November 10th, 2005
|10:53 am - Child camps
Unregulated camps run by convicted child molesters. For $4,000 per month, you can pay for your teenage child to be 'broken' by emotional and physical means. I can't tell you how evil this is. The camps are in countries where there are no child abuse laws. Parents or step parents sign away their rights. Some of the youngsters kill themselves, because there is no escape.
"My feeling is that the majority of kids who talk about suicide,
they're not suicidal," Strawn said. "What they are is manipulative."
Yet die they do. I sometimes wonder what would I do? What would I do if I was imprisoned in a camp which demanded total obesience to a bunch of abusive rednecks? Fight? Refuse to eat?
Remember these youngsters have not been convicted of anything.
"When most children first arrive they find it difficult to believe that they have no alternative but to submit. In shock, frightened and angry, many simply refuse to obey. This is when they discover the alternative. Guards take them (if necessary by force) to a small bare room and make them (again by force if necessary) lie flat on their face, arms by their sides, on the tiled floor. Watched by a guard, they must remain lying face down, forbidden to speak or move a muscle except for 10 minutes every hour, when they may sit up and stretch before resuming the position. Modest meals are brought to them, and at night they sleep on the floor of the corridor outside under electric light and the gaze of a guard. At dawn they resume the position.
"This is known officially as being 'in OP' - Observation Placement - and more casually as 'lying on your face'. Any level student can be sent to OP, and it automatically demotes them to level 1 and zero points. Every 24 hours, students in OP are reviewed by staff, and only sincere and unconditional contrition will earn their release. If they are unrepentant? 'Well, they get another 24 hours.'
"One boy told me he'd spent six months in OP.
I didn't think this could be true, but it transpired this was not even exceptional. 'Oh no,' says Kay. 'The record is actually held by a female.' On and off, she spent 18 months lying on her face."
Metafilter discussion here.
Some people have infinite capacity to be cruel. They latch on to children, and other helpless people, to exercise their desire to abuse. I am literally shaking as I type this.
|November 10th, 2005 12:04 pm (UTC)
But you gotta blame the parents first, haven't you? Strawn (wasn't he a gunman with a metal nose in Cat Ballou?) is just a perv doing what pervs do, but he wouldn't get near it if these parents weren't abdicating their role. When I'm world president, parenting will be a compulsory subject in schools and I'm not sure people won't need to pass an exam to bring up kids.
In the meantime, I know why you get all het up not being able to cvhange things - I do too, in fact I think it's why I write h/c - but in the end it'll just upset you to no purpose, unless you can think of a way to change things, and I can't say one occurs offhand. Not a legal one, anyway. I suppose we could console ourselves thinking what a lonely old age those parents will have. At least I hope they will.
Yes, I do blame the parents. It's so wrong to abdicate your parental role.
it'll just upset you to no purpose
Yes. I think that's right. I usually try to just avoid these things and this one crept up on me and suddenly I was flooded with emotion.
|November 10th, 2005 12:12 pm (UTC)
There's a discussion on Tranquility Bay on Barbelith here
, which has a lot of links to various testimony and survivor groups. There may be something we can do to help.
I'm afraid I'm scared to follow that link.
My feeling is the most promising route is to write to the government of Jamaica (in this case). However, it's a hardline government, in a poor country that needs the income. How bothered are they gong to be about some rich american kids? I don't know.
|November 10th, 2005 12:26 pm (UTC)
looks like a good place to start. (Also, I read a Young Adult novel which I now realize must have been by a survivor of 'Straight', called Come Clean
, which I mention in case you're interested, but I hated it - in fact I couldn't finish it and put it out for recycling, because I didn't want to be responsible for exposing anyone else to the level of violent homophobic abuse it contains.)
thank god someone is doing something about it
i think the clean light of day is the best disinfectant for these abuse camps
some of the stories on that site are literally too upsetting for words
also - this is linked to Scientology? I always thought that was just a joke religion.
|November 10th, 2005 02:47 pm (UTC)
I don't know about the Scientology thing (it may not be directly linked with Straight/WWASP but be another cult that the anti-Straight people are trying to expose/protest, I noticed a link from their site to something about treatment of children in Hare Krishna communities in the 1970s).
I haven't poked around the site, because (like you) I'm squeamish about exposing myself to the stories, so I'm trying to find some ways of helping out without having to listen to the testimonies as I just don't have the spare psychic energy to withstand that at the moment.
That is both scary and depressing :/
A bit too depressing. I probably shouldn't have posted it, because - helpless to do anything.
Well, sometimes you just have to post this stuff because WTF? At least it's one step up from it getting ignored.
yes, it's very upsetting. someone on barbelith (that gair linked to) said this is the criminalisation of adolescence
In Britain they sit on children in psychiatric wards.
yes, that's true, that should have more publicity too
I wish it was literally unbelievable, because it was preying on my mind all day
Not in a sufficiently good state to click the links, but is Amnesty aware of this? They can be quite effective, and it would seem to fall in its remit.
That's a very good point, I'll look into it
Thank you for posting this.
I read the Guardian's exposé of the Tranquility Bay camp some time ago, but hadn't realised that there was a multiplicity of these (literal) institutions. What the parents imagine they're accomplishing does beggar comprehension.
My feeling is that the parents have unaddressed emotional issues of their own. Many of the things they are complaining about - back chat, staying out late, untidy room - this is just normal for teenagers. Trying, for sure, but normal. I'm so angry with all the adults involved.
Straggling in with a comment here, I'm struck by the link between this post--your response to it, mine--and your post a few days ago about failure of imagination being a key factor in many forms of abuse and neglect.
Sensitive people can all too easily imagine the feelings of those being neglected or abused, and therefore could never bring themselves to do such things.
At the same time, those of us with ready imaginations have to be extra-vigilant in what we expose ourselves to.
I can all too easily imagine what these children suffer. I can NOT imagine what makes their suffering okay in the eyes of the perpetrators or their negligent parents.