Friday, July 24, 2009

the thing about writing about something that's in the news in a blog sometimes gets you more attention than maybe you wanted when you first wrote the post. then again...did i mean not to say what i had to say? did i not mean to test the waters to see if i had the courage to write a less vague see if i would call virginia tech, the virginia state police, and anyone else that might want to hear that dr. robert miller may have hurt people years and years before seung hui cho was even born or at least too young to be out of diapers?

i hesitate to write more but i have already had inquiries. and it was 5:30 ET when i woke up and knew that i had to write more.

most of us have heard the alarming statistics about rape. look them up if you want the numbers. google does exist despite some people's strange denial. but i'm not here to talk about google right now.

and yet.

and yet i am a statistic. i am a part of that statistic, that fellowship of women and men who have been raped. the details? do they matter now? should i now stand trial for what i never did back when i was 18...because let's face it...the prosecutor in far too many assault cases is viewed as the guilty party until they have proved themselves innocent...did they dress for it? did they lead the other person on?

etc. etc. etc.

i'm not proud of never reporting that. i'm not proud of not being brave enough to face the scrutiny. but i did seek out help later in my undergrad years....when the pain had become too much to bear...when every break up felt like rape all over again because i'd dared to trust someone else...scene:

[enter dr. miller, therapist at virginia tech, the year is 1991]

end scene.
yes. i was lucky enough to have dr. miller as my therapist. he was maybe the first person i'd ever told. i'm almost 100% sure of that. the thing was? he missed so many appointments that the trust i had in him when i finally could get the words out, especially the one he missed right after that with no if he never missed a step. after a few more misses, i had nothing more to say. why tell someone who is supposed to help anything else if they aren't going to show up?

i know. who hasn't skipped something or at least wanted to out of fear of getting too close to the truth? so after enough times of him skipping? i started to as well. why not? the trust bond had been broken...and that would be my only time i'd seek therapy seriously until 2002. and i'm not "all better" but i'm a damn bit better than i was and the acid in my stomach has started to fade away...

but i don't trust. i don't trust easily. people have told me that i'm a survivor now, not a victim. labels. there is truth to the statement that you have to move on. but there is also truth to the statement that until we get all the anger, the sadness, the self-doubt out...we can't move on.

the thing with dr. miller was...he broke the rules of a therapist by breaking the boundaries of therapy. while under his care, i was late (go figure) for my evil orchestration class and i parked in a faculty lot because i had one minute to get there and the professor was not cool with anyone walking in late. a pill bottle for some antibiotic fell out of my purse in my mad dash for the building and he happened to be pulling into the parking lot, saw it, stopped his car, told me i was parked in the wrong lot, i yelled that i was late and was going to get humiliated by that prof yet again...i turned around while running to the music building...i saw he picked up the bottle and put it in his briefcase.

did he dispose of it? who knows. probably. maybe. did he call or have someone else call that i had a half used prescription left behind? no. remember...hippa did not exist then. there were no rules preventing that. i had to go back to the health center to get another prescription. big deal.

but things got weird. i had my junior and senior recitals (i was a music major) all in the same year because i cannot do ANYTHING in the correct order or by the rules...i ran into dr. miller in the music wing when i was throwing my shit into my locker, running late for my radio show...he was in our section of the building...which was not his building and not a convenient way to get anywhere but to another exit out of the music section. i saw him. i tried to just nod and go. but he stopped me. he said he'd been to my recitals and that i was an incredibly gifted musician.

i think i might have said thanks but i ran up to the media wing and i am pretty sure i played the entire album of three different albums (yes...vinyl...) and didn't say a lot other than deal with an emergency broadcast test and do the station id on the top of the three long hours that day.

i never went back to him again. i never asked for another therapist. i figured that they all must be that way. until my heart was shattered in 2002...then i finally found someone who could help. or at least tries to even when i freeze up. do i trust anyone unconditionally? no. but i'm more aware of it now.

