©2012 rkl Restoring Dignity
During World War two, the world saw some of the most horrific crimes against humanity committed by Adolph Hitler and Nazi Germany.
One of the Nazi Party’s common practices was human experiments, such as eugenics. It is of particular interest to note that before we came to be at war with Nazi Germany, Canada did not criticize the Nazi party for these crimes. Why not?
While cases like the Duplessis orphans were contained within one Canadian province, other offending groups were global. The Christian Brother movement under the Roman Catholic Church ran orphanages throughout the world. This movement was among one of the worst offending groups involved in institutional child abuse matters in history. The Christian Brother movement’s offending history spanned over four centuries and inflicted abuse upon victims by the thousands. The Christian Brother movement was said to be defunct, the fact is they are back and on the rise.
In the wake of cases like these, have been findings of mass gravesites of children, their identities unknown. In Canada and worldwide, many cases remain unaccounted for, and those responsible go untried for their crimes.
In Canada other forms of human rights violations against children often called ‘eugenics’ were carried out as recently as the 1970’s and 80’s. Eugenics is defined as ‘the study of hereditary improvement of the human race by controlled selective breeding.’ Among the qualifying candidates identified for the movement were the deaf. The history of deaf culture itself has been a long and arduous struggle for many generations.
A number of years ago I received a report from an unnamed individual entitled ‘Eugenics in Nova Scotia.’ To date, there has been no public knowledge of the scandal. The report is scathing and based on well-founded evidence. The mere fact that such a practice would exist as recently as the late 1980’s should say something to all of us here. The problems of the past are not over. Governments and society often make comments like ‘That was a long time ago.’ ‘That does not happen anymore.’ So how does institutional child abuse relate to the present? Many of you here today are no doubt familiar with the apartheid of South Africa. You are all, as well, familiar with the Canadian reservation schemes. What you may not know is that the apartheid of South Africa was modeled from the Canadian reservation schemes.
The province of Nova Scotia has one of the highest institutional offending rates in Canada. Its offending history spans over centuries and bears internationally renowned cases.
East Chester, Nova Scotia, Canada is the site of the infamous Ideal Maternity Home best known as 'the Butterbox Babies'. The Ideal Maternity Home operated from the late 1920’s through at least the late 1940’s. Operated by William and Lila Young, a chiropractor and midwife. The Ideal Maternity Home advertised itself as maternity care for local married couples and discreet birthing and placement for children of unwed mothers. The home was the source of babies for an illegal trade in infants between Canada and the United States. While the Youngs were tried for various crimes such as manslaughter, the true measures of their crimes were not widely known until much later.
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The Youngs would purposely starve "unmarketable" babies to death by feeding them only molasses and water. On this diet the infants would usually last only two weeks. Any deformity, a serious illness or "dark" coloration would often seal their fate. Babies who died were disposed of in small wooden grocery boxes, typically used for dairy products. Thus the term 'Butter box Babies' is used to refer to these unfortunate infants. The Butter box Babies’ bodies were buried on the property, adjacent to a nearby cemetery, at sea or sometimes burned in the home’s furnace. In some cases married couples who had come to the home solely for birthing services were told that their baby had died shortly after birth.
In truth these babies were also sold to adoptive parents. The Youngs would also separate or create siblings to meet the desires of customers. It is estimated that between four and six hundred babies died at the home, while at least another thousand survived and were adopted. Even these lucky survivors often suffered from ailments caused by the unsanitary conditions and lack of care at the home.
- Excerpt from http://www.unsolvedmysteries.com/usm181662.html -by Steve Steinhauer and Ilene Seifer Steinhauer.
Society is commonly noted for believing that violence of this extreme does not exist. Violence does not end. It only assumes new forms. It is the violence of inaction, indifference and slow decay.
