Via The Guardian, a report on the experiences of psychologist Paul Stevenson: The worst I've seen – trauma expert lifts lid on 'atrocity' of Australia's detention regime. Excerpt from a long, appalling article:
The official Wilson Security “incident reports” from Stevenson’s time offshore, seen by the Guardian, are testaments to suffering.
More than 2,000 pages, they are awful and they are endless. The reports are brief descriptions of anything that happens in detention on the islands: any disturbance, no matter how small, is “written up”, classified and categorised, fed into the massive bureaucracy that maintains the island regimes.
But the language of the reports is cold and impersonal, a numbing litany of repeated acts of self-harm, of pointless fights and meaningless feuds, of abuse and misery and privation. The black letters carry a texture of depression.
The scale of distress blurs one report into another but, even amid the grim repetition, some stand out. During Stevenson’s time on Australia’s offshore islands:
• Six boys, held on Nauru without parents, tried to kill themselves en masse, using the same razor blade.
• One woman attempted to kill herself seven times in five weeks, threatened to kill her own daughter, and had to be sedated to stop her repeatedly bashing her head into the ground.
• A woman, held on Nauru with her son, but facing permanent separation from her husband in Australia, carved his name into her chest with a razor because it “releases the feelings in my heart and I feel better”.
• An asylum seeker carved open his own stomach in protest at not being allowed to see or speak with his cousin, who was standing on a roof, threatening to jump.
• A three-year-old boy was allegedly molested by a guard but his mother was too scared of reprisals to report it until months later, when she was medevacked to Australia for a medical emergency.
• A refugee found naked and distressed – and who told authorities she had been sexually assaulted – was taken to the police station instead of the hospital. It was more than five hours after she went missing that she finally saw a doctor.
Stevenson's job on Manus Island and Nauru was to counsel the Wilson Security guards so that they were able to do their jobs—keeping safe and under control those held in the offshore detention centres. But Stevenson says he "made it a part of my job" to understand the lives of those held, as well as those holding.