I was then transferred to another WWASP facility in Mexico, Casa by the Sea, for eight months. In my two and a half years in WWASP’s custody, I was beaten, physically neglected, and mentally, emotionally, and physically abused. Education there was an afterthought, at best.
When I finally returned home, there was no continuing care or support for me. I felt isolated from my peers and family, and shamed and stigmatized by what had been done to me. I also thought that mainstream psychiatry endorsed what had happened to me. For almost seven years, I didn't speak to anyone about what had happened to me and was scared away from seeking professional help.
Finally, one night, the need to connect to and talk with other survivors about my experiences led me to the internet and there I found CAFETY. I quickly became a dedicated volunteer. Although, at first, I also worked with other survivor groups, eventually I chose to focus my time exclusively on CAFETY because I felt their threefold mission of empowerment, education, and advocacy was the most effective. I also liked that CAFETY worked with and for survivors and victims of all abusive facilities, not just specific schools or modalities. Additionally, I valued CAFETY's coalition buidling effforts, finding allies in the most unexpected places. CAFETY welcomes parents, who are too often vilified in this movement, and mental health professionals, valuable allies in this fight through both practice and in research.
I have served many roles for CAFETY over the years and done many things, I now serve as the Director of Outreach and Chapter Development. I am working with CAFETY's director, Kathryn Whitehead, on developing a program intended to support chapters spearhead local education and advocacy efforts and build capacity to continue accommodating the extensive interest of volunteers to meet their technical assistance needs and empower them to act in their own communities.
CAFETY has a vision to focus on starting new chapters anywhere possible and growing those and existing chapters to be forces to be reckoned with in their local communities. To do that, we need financial support. A donation to CAFETY is one way to help us in our fight for justice for the cast off and abused youth and survivors who desperately need a voice and an ally in this fight for the basic human rights of children. I sincerely hope we can depend on your generosity, and thank you for your continued support.
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