trust. trust broken first by rape...then by a the-rapist. am i a victim? am i a survivor? no. i think i just am...whatever that means. i try to catch myself when i stop trusting or can't trust...i have a long way to go. maybe that's my lot? maybe i'll never really be free of that. i can trust more. but it's hard. and yet i write this. but it was time. when i saw the nytimes update on my cell phone that named dr. miller as the doctor that had cho's record, i almost passed out. i've thrown up.

what will cho's records show? did dr. miller skip appointments with him too? did he care?

do i believe he *accidentally* took them home along with a few other records? no. no, i really don't. his lawyer's statement says that he did and *just* now found them. i'd like to think that cho got miller's attention. but i don't know how much miller changed. was he going to write a book of interesting cases? did he really not remember anything about those records in his home until they were magically found the other day? did the name not jog something in his memory AT ALL? even if it was just what he could remember without the record? how many records did he have? 5 other students? 50? 5000? if it was more like 5...i doubt he could have forgotten that he saw cho as part of a court mandated therapy program. and how many post involuntary psychiatric hold court mandated therapy sessions does the average therapist at a college get? nothing jogged his memory at all?

the important thing? he went to my recitals. why remember me? as i said...after that i never saw him as a therapist again...i realized i wouldn't get anywhere with a someone paying half (or less) attention or skipping sessions. but he remembered me. he followed me. and he didn't remember cho? not for a second?

no. we are not perfect. none of us are. but my head pounds...i want to scream...i want to tell you...anyone reading this...that 16 years before the virginia tech massacre, something wasn't quite right. did i turn out to be a serial killer? no. was something damaged? yes. did i report it? no. why? i knew others who saw him. same thing. did any of us say anything? no. why? because what could we have said? if you visit crazytown even for the shortest length of time, even just to talk, even just to hear that things were not your fault or at least not entirely your lose. i had said something to a med doctor at tech that i didn't think that the counseling center did much and i just got that look. if you've spent any time in crazytown, you know that look. it's the look that says...right...ok, well, you're crazy since you were so weak that you couldn't deal with your life yourself that i'm going to dismiss whatever you say...not listening...not listening...not...



will i call today? yes. 32 people were killed...33 if you include cho who turned the gun on himself. am i saying cho wasn't responsible for his actions? no. but dr. miller? what do you think? what do you think of what he did? did you do all you could do? what about those triage therapists who had no records (10 pages??? that's all he wrote?) to go by and nothing but an *unremarkable* psych evaluation despite the english department's warnings...

ah...but hippa existed by then. that misunderstood law. if you try to get a student help and you aren't a therapist (and even if you are there are restrictions)...YOU are in the wrong. i've been down that path before. i'm half convinced that a large part of my hatred of the university of illinois is because i have been on that same side as tech's english department...there is nothing you can do...and you can even lose your job...more than once."...teacher? what's my lesson? look right through me...look right through me....mad world."


SJ said...

make the call for sure. You've got agroup of friends who have your back

Maureen said...


Doug said...

thanks for opening up. please make the call. vt has miraculously dodge any culpability in the massacre. and yet here is at least one proof point of the failure of the system.

i'm sorry that i didn't know...

Letters to My Sister said...

Dear strong and courageous survivor, you are so incredibly brave... My daughter was raped in college, I know it took incredible strength for you to survive. Please rely on that strength once again and expose this man for who he is, and what he is trying to do. Please, please call whoever you need to... I would also suggest you call the media who has not forgotten this... there are two talented reporters working on this story at the Washington Post who don't, for one minute, believe this hooligan, but they need proof to expose him. Please, you've protected this disgrace to his profession long enough. He needs to be exposed. And you are right. YOu were raped twice, by the first perpetrator, and by the the-rapist. Good luck, my dear, you are so strong and so brave, and don't ever let anyone tell you that you are not.

BrigidSchulte said...

I am a reporter for the Washington Post and have been following the mental health side of the Virginia Tech story. I'd very much like to talk to you about Dr. Miller and Cook Counseling Center. Could you please email me and let me know when and how best to reach you?, or
Thank you. This is such an important story to tell and for others to learn from

sergio said...

ke es esto papa

Jack said...

there are people, i want, to STOP using the TERM - teacher.


It brings SHAME to people who actually are Teachers but not such teachers as this news says. click here

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