In the Jack Nicholson classic film One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, evil Nurse Ratched and here minions treated psychiatric inmates like dirt. At the time the film was released, the story was thought by some to be an extreme, almost cartoonish indictment of mental institutions. In the years after, we discovered it was not a cartoon at all, but a deadpan description of a sick and corrupt system.
"But it was overly dramatic," one might say, "Jack Nicholson dies in the end."
The sad truth is that between 1950 and 1985 more people died in mental institutions in this country that died in all of America's wars, from the Revolutionary War through the War in Iraq.
But there is an element of the abuse in psychiatric wards that wasn't addressed in Cuckoo's Nest -- sexual abuse.
How wide spread is sexual abuse? In a shocking UK study of 16 psychiatric institutions that was newly released, every female patient in a mixed-sex ward reported sexual abuse. This is according to a study's findings published in this month's British Journal of Psychiatry. The psychotics are in control of the institutions.