My last visit with my Doctor had me feeling a little ashamed. She said nothing that was bad it was briefly seeing my file on her computer screen. Beside “History of Violent Behaviour” it said, “yes”. I’m not really bothered by this history but what I am bothered by is that it’s on my file for everyone to see, most likely for as long as I am a client there, and there is no context provided.
Let me provide this context.
My history of violence is toward me last partner. I would become so angry during our fights that I wouldn’t know what to do with myself that I would hit him. While doing this I was always aware that it was something I shouldn’t be doing and took care to really not use a lot of force. I know that my care int his situation does not matter because the action still occurred and that is unacceptable. Also, while I knew it was wrong I felt powerless. I was caught up in my rage and just wanting to make it stop. I always felt great remorse for my actions. Surprisingly enough this violent behaviour stopped when I stopped taking Aleese (a birth control I was on). This drug physically charged me too much.
Without this context I become concerned that I look like this horrible monster! I have never been arrested for violence, I have never physically injured someone, I have never hit anyone else I know or a stranger but no one would know this from my file which simply says, “yes”.
I bring up this experience because a friend of mine brought to my attention another way that healthcare professionals are identifying violent behaviour. In British Columbia, Canada, a violence prevention program is identifying violent behaviour (intentional/non-intentional, ie: caused by mental health issues) using visual markers like purple dots in the clients file. This purple dot is labeled as “best practice” which is defined,”as an approach to
eliminating identified hazards before they cause harm by implementing effective control measures, rather than
an approach of risk identification and analysis based on incidents that have already occurred.” There are many best practices that seem to just be best for the professional but not for the client. I believe this purple dot is one such practice. This purple dot comes attached with stigma and discrimination. Who really wants to be the client with the purple dot on their file?
I wouldn’t want anyone walking into a situation that could potentially be harmful but there needs to be awareness that what is called “best” is not always so.