National Association for Rights Protection and Advocacy

 Aspirational Arguments from (de)VOICED:
Survivors of Deadly Force with Deadly Weapons


Lauren Tenney, PhD, MPhil, MPA, Psychiatric Survivor


In 2011 when we collected the video data for the (de)VOICED project, consisting of fourteen Environmental Workographies-nearly all of the people involved had at some point spontaneously reported being forced or compelled to comply with psychiatric products, or having had complied without informed consent. This issue of force was central to the conversation (de)VOICED project initiated from its earliest planning stages. To contextualize force using its legal definition as well as its common definition is helpful for at least some people involved with State Sponsored Organized Psychiatric Industries. This conversation about the future possibility of changing laws may appear radical but other groups who have experienced systemic discrimination have written about aspirations to change the legal system that appeared fantastic, only to become the law of the land as our society has reflected on the merits for change often prodded by activists who were silenced, demeaned, injured--and even killed--by those in power. The analogies between criminal or improper conduct are tools which can be used to build a consciousness-raising practice, to have the general public, SSOPI and the legal community better understand how it is people with psychiatric labels who are subject to acts of force have not been given 'medical assistance' but have been victims of crimes comparable to forced entry, assault and battery, and kidnapping--felonious assaults. Incontestably, force, is a part of the accepted practices of psychiatry and sanctioned by SSOPI. In fact, there are many proponents of forced psychiatry, and it is clearly within the realm of allowable within the current state of the law in many jurisdictions. Sometimes, force, however, turns deadly. Deadly Force is defined as "Force which the actor uses with the purpose of causing or which he knows to create a substantial risk of causing death or serious bodily harm" (Black's, p. 398). It is the, "which he knows to create a substantial risk of causing death or serious bodily harm" clause, which makes Survivors of Psychiatry, Survivors of Psychiatric Assault, Survivors of Deadly Force.

Learning Goals:

  • To review basic legal definitions through the lens of the experience of psychiatric survivors.

  • To draw analogies between legal definitions and recent psychological qualitative research. 

  • To suggest potential future legal arguments based on recent psychological research carried out through 
    the (de)VOICED research process.

Link to brief presenter bio:

Lauren Tenney, PhD, MPhil, MPA, Psychiatric Survivor