As a civil rights reporter, Mac McClelland has seen all kinds of sexual violence around the globe. But for some reason she couldn't shake the image of a Haitian woman, Sybille, who said she had been raped at gunpoint and mutilated during the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake.
Last September, while on assignment for Mother Jones, McClelland said she went with Sybille to the hospital. That's when she saw one of her attackers and "went into a 'a full paroxysm - wailing and flailing in terror, screaming with her eyes rolling in abject terror".
It was at that moment something happened to McClelland too. According to ABC, "she became progressively enveloped in the classic symptoms of post-traumatic stress - avoidance of feelings, flashbacks and recurrent thoughts that triggered crying spells. There were smells that made her gag.
She couldn't get out of bed in the morning and had nightmares and daymares about rape."
The 31-year-old journalist went to see a therapist in San Francisco and the therapist suggested she find someone she trusted to simulate her own violent rape. McClelland did just that and even wrote about it in an article. In it she explains how her sexual partner mercilessly pinned her, beat her about the head and brutally violated her.
She wrote about the rape: "I did not enjoy it in the way a person getting screwed normally would. But as it became clear that I could endure it, I started to take deeper breaths.
'And my mind stayed there, stayed present even when it became painful, even when he suddenly smothered me with a pillow, not to asphyxiate me but so that he didn't break my jaw when he drew his elbow back and slammed his fist into my face. Two, three, four times.
'My body felt devastated but relieved; I'd lost, but survived. After he climbed off me, he gathered me up in his arms. I broke into a thousand pieces on his chest, sobbing so hard that my ribs felt like they were coming loose."
McClelland told ABC: 'I was not crazy. It was a way for me to deal in sort of a simulated, but controlled situation. I could say "stop" at any time. But it was still awful, and the body doesn't understand when it's in a fight.'
The controversial article drew disgust and praise for McClelland. How do you feel?
Viewers served up their thoughts:
KyAnn: I can't even read that whole story because it's so f-ed up.
Richard: You know just when I think I can't be shocked & awed.
Kara: Interesting. Seems that it's a viable treatment option. Can't judge her for trying whatever she could to get better. Although, she really just staged violent sex... Not quite the same as rape.
Get in on the dish. Send me your tweets: twitter.com/maggiesworld or emails: email@example.com or comment on the Online Dish Facebook fan page.
And that's today's helping of Online Dish.
Online Dish: Journalist Stages Her Own Violent Rape
Mac McClelland, 31, simulated being raped to cure PTSD after covering a Haitian woman's rape.
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