One group of victims, who has come more to light in recent years, are victims of the ‘Troubled Teen Industry’ or ‘TTI’. In his report to the American Congress on the Troubled Teen Industry in America, Director of Forensic Audits and Special Investigations for the Government Accountability office (or ‘GOA’), Mr. Greg Kutz stated: We found thousands of allegations of abuse, some of which involved death, at public and private residential treatment programs across the country between the years 1990 and 2007.
Among the findings cited were:
• Claims of abuse and death in pending and closed civil or criminal proceedings with dozens of plaintiffs alleging abuse.
• Allegations posted on various web sites advocating for the shutdown of certain programs. One site on the Internet, for example, they identified over 100 youth who it claimed died in various programs.
• Untrained staff.
• Lack of adequate nourishment.
• Reckless or negligent operating practices.
The committee heard from the parents of youth who died in private residential programs `- the result of abuse and neglect afflicted by staff members of these programs.
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The stories of those who testified left witnesses stunned, heartbroken and angry. Stories included a sixteen-year-old boy who was literally starved and hiked to death, and youth deaths resulting from serious medical neglect. In his testimony before congress, father of sixteen year old Aaron Bacon, shared the following:
His mother and I will never escape our decision to send our gifted sixteen year old son to his death at North Star.” “Aaron was taken from his bed at 5:00 AM on March 1, 1994 by two burly strangers who announced to Aaron with a tone of authority that any resistance on his part would be countered with whatever physical force necessary.
I cried inconsolably from the depths of my soul as the escort van drove out of our driveway with our terrified son, pleading silently with his sad eyes for us not to send him away. This excruciating scene would have to serve for the rest of our lives as the last living memory of our beautiful son.
Former youth testified to cruel and unusual punishment and severe injury. Members of Congress responded saying that the word abuse`` simply did not go far enough to adequately describe the horror of the evidence they heard. Rather, the term `torture` - worse than what is commonly ascribed to in third world countries.
The CIA, in its "Human Resource Exploitation Training Manual - 1983" (reprinted in the April 1997 issue of Harper's Magazine), summed up the theory of coercion thus:
The purpose of all coercive techniques is to induce psychological regression in the subject by bringing a superior outside force to bear on his will to resist. Regression is basically a loss of autonomy, a reversion to an earlier behavioural level. As the subject regresses, his learned personality traits fall away in reverse chronological order. He begins to lose the capacity to carry out the highest creative activities, to deal with complex situations, or to cope with stressful interpersonal relationships or repeated frustrations.
Inevitably, in the aftermath of torture, its victims feel helpless and powerless. This loss of control over one's life and body is manifested physically in impotence, attention deficits, and insomnia. This is often exacerbated by the disbelief many torture victims encounter, especially if they are unable to produce scars, or other "objective" proof of their ordeal. Language cannot communicate such an intensely private experience as pain.
Spitz makes the following observation:
Pain is also unsharable in that it is resistant to language ... All our interior states of consciousness: emotional, perceptual, cognitive and somatic can be described as having an object in the external world ... This affirms our capacity to move beyond the boundaries of our body into the external, sharable world. This is the space in which we interact and communicate with our environment.
But when we explore the interior state of physical pain we find that there is no object "out there" - no external, referential content. Pain is not of, or for, anything. Pain is. And it draws us away from the space of interaction, the sharable world, inwards. It draws us into the boundaries of our body.
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By using negative reinforcement models we are teaching these children that ‘might is right’. Through this act of subjugation, we ensure that hierarchy of discrimination and conquest passed down through the centuries continues.
Hand in hand is the nature of institutional environments. For many years private schools in countries like England were commonly referred to as 'Sodomy factories'. The reference to this was a pattern of rampant sexual abuse in these schools among students. Senior students sexually abused the younger students as a rite of passage. This behavior became a social norm in schools as the behavior was passed on from one generation of students to the next.
Likewise in current institutional constructs for troubled children and youth, we see similar behaviors. By placing troubled children with other troubled children we inadvertently promote anti-social behavior.
