‘Self-harm’/State-inflicted-harm

The Australian Independent Media Network

Image courtesy of liberonetwork.com Image courtesy of liberonetwork.com

Self-harm or State-inflicted-harm. What role does language play in the displacement of one and the other? Who gains from this?

In this revealing article, poet Janet Galbraith* tells of her own experiences and identifies wider causes and culprits.

A while ago I started writing an article about the notion of what is often called ‘self-harm’. I had felt saturated by this word and angry about the ways in which it is used to refer to a whole range of experiences. But I found it really hard to write. I wanted to research and come up with something that would articulate what I was feeling in a way that would be understood to have some gravitas. In the end, I did not finish it. But tonight, after speaking over the past days with people in detention who are in such dire situations that so-called ‘self-harm’ feels inevitable…

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