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Unfair Treatment Received by Mental Patients in the Movie “girl, Interrupted”

Autor:   •  July 7, 2019  •  Essay  •  960 Words (4 Pages)  •  439 Views

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Integration Paper:

Unfair Treatment Received by Mental Patients in the Movie “Girl, Interrupted

Unfair Treatment Received by Mental Patients in the Movie “Girl, Interrupted

  The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) is a fundamental constitutive document to protect individual's rights (United Nations, 1948). It consists of a preamble and 30 articles, covering not only basic concepts like dignity, liberty and equality, but also other economic, social and political rights. Despite the fact that it is not legally binding, UDHR has become a foundation for a large number of laws including customary international law (United Nations, 2019) and equipped numerous individuals in fighting for progresses in human rights. UDHR also serves as an effective tool for understanding the unfair treatment received by mental patients presented in the movie “Girl, Interrupted” through the following articles: (article 5) and (article 12).

  “Girl, Interruptedis a 1999 American film based on 18-year-old Susanna’s stay at a psychiatric hospital, Claymoore (Layton, 2017). In the hospital, she befriended Lisa, a rebellious character who had been there for 8 years, and Daisy, who self-harmed and has probably been sexually abused by her father. Lisa convinced Susana to escape with her and run away to Daisy’s house, who had been lately discharged. Yet Lisa and no patience for Lisa and laughed at her sexual abuse experience. After Daisy committed suicide, Susana finally realized she did not want to become a person like Lisa. She called an ambulance and returned to the hospital to receive medical treatment. Lisa escaped but got caught and was sent back to Claymoore before Susana was released. When Susana was about to be discharged and saw her for the last time, it seemed that Lisa was going to change after all. The film highlighted the unfair treatments received by the patients, not only at hospital, but also from other individuals, which will be explained below in the light of UDHR.

  Article 5 of the UDHR prohibits slavery and torture; In the film, this point is in contrast with the unfair treatment that Lisa and other patients received. In more detail, the unnecessary and brutal therapy used by hospital staff completely ignored patients’ will and is a violation of human rights. According to Article 5 of UDHR, “No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.” (United Nations, 1948). Clearly, this article justifies rights to life and prohibition of torture towards anyone under no circumstances. However, in the film, there is not only overuse of medication and therapy, but also unwarranted violence between staff and patients. In the case of Lisa, she disappeared one night and came back so lost and broken that she could not even recognize Susana because of forced medical treatment and shock therapy. Lisa tried to avoid the treatment many times because she knew that it was only to make her suffer. The hospital staff stripped the patients of their own identity so as to make them fit for society. She was forced to escape from the hospital (Girl, Interrupted, 1999). This kind of mistreatment is obviously human rights violation, considering its brutality and uselessness. Hence, the unfair treatment that Lisa suffered exerted by hospital staff in the name of medication and therapy violates article 12 of UDHR, which prohibits torture.


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