Indeed, many of the survivors from these programs suffer from severe anxiety and depressive disorders, most commonly, `Post Traumatic Stress Disorder` (PTSD). Many do not have access to much needed medical and mental health counseling services. Many live in abject poverty. Sadly, many victims also suffer (undiagnosed) from Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI).
While the GOA`s report stated `thousands`, the truth of the matter is, the numbers of institutional child abuse survivors in most countries would easily be found in the millions. The lack of accounting for this can easily be identified by a reference in the GOA`s report.
In his report Mr. Kutz stated: We are unable to identify a more concrete number of allegations because we could not locate a single Web site, federal agency, or other entity that collects comprehensive nationwide data related to this issue.
I believe that the highlights of the GOA`s report are merely a symptom of a much more systemic wide problem in the child welfare system. America needs a national inquiry into the entire child welfare system. Most notably, eighteen facilities in twelve different states were investigated; there are fifty states in America.
The industry is now being headed up in Canada. The threat of this industry is very real for our young. Restoring Dignity remains steadfast on eliminating this threat.
In 1998, thirteen-year-old Stephanie Jobin died after being physically restrained by two staff members in an Ontario group home.
In 1999, just months after Stephanie’s death, thirteen-year-old William Edgar died from asphyxiation because of a physical restraint in another Ontario group home. The death of thirteen-year-old William Edgar was later ruled a homicide. (http://www.cyc-net.org/cyc-online/cycol-0703-tragiclives.html )
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In his May 2004 report, The Youth Criminal Justice Act: One Year Later Matthew Geigen Miller, a survivor and advocate with Defence for Children International stated:
For some years now, child rights advocates have been concerned about deaths of young people in young offender custody or detention facilities. In September, 1996, sixteen-year-old James Lonnee was beaten to death by another young person at the Wellington Detention Centre in Guelph, Ont. In July, 2001, fourteen-year-old Paola Rosales hanged herself at an open detention centre in Milton, Ont.
In August, 2002 a sixteen-year-old girl hanged herself in a police holding cell in Moose Jaw, Sask. In October, 2002, sixteen-year-old David Meffe hanged himself in his cell at the Toronto Youth Assessment Centre. In the past year, two more young people have died while in custody in Ontario: A young person in open custody died after jumping from a facility van while it was moving in traffic, and another young person hanged himself at the Sprucedale Youth Centre.
This is not a complete list of deaths of young people in custody in Canada in recent years. No such list exists, making it difficult to track mortality trends in the youth justice system. This partial list does, however, allow the tentative conclusion that suicide is the dominant cause of death in custody, and that it is a persistent, and possibly growing, problem. (http://www.scribd.com/doc/111628275/The-Youth-Criminal-Justice-Act-One-Year-Later-Matthew-Geigen-Miller-1-754-words-Newsletter-May-2004-1 )
In 1997, Ashley Smith, a nineteen year old Canadian troubled teen hanged herself while in custody of a federal corrections facility. For four years, beginning at the end of her preteens, Ashley served time in eleven institutions and five provinces. The circumstances surrounding her death later led to an inquest. (http://www.cbc.ca/fifth/2009-2010/out_of_control/ )
The scientific research is clear, these programs don't work for kids, and they are costing taxpayers gross amounts of money. It is a complete waste of taxpayer dollars. The provinces need to be held to account for sending our kids across the border into these conditions.
There also needs to be federal Government intervention to establish 'national standards' for this issue and, moreover, the entire child welfare system. Because this is a cross border issue, our national communities need to foster international relationships to protect the rights and well being of children and youth from this danger. I think what is interesting to note here is that the Troubled Teen Industry is simply generic of prior child welfare constructs IE – the Child Migration schemes.
The safer alternative to negative reinforcement model programs is cost effective, keeps kids in family environment, in their communities, in their cultures and provides far more support than any known program to the kids and their caregivers. (See example http://www.mtfc.com)
The position of Restoring Dignity is clear; we do not support the current Troubled Teen Industry programs or facilities.
