While institutionalized for three years as an adolescent in the early 1960s, Dorothy was labeled a “schizophrenic” and forced to undergo 40 combined insulin coma-electroshock “treatments.” She experienced and witnessed many atrocities and believes that luck, determination, her own anger, and one compassionate advocate were here best friends on the road to her survival. Dorothy’s story, “The Shocking Truth,” appears in ‘Beyond Bedlam,’ and her writings on abusive psychiatric practices have been published in The Boston Globe, The Boston Herald, The Detroit Free Press, and The Miami Herald.

The Killing of Susan Kelly

The dark-suited man slithered,
Shock box in hand,
To our bedsides, four girls, innocent, naked,
One by one.
Zapping currents through us,
Young bones cracked, brains bruised
By his cold-fingered electrified touch.
Crime completed,
In collusion with white-skirted nurses,
The limb holders,
He slinked back into the early morning frost,
Steaming hot coffee in hand,
Leaving us quieted, flat as pancakes.

And Susan,
The soft white sheet covering her,
Did not move at all.
His shocks had stolen her, skin and bone,
That beautiful flaxen-haired child,
At seventeen,
Silencing her questioning stream
Of daily chatter, her ballet dreams.
In her innocence, she had spoken for me,
Muted and crushed by endless sizzlings.
Inches away, I did not hear her silent call
As she slipped into death’s embrace,
Beyond –
Where her little fingers hold the violin
  strings to my heart,
Playing them like a marionette
In the gentle breezes of heaven.

(c) Dorothy Washburn Dundas

Document Actions