Brian Anders, Orlando, FL Straight, 8/27/90- 5/07/92
July 6, 2012
David M Miracle, Orlando, FL Straight 1988
I was at orlando in 1988 at straight I'll never forget the day this all began.I was already aware of straight from a former girlfriend who was there before her mother pulled her out.Anyhow I was woke early one morning by my mother & told we were going to see something in orlando & I had no ideal what was going on .When I woke from the long trip I was told to come in & talk to the director which I believe was newton .I can't remember all details I refused then mr. newton I believe his name is I can picture him little slinder guy and not real tall and wore a beared he walked around with a little man complex.After minipulating me into coming inside where I was asked some questions & it was decided I was going to stay.I tryed to refuse but three upper phasers & one staff wrestled with me until they got me in this room with no windows.This is where they tried all day to make me stand up & obey them we fought all day I was put in 4 point restaints with knees to the back legs twisted in ways that they weren't made to go.After starving all day I agreed to comply so I could eat.this is where they put someone on my belt loop with two upper phaser behind me they brought me in front ot the group where there were at least 80 to 100 kids& young adults,the boys seprate from the girls.This is where they indroduced me & annouced what drugs they suspected I was doing then the group yelled "WE LOVE YOU DAVID.The staff at the so called chair told everybody to grab there new comer & line up it was my first taste of what they call a mis behaver it was a big brawl one vs.10.This is how my whole time spent in straight was,I remeber oldcomers who had it out for me would pull your belt loop as tight as possiable to gie you a weggie I fought more then one for this.I was an abused kid physicaly since I was a young kid & no stranger to violence.I remember where they would spend all day on me trying to make me cry by accusing me of sick sexual acts while they screamed at me & spit in my face.they would tell me the same things I was hearing at home from my step DaD that I was selfish and worthless & would never amount to anything. I was useally at the top of the staffs REAM list & most of the time I would end up on the floor with rug burn and something bleeding.I spent like 14 monthes there & earned talk only one time.I watched kids carv on them selfs with floor tile & or paper clips,I even saw one kid come very close to pulling his tendents outta his arm,I watched the same kid make it out the door only to be tackeld on the black top he was tore up from the road rash on his face and arms.I remember one time me and four other misbahavers planned to take it over we were in the carpet room where wethrew a chair through the vending mechine & grabbed glass this is where thing went wrong because some how they had the upper hand with all the upper phasers not at school this is the first time i ever felt a chair up side my head.They kept me with bigger upper phasers cause I was known to go off at any time.I remember this one time they took me outta the room then when I was returned they had canndels and some sad church music playing with a table with a white cloth over it & the staff acted as if he was reading from a obitury where I was killed by an officer while robbing a pizza store.When I did make my escape with anthor oldcomer I'll never forget running as hard as we could for as long as we could. we finelly made it deep in some woods where we had to make a choice to turn around and head back toward where we just come from or cross through a swamp .Well inspite of aligators we were not going back,so we waded in chest deep water in the dead of night,Me and Gabe just tried to make jokes to keep our spirits up.WE made it & hitched a ride to Jacksonville where Gabe was from.We stayed gone for a month or so.Anyhow I did get sent back to Orlando where I stayed for aproxmly 6 more monthes,Then one day I was called up to the front where they told me I was being signed out that has been 20 years in july.I have been living a life with P.T.S.D I have had one bad situasion after anthor I have no relationship with my mother everytime Straight is brought up it becomes a dead subject my Mother wont take the blame for anything.I have been seeing differnt doctors since & have been told that I have P.T.S.D but they told me it was only temparery that was ten years ago.but today I am going today for a 2nd evaluation to see if I am eligble for disabilty hopefully it goes through if anybody would like to get in touch I would really like that & thanks for this web page.
David M Miracle
AMY H. - Orlando, FL Straight 1988 (Feb - Oct)
I’m sitting here still in shock after reading my story over and over last night. Actually, it was other survivor stories but they were the same as mine. A story that I tried to tell 20 years ago and was never heard. But, even today, when trying to describe what went on behind closed “STRAIGHT” doors, it just sounds crazy, even to me! And I lived it. I can’t explain the feelings I experiencing as I see the truth has come out about this place. It is, to say the least, overwhelming. I want to scream, and I want to cry. But, after 20 years of burying it, I can’t do either.
I, like so many others, was tricked into STRAIGHT. I was 16 years old and thought my parents were taking me to a lawyer’s office to sign legal papers so I could go to live with my best friend in Illinois (We’d just moved back from there, and like most teens, my friends were my life). I was very excited.
When we pulled up to the building I noticed there were no signs saying the name of the place. I remember thinking that something was weird about that, but then we went in and I forgot about it. I was still very naïve and trusting.
Once we were inside we were taken to an office and the “lawyer” started asking a bunch of questions about any drinking, drugs, sexual activity, etc that I’d done. I didn’t think much about it since my parents knew what I had done and that was part of the reason I was going to live with my friend and her parents. I answered all the questions honestly. