Gaslighting 2.0: Admit without apology
It's psychological abuse
We’re at the point in the menstrual vaccine harm cycle where the mainstream media switch play.
They did it with blood clots, they did it with myocarditis. The script goes like this:
DENIAL. It’s definitely not related to the vaccines.
GASLIGHTING 1.0. Experts say symptoms are caused by anxiety.
SUPPRESSION. Zero coverage of mounting anecdotal evidence of vaccine harm.
GASLIGHTING 2.0: ADMIT WITHOUT APOLOGY. New study shows the symptoms are related to the vaccine, but it’s rare and it’s no big deal.
ABC led the switch from ‘suppression’ to ‘admission without apology’ over the weekend with this article referencing a new large scale study (BMJ) which shows a strong association between Covid vaccines and irregularities in menstrual cycles.
Women, ABC wants you to know you weren’t imagining your own cycle disruption after vaccination.
WOMEN NEVER SAID THEY WERE IMAGINING IT, ABC. THAT WAS ALL YOU.
In 2021, ABC partnered with RMIT on a weekly Fact Checking newsletter, “dedicated to fighting the misinformation infodemic surrounding the coronavirus outbreak.” It’s as naff as it sounds.
Fact checking the Fact Checkers
CoronaCheck #63, 30 April 2021:
Can vaccines affects womens periods? Absolutely not, say ABC Fact Checkers. Absence of evidence equals evidence of absence, duh (experts say).
In the same post, ABC Fact Checkers debunk anecdotal claims of menstrual irregularities occurring in unvaccinated women after contact with vaccinated people. Don’t be ridiculous (experts say). There is no clinical evidence of this, therefore it can’t be true. Even PolitiFact says so.
A year later, Quelle Surprise! Empirical evidence of vaccine shedding is released (further research is needed to determine the mechanisms of the observed shedding).
How do ABC Fact Checkers explain women’s claims of menstrual irregularities? Experts say: they are stressed and anxious.
ABC Fact Checkers say menstrual irregularities cannot be caused by Covid vaccination. Women are just anxious. And as for women who experience breakthrough bleeds after being in contact with vaccinated people, well that’s nonsensical. You’re imagining it. Gaslighting 1.0.
Now here we are, 17 months on:
The ABC Fact Checkers were wrong. Menstrual irregularities are associated with Covid vaccines. There’s no denying it. It’s real, and it’s widespread.
In news media, when errors are printed, it is standard practice to issue a retraction. We might have expected a headline like, Experts admit error: Covid vaccines strongly associated with menstrual irregularities. Or, suggested by an Instagram commenter, Hey millions of women we medically gaslit - turns out you were right about your own lived experiences.
What we got instead was, Ok it’s real, you weren’t just imagining it (but also it’s not that bad and doesn’t really mean anything).
You know what that sounds like? The cheating partner who lies about it for a year and a half, who finally admits to cheating because he got caught in the act, but tells her it was just a one-off and it wasn’t even a real connection, and doesn’t she know he loves her, and anyway she made him turn to other women because she isn’t affectionate enough.
It’s gaslighting 2.0.
It’s psychological abuse.
The comments section on ABC’s instagram post about the article blew up with hundreds of comments in the first 24 hours. Many women commented expressing anger at having been consistently dismissed - by doctors and by the media - over concerns about menstrual irregularities after vaccination:
Or, women sharing strange and significant irregularities that they had experienced:
By Sunday evening, the comments were all deleted, and commenting has been disabled. This is literal erasure of these women’s experiences.
Deny, gaslight, suppress, admit without apology, erase.
They can erase women’s testimonies all they like, but women talk. The mountain of evidence is undeniable, and it’s not going away.
Someone in my network received her first course of Covid vaccinations at the beginning of the roll out last year. She complained bitterly about getting her period every fortnight, and this went on for months and months. It became a huge deal. She went to the doctor over and over again to get tests, but they never yielded results. The doctor couldn’t figure out what the problem was. Getting a period every fortnight caused this person significant emotional and physical stress. The issue of Covid vaccination never came up. I presume the doctor was not educated on the subject.
I didn’t put it together myself at first, because the anecdotal stories of menstrual irregularities after Covid vaccination only filtered into my awareness several months after the fact. When the penny dropped, I thought to myself - the healthcare system.
We are all being told that we must get vaccinated (and boosted) to reduce the burden on the healthcare system. How many women have sat in doctors appointments, been sent for tests, and sat in yet more doctors appointments trying to get to the bottom of their haywire periods?
In July 2022, it was announced that Covid vaccines affected 42% of women’s menstrual cycles. How many of these women went to one doctor’s appointment to address the change? How many went to multiple appointments? Now that we know that Covid vaccines are related to these symptoms and are therefore driving increased reliance (“burden”, as our politicians so charmingly put it) on the healthcare system, this should be factored into any cost:benefit analysis of the Covid vaccine program. There should be an effort to quantify the increased pressure on the healthcare system from women seeking help with vaccine-related menstrual irregularities, and this should be offset against modelling of the reduced pressure on the healthcare system afforded by vaccine effectiveness against Covid.
Naomi Wolf was booted from Twitter at the behest of the Whitehouse, which identified her as a source of Covid vaccine misinformation. She was one of the first to speak (tweet) publicly about anecdotal evidence of menstrual irregularities after vaccination. The implications of targeted suppression of this sort are considerable, if you take into account the fact that undone science is not the same thing as the absence of evidence of harm. We have no idea, at this stage, whether these evident menstrual irregularities signal potential harms to fertility. There was not, and still has not been adequate research into the effects of Covid vaccines on women’s fertility such that anyone can claim that they do not cause harm.
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