©2012 rkl Restoring Dignity
We support the 'positive reinforcement models'. However, while these programs and facilities continue to operate, we do support safer and better standards that protect the welfare and safety of all children and youth.
In recent years Canada has seen new high profile matters of institutional child abuse. The sexual abuse case of Graham James, a Hockey Coach who recruited the National Hockey Legaue players Sheldon Kennedy and Theoren Fleury. James claimed to have assaulted both of his former players hundreds of times over the course of many years while they were teenagers. James was subsequently stripped of many of his titles and awards. James continued his coaching career in other countries until the Canadian Hockey Association and the national press pursued him.
On December 7, 2011, James pleaded guilty to sexual assaults involving two of his former players, former NHL star Theoren Fleury and Todd Holt, a cousin of Fleury's. James was sentenced on March 20, 2012 to two years in prison, required to submit a DNA sample to national sex offender registry, and given a lifetime ban on "volunteering in a position of trust to children.”
In early 2012, Scouts Canada became embroiled in a child sexual abuse scandal. Scouts Canada Chief Commissioner Steve Kent issued an apology on behalf of the organization. Boys Scouts Canada also had KPMG conduct a forensic audit of the sex abuse claims. Their report while helpful was not thorough. As was the case with countless institutional child abuse matters, the apology and subsequent report was met with criticisms from victims, press and experts.
Rick Turley, convicted pedophile and one of the Boys Scouts most notorious offenders assaulted children in the United States and Canada. Authorities on both sides of the border failed to stop him. Turley’s reign of abuse ensued for two decades. Lawsuits involving the Boy Scouts of America uncovered some five thousand suspected child molesters named in confidential files. The “perversion files” as they were dub named by the organization, included unsubstantiated tips as well as admissions of guilt. These files were suppressed for decades by the organization. The clergy sex abuse scandals with the Roman Catholic Church bear a similar pattern of cover-ups hence fostering decades of the abuse of children. In sports, there has also been the recent American scandal of the Penn State University sex abuse scandals involving foot some five thousand suspected child molesters named in confidential files ball coach and convicted pedophile Gerry Sandusky. In the entertainment field child sex abuse scandals have rocked Hollywood.
Another form of institutional child abuse is the practice of Polygamy within groups like the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS Church). The core population of FLDS Church polygamist sects is located in both Canada and the United States of America.
Polygamy is defined as the practice or custom of having more than one wife or husband at the same time. Both the male and female Polygamist survivors claim that while in compounds run by FLDS orders, they suffered harsh treatment and sexual abuse. There are also reports of child labor. Female children barely reaching their teen years are wed and are bearing children to men double and triple their age. Many boys and young men are being forced out of the polygamist compounds by the male polygamist leaders in a bid of competition for young females.
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News reports tell of excommunicated, older youth renting spaces big enough for groups of ten with underage youth. These youngsters ‘The Lost Boys’ face the outside world of the compounds unprepared ant at great risk. There have been also allegations of sexual abuse of male children laid against Polygamist leaders. There have also been allegations of a mass gravesite of children buried in unmarked graves in the state of Utah.
In February 2012 Child Welfare experts in Canada reported to the media that the Foster Care system was in crisis. Among the concerns these experts raised were under resourced services, over crowded homes, lack of factual data, lack of proper reporting processes resulting in poor outcomes for children. This was no surprise to Restoring Dignity, its friends and partners. Canada also needs a national inquiry.
A former employee with the Children’s Aid Society in the province of Ontario told us that that agency admitted in an internal report that fifty one percent of children under its care were abused. The public are kept in the dark about these figures. According to our research this is also true nationally. There seems to be a misguided perception around the world about Canada. Canada is viewed as the more progressive country on this issue. In May of this year, the United Nations child advocacy agency ranked Canada eighteenth out of thirty-five industrialized countries when child-poverty rates are compared with overall poverty rates. Aboriginal children are among the poorest outcomes. To date Canada and the United States are the only two countries in the western world, which have not had an inquiry. They say there is no future in the past, but if you don't understand the past you are bound to keep repeating it.
