nightmare, she is choking her roommate and friend, Titus (Tituss
Burgess), who is in bed screaming for her to get off. Titus then
tells Kimmy that she needs to find someone to talk to about what
it was like being in the bunker in order to stop the random
moments of violence that are occurring without her awareness. As
a survivor of something so stigmatized (a very extreme version of
intimate partner violence and sexual assault), however, Kimmy
does not want to disclose her situation to more people than she
must. The stigma of being “mole-woman,” to Kimmy, prevents
her from living a fuller life and so she keeps this to herself.
According to researchers, this is very common behavior among
survivors of intimate partner violence and results in situations
where stigmatization is associated with avoidance and lack of
disclosure (Kennedy and Prock 6.). Kimmy portrays lack of
disclosure by not telling her close friends, many of whom don’t
find out about her past until the end of the first season, and by
finding creative ways to keeping her past secret (like introducing
herself as Kimmy Smith).
Realizing that Titus is right, she tries to talk to Siri later in
the episode about her problems resulting from previously being a
mole woman (and Siri correctly responds, “That’s messed up.”) but
ends up on a date with an older man who has dementia and,
therefore, cannot remember anything she says to him. After talking
with him for a long time, she realizes that it’s not just saying things
out loud that will help her feel better, but she needs someone who
will understand and talk with her about her feelings. The narrative
of Kimmy seeking help is one that is normal and doable. She
doesn’t automatically open up about her traumatic past but does
have the ability to see that help could be beneficial. Kimmy’s initial
resistance and eventual realization that she needs help allow for a
more complex and realistic narrative in which the main triumph
for the character is not merely survival after intimate partner
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