#MeToo: Trigger Warnings & Truths

Do I have a responsibility not to self-harm because of the impact it will have on those around me?

Not exactly a party starter, is it? But it’s because this is a deeply uncomfortable question with significant and numerous ramifications that we don’t engage with it – we try not to think about it at all – despite the vital insights it might offer.

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Angelina Jolie: Growing Up In Public


At 24 years old, Angelina Jolie was picking up an Oscar for her role as disturbed psychiatric patient Lisa Rowe in ‘Girl, Interrupted’. Rumours of self-harm and unhinged decision making followed her like loyal, if irritating, acolytes and these rumours only served to accelerate her journey to the pedestal of iconic female imagery. Back then, young women were starting to feel nauseous from the buckets of sticky sweet Girl Power feminism we were being force fed and were looking for a different kind of empowerment.

One that made room for attempted suicide where appropriate, as long as the harassed protagonist looked absolutely scorching in a pair of lycra shorts seemed like the ideal alternative.

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Victoria Pendleton: Scar Tissue That I Wish You Saw

Image: Tim Whitby/Getty Images Europe.

Listening to Victoria Pendleton trying to explain her reasons for self-harming on the radio this morning reminded me of a time when I too sought refuge in the slicing of my own flesh. Conversations with people since then, plus the perspective that the passing years lent, did not make the compulsion any clearer to me.

What I do know is that it was necessary, it was powerful and it frightened the shit out of people.

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