Children have also become pawns for the pharmaceutical industry. Drug testing standards for children do not exist.
In November, 2003, Dr. Michael Rieder, a Canadian pediatric clinical pharmacologist reported in the Canadian Medical Association Journal If you look at the adverse-drug-reaction literature, kids have been the sentinel canary for a lot of bad things in drug theory for quite a long time.
In an interview with American Talk show host, Bill Moyers, American author, Melody Petersen author of OUR DAILY MEDS, New York Times reporter for four years on how drug companies market medication, and winner of a Gerald Loeb Award in 1997, one of the highest awards for business journalism had this to say:
We've come to a time when decisions on how to treat a disease have as great a chance of being hatched in a corporate marketing department as by a group of independent doctors working to improve the public's health. In too many, cases, whether a medicine helps or harms a patient has become secondary to how much it will bring shareholders in profits.
Children are being over medicated resulting in permanent injury or death. – All in the name of profit. In a high profile case I represented back in 2009-2010 I was tasked with helping a troubled teen and his family in an institutional chid abuse matter. During the course of my investigation I received a report respecting a telephone interview between the family, government authorities and the facility staff. In that conversation the family expressed concerns about a drug staff were issuing for their child. The drug in question was Seroquel, an anti psychotic.
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When the family complained that the dosage for their son was too high, the residential psychiatrist remarked that that was not a concern as he was prescribing two thousand milligrams per day of Seroquel to a six-year-old resident.
Institutions are not the appropriate place for our young and we know this. We have known the developmental needs of children for years and yet continue to ignore the scientific literature on this. Children need family environments for the consistency in forming a healthy identity.
So much pain and suffering... So much indifference… So what are the keys to balancing this equation?
Author, Alice Miller once wrote:
Suffering is the fear-ladden,painful anticipation of the past; 'Suffering is the result of primal wounding of a child before he or she can understand abuse, articulate his or her pain and outrage, or bear the pain of being unloved and uncared for.
Because a child's system is not capable of handling or processing the ideas of rejection and abuse, he or she represses the memory, which lingers on to affect negatively his or her ability to function as an adult while striving to avoid the pain of the past. And no traditional psychotherapy and analytic techniques offer help in accessing and resolving this repressed pain.
Alice Miller, Author, in her book "For Your Own Good, wrote: The truth about our childhood is stored up in our body, and although we can repress it we can never alter it. Our intellect can be deceived, our feelings manipulated, our perceptions confused, and our body tricked with medication. But someday the body will present its bill, for it is as incorruptible as a child who, still whole in spirit, will accept no compromises or excuses, and it will not stop tormenting us until we stop evading the truth.
I think it is important to note the emergence of more scientific approaches to addressing the problem of childhood trauma. Science has not been historically integrated in the field of mental health.
So it is therefore, in my view, a vital step toward a more practical, realistic inquiry on the issue. Theoretical approaches are helpful but must be viewed in balance of such investigations.
In understanding the impacts of childhood trauma, many factors must be taken into consideration – genetics, culture, gender, disability and environmental factors and influences. In essence we are not all built or designed the same and so how one might endure trauma is likely different from another.
That said, I have been asked if we could present on the current literature on ‘neurodevelopment/neuropsychiatric aspects of child abuse’ ‘what implications this research has for reports in which you could advise the courts as to the effects in adult life of child abuse and treatment for adult victims and prognosis’. Further, on the ‘enlightenment as to the neurobiology of child abuse/PTSD etc which was not covered since Professor Gordon Turnbull addressed the neurobiology of PTSD about ten years ago. ‘