The Morrison government claims to care about people at risk of suicide but from where I’m sitting it feels like they’re setting me up for a fall. I’m a sexual assault survivor and live with a high risk of taking my own life. Reading the news has become a dangerous activity.
Every day the Morrison denial squad digs further into their “presumption of innocence” bunker, seemingly forgetting that a woman, Kate, chose to end her own life over the pain they are attempting to erase.
As a person living with this risk – a survivor of multiple sexual assaults – it feels like they are capitalising on her death to stabilise this buttress of renunciation. Feels like her suicide was a win in their corrupt and consciously biased views.
My mother’s death from an apparent suicide on Halloween last year had already amped up my risk factors. Watching the recent saga play out in Parliament House has exponentially increased this risk. I worry in endless hopeless loops about the many other survivors out there like me who are watching the death of this woman being used to dismantle her right to make allegations. I worry that deaths right now will vanish into annual statistics and that we may be losing the quiet ones who can’t speak about their risks.
Like I suspect many of us have, I’ve wondered if the slowness of the NSW Police contributed to her plummet into the willingness to go. Wondered if that email to them was just the tying up of strings. I’ve seen the memes on Facebook about Morrison’s close personal friendship with the NSW Police Commissioner and wondered where exactly the decision to drop the investigation was made.
But my brain isn’t exactly reliable right now. Lots of intrusive thoughts, simmering rages, helpless grasping at shreds of hope. During the worst moments, when the urges flood my eyeballs, I distract myself for just the next 3 minutes. Whole days broken into chunks of just the next 3 minutes. Because this is how I survive. This is how I have resilience.
I am one of the lucky ones here. I’ve been in mostly bulk-billed therapy for twenty years with the same person. I have my therapist’s number on speed dial, friends and family around me and the vocabulary and ability to speak my truth.
And yet, every single day right now I wake up wondering if I’ll still be here tonight.
Every article I read about their new attempts to shush this story away, hide it in the Canberra Bubble sets off my survivor guilt, solidarity and those unfortunate floods of images.
The Morrison Government and their attempts to scurry away from the truth of Kate’s death is the trigger I didn’t need, the trigger none of us needed. This government has talked big on suicide prevention, now it’s time to show some real empathy.
Mr Morrison, every sexual assault survivor in the country is watching you. Every person living with suicidal impulses is watching you. We are getting your messages loud and clear. We are not going to make it easier for you. This rage will make us strong.
The biggest distraction from death I’m using right now is the next federal election.