A Basic Human Right Violated
By Colin Taufer
September 2016

“No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman* or degrading treatment or punishment,” states article 5 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a milestone document that set out, for the first time, to universally protect everyone’s fundamental human rights.

In headlines, we read about violations of this human right every day. The CIA waterboarding suspected terrorists, ISIS soldiers brutalizing their kidnapped victims, war criminals committing genocide. Clearly these are acts of torture. They are cruel, inhuman and degrading. They cause outrage. They start wars, they prolong them.

If a female social worker from the United States was captured by a militant group in the Middle East then freed from the clutches of the terrorists by a daring military rescue, the nation would be full of patriotism and pride. There would also be a measure of revenge on our collective minds.

As a country, we would piece together the facts of this case and our sense of furious revenge would boil over. We’d demand the president take action. We’d insist Congress do everything in their power to right this injustice. We’d overwhelm social media with petitions and pleas for reprisals and an overhaul of every step in the system that brought about this national nightmare. We’d be filled with vengeance and ready for forceful retaliation. We’d rail against the uncivilized animals that tortured one of our own.

Art by Pamela Spiro Wagner

Art by Pamela Spiro Wagner

Imagine too, as this rescued patriot settled back into life in the States, details of her captivity and post-trauma health hit the media. We’d learn that her arms were maimed by the wrenching twists of her captors, her love of life drained by the dehumanizing ordeal, her faith in mankind shattered, her ability to love and be loved by her family gone. Maybe she was sexually assaulted while drugged…she can’t remember. She can remember being tied down and forced to lie in her own waste. Clearly no one would dispute the fact that this was torture and an egregious example of a violation of human rights.

But what about the psychiatric patient who is committed without consent, held against her will, manhandled and bruised, drugged for being “resistive”, strapped to a bed and refused bathroom breaks and groped and assaulted? The illustration that accompanies this article was created by one such patient who inspired this article. Her story is the story of many.

Without a doubt this too is torture and a violation of human rights. But the uncivilized animals committing these atrocities are not extreme terrorists or cruel despots** or insane generals of faraway lands. They are criminal psychiatrists and they are committing these cruelties every day, in our communities, often supported by tax money that came from our pockets. Look no further than the front page of PsychSearch.net for proof.

Stand up for human rights and fight psychiatric torture.

Colin Taufer

*Inhuman: lacking human qualities of compassion and mercy; cruel and barbaric.

**Despot: a ruler or other person who holds absolute power, typically one who exercises it in a cruel or oppressive way.

Colin Taufer

Colin Taufer


Welcome to my monthly column. I am a career educator, writer and lifelong advocate for human rights. With each article, I hope to shine a light into the dark world of psychiatry to make stronger champions of human rights, to stir into action, to enlighten. As always, I appreciate feedback from readers. I can be reached at Colin@PsychSearch.net