Bioethics Blogs

End of the Tunnel

A story about living with the label of “disability”. The symposium on that topic (in NIB 3.3) will be out in December of 2013. 

By M. Sophia Newman

Sleeping during a Norwegian summer can be nearly impossible. The country lies on the far northern edge of our titled, rotating planet. In summer, nightfall is meaningless: pink twilight can fade to pale gray night and reverse to peachy dawn within tow hours. Inside the Arctic Circle, even that brief twilight is absent–the sun is out continuously for nearly three months. Without sunset, the brain, which normally reacts to darkness like a bird with a blanket over its cage, cannot figure out when to sleep. It become easy to lie awake on the sofa, gazing at the sky.

Back home, on a dark night months before. I had been on another sofa with a handsome friend. Three days before, he’d asked me out. I’d been flattered. He was an advanced student in the martial arts school where we’d met, and I liked his bold generous laugh.

Three days later, I had started training in martial arts after surviving a violent attack, which had given me post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). I had shared my story to explain how victim-blaming can be as harmful as abuse, convincing the school to improve information on stigma in its self-defense curriculum. But I’d noticed my friend had been unsettled by my personal disclosures. Here on his sofa, I realized his fears weren’t fully resolved. 

 To answer them felt easy. The traumatic violence was eight years in the past.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.