion therapy treatment is ultimately reinforcing self-hatred in its’ patients, there is more harm done than anything else. This form of “treatment” still exists today because of radical, religious, and extremely political groups that spread hate on homosexuality.

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Memories can’t be programmed, can they?

People depend on their memories for many reasons, from trying to remember their daily tasks to reminiscing about happier times.

It could be said that people’s memories define who they are, because their memories influence their personality based on past experiences, people they have met, and so on. Because of the importance of memory, we assume that our memories are perfectly reliable, unfortunately much research proves otherwise. Ultimately, not only can memories be questionable but they can be completely false as well with regards to just how people remember.

Psychology has demonstrated that our minds can be manipulated in how people memorize and remember events.

One particular study explained that their results inducing false memories of criminal acts in their subjects was influenced by exposure to misinformation given by interviewers (leading to memory distortions) and malleable reconstructive mechanisms (needed to remember events). The study proved that a person’s memory is not rigid and unchangeable, but can be affected by outside factors such as other people and the environment. This may have been a factor in such problems as false confessions by people who were incorrectly remembering their involvement (or even lack of involvement) in a crime. However, while malleable memories can not only be used negatively, they can also be used for healing trauma by preventing traumatic memories from invading a person’s mind. One psychological study proved that the frequency of intrusive memories caused by experimental trauma could be reduced by disrupting reconsolidation (process of remembering) through a cognitive task that required a person’s attention.

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Maybe it’s not stress, maybe it’s anxiety

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), 40 million Americans over the age of 18 are affected by anxiety — roughly 18 percent of the nation’s population.

That number is only for the diagnosed cases. There is a large population of people walking around with anxiety and other various disorders related to nervousness and fear, but they have not been diagnosed yet. This doesn’t mean that we all need to go running to our doctors but it is a good idea to stay mindful and aware of your own emotional state. Nervousness and fear is something that everyone faces at some point, daily or not. Whether it is test anxiety, public speaking, a job interview, or some sort of big event in your life, there are many ways to not only cope, but overcome.

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How to design a workspace that facilitates health

In the 21st century workplace, experiencing strains and work-related illness can be all too common.

The dynamics of work itself are changing, and specialists in the field of Industrial/Organizational Psychology (yes, it’s a mouthful) have been applying psychological concepts and principles to seek improvement for both the organization, and the individual who works within it. Interestingly enough, professionals are beginning to embrace notions that completely contrast assertions rooted in theories of scientific management, which sought the most effective methods of performing a task with little concern to laborers involved (Barling and Griffiths, 2003).

What are the consequences of laboring endlessly in a cubicle? Would you consider your mind and body well if you engaged in the same repetitive task for hours on end? How about if the demands for your job were incredibly stressful, and you lacked the support and control to adjust the manner in which you went about your responsibilities? Think about this, in the 1960 lawsuit Carter v. General Motors Corporation, a line worker successfully sued after claiming that working 8-12 hour days performing the same function, endlessly, actually made him mentally impaired!

Work is such a crucial component of our lives and our time is too precious to be spent on the mundane, day in and day out.

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Still searching for your purpose?

Can you imagine a world where everyone just gets it?

Where everyone just gets everyone else? Where everyone.. even gets themselves! Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait. Let’s not get too carried away here. I got rid of my Dashiki and suede fringe vest a while ago (just kidding, I’m still waiting for someone to buy them from me on ebay) but that doesn’t mean this isn’t a topic worth discussing.

Purpose. It’s what everybody wants to talk about. Purpose. It’s (apparently) what everyone is looking for. But I have one question: Why? Let’s be honest, this life and this world is pretty surreal. If we haven’t figured out the meaning of it when we were drawing on caves, we probably won’t figure it out now.

Some people feel like they’ve been gifted with a purpose, others feel like God or the Universe forgot to give them a call, or write a letter or send an SMS.

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Mental disorders are more common than you think

About one in four American adults ages 18 and older suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year.

Mental illnesses such as mood disorders are prevalent throughout societies around the world, yet these disorders largely remain hidden behind smiling faces and closed doors. Mood disorders like anxiety, depression, bipolar, and obsessive compulsive disorder are just a few common mental illnesses that people in general try to avoid discussing at all costs. Why does a stigma exist around mental illness? Why are those stigmas so difficult to remove? The struggles people face when living with mood disorders or other mental illnesses are real. How they relate to the world and how they relate to others are challenges they face daily. The concept of confiding in others regarding their condition is a complex issue, as the stigmas that are present create problems and build walls.

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Nipple rings and genital piercings were once a symbol of the Victorian upper class

Nipple and genital piercings may seem like a new fad, but they have proven to withstand the test of time.

Dating back to at least the Victorian era, intimate piercings have been the symbol of choice to demonstrate some societies’ most intrinsic values. Today, we tend to associate intimate piercings with unfavorable qualities like drug use and sexual promiscuity, but the original values represented by these types of piercings may surprise you and the current motivation behind obtaining them may not be what you would expect.

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Even universities can’t get mental health right

It is no secret that mental illness has a hit an all-time high amongst youth and young adults alike, particularly in the light of students attending university.

Regardless of rhyme or reason, this is happening. And what better way to tackle a demographically specific epidemic than to implement psychological support systems on campuses across the nation? (I know, it’s so smart it’s practically college-level thinking.)

In a perfect world, this resolve would be dealt with grace and professionalism, taking on the expected responsibilities as part of already existing university health clinics. However, the issue at hand with mental health support on college campuses is the blatant lack of sources and pragmatic treatment for the students. Too often, struggling young adults are underestimated, or even reprimanded, for expressing a need for help.

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