File under “heartbreaking” and “you can help”

Sofia Benbahmed has an eating disorder. She’s had it for over a decade and in the last few years, it has gotten worse. It got so bad that she needed full-time live-in treatment, where she would be monitored during and after meals, go to individual and group therapy, and be cared for by doctors, dietitians and a nursing staff. She sought treatment at such a facility last year and made some progress. In her own words:

During my time there I began to feel myself changing and rising to the occasion in a way I never had before. It was as though all of these years I have been in a room with no doors or windows, and suddenly doors began to appear – and not only did they become visible, but I began to walk through them. It is the only way that I have been able to describe it.

Three weeks after she had arrived at this facility, Sofia’s insurance policy changed hands, and her new insurance company stopped covering her treatment. Now, Sofia’s life is genuinely in danger. She needs treatment, and she can’t afford it. Currently, her treatment costs more than $30,000 a month, and that’s with the treatment center knocking off almost $10, 000 because of her financial situation.

I found out about Sofia’s case through The Fat Nutritionist, who brings a more macro view of the situation:

Eating disorders prey on some of the most marginalized members of society: girls, women, gay men, as well as people who suffer from depression, OCD, or illnesses that make eating a pain in the ass to begin with. They prey on people of all skin colours and ethnicities. They prey on people who’ve been tormented into believing that fat is a fate worse than death. And they kill people who don’t have the money to get better.

Sofia doesn’t have the money to get better. But she is trying to raise it. If you can spare the money this week – her fundraiser ends on the 15thplease consider donating. You can donate to her, or you can give directly to her treatment facility. You can find out more about Sofia’s fundraising effort, and even get in touch with Sofia herself and ask her how you can help, here.

Thanks to the wonderful Kate Harding for the tip.

New York, NY

Chloe Angyal is a journalist and scholar of popular culture from Sydney, Australia. She joined the Feministing team in 2009. Her writing about politics and popular culture has been published in The Atlantic, The Guardian, New York magazine, Reuters, The LA Times and many other outlets in the US, Australia, UK, and France. She makes regular appearances on radio and television in the US and Australia. She has an AB in Sociology from Princeton University and a PhD in Arts and Media from the University of New South Wales. Her academic work focuses on Hollywood romantic comedies; her doctoral thesis was about how the genre depicts gender, sex, and power, and grew out of a series she wrote for Feministing, the Feministing Rom Com Review. Chloe is a Senior Facilitator at The OpEd Project and a Senior Advisor to The Harry Potter Alliance. You can read more of her writing at

Chloe Angyal is a journalist and scholar of popular culture from Sydney, Australia.

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