How can care providers be so invalidating? update on ben’s situation

Hi again,

I continue to be shocked, though maybe I shouldn’t be surprised, at the level of invalidation and condescending attitude that providers who are supposed to be allies can have towards vulnerable people in their care.

This is another installment of the Ben story. In trying to secure some amount of safety before Max lands, he had a meeting with the director and social worker. This did not go well. The director of the facility was extremely sarcastic and condescending about the situation. Even though Ben made it absolutely clear the level of abuse that had taken place, while not giving every single detail, made it clear especially around Max’s HIV status and him taking advantage of Ben not knowing about this and forcing sex. That’s a pretty clear no questions asked indicatoThat must have hurt him to the depth of his heart because this was a person that was in a lot of ways in charge of his welfare. He was living in this building receiving basic needs and was told to trust these people. Yet they were clearly not interested in this situation, feel it’s basically nothing to worry about. And were condescending and arrogant enough to then say (and I’ve never heard of anyone saying this) that they’d be “glad” to help Ben make a complaint against them. Can you imagine going to a store and them saying oh we’d be so happy to help you with this complaint? It means that they know that they have the upper hand and the complaint would come to nothing. They even said that they rather Ben have filed a complaint (with their “help”) than contact an outside agency which they found out he did through him Blind copying someone on staff he thought he could trust.

So he’s basically getting nothing in terms of support from this place. And I am so angry about this! Because it’s exactly the situation I was in in 2013 when I finally had my breakdown. After countless meetings with a social worker that didn’t know one thing about mental illness, or services in the area. After countless trips to the nurse saying I was having a hard time with my depression and anxiety. Being told I just needed to occupy my mind, exercise go to school ETC and discouraged in a round about way from being on meds. Many residents have been and are in this position with severe psychiatric symptoms that are ignored until things reach a crisis point. At which point they’re hospitalized, and returned to the facility with no treatment plan that I could see that involved them. If there was they sure didn’t do anything. I’ve gone to the board of directors with this issue and was given a vague “thank you so much for sharing your story” when in the past on a more concrete issue I was given a reasonable response. Clearly it’s not something they want to address.

So yeah I don’t know. Ben is going to be addressing things through an outside agency now obviously with no further contact with these people on it. And I will stick by him and figure out next steps. It just kills me how well they advertise the place, and false advertising at that, saying that they had mental health services they don’t have. And that both of us moved far across the country to live there. I just have no words.

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