After touching on the subject, a journalist is accused of having a colonialist mindset. But it's her critics whose attitude is imperious.
Mac McClelland traveled to Haiti, reported on one of its rape victims, developed post-traumatic stress disorder, and coped in an unusual way: "All I want," she explained, "is to have incredibly violent sex."
She tells her story in an essay published at GOOD Magazine, where Ann Friedman, formerly of The American Prospect and the group blog Feministing, is the new executive editor. The essay, titled "I'm Gonna Need You To Fight Me On This: How Violent Sex Eased My PTSD," is surely the most provocative piece that GOOD has ever published. "My mind stayed there, stayed present even when it became painful," McClelland writes, describing her ostensibly therapeutic sex, "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."
graphic are sure to stoke controversy, as is subject matter like female
sexuality and violent intercourse. We're unaccustomed to women
unapologetically describing sexual urges, wants, and transgressive
behavior*. There's also bound to be skepticism about McClelland's
particular theory of healing.
Far more controversial than the graphic sex, however, is a short description of Haiti and its dangers that McClelland included at the beginning of her piece to explain why it traumatized her so. The average reader likely got through the passage without pausing, but it so bothered 36 women who've worked in that country as journalists, activists and development workers that they sent an open letter to the editor lambasting it. Their argument is our subject, for it epitomizes some of what's wrong with political discourse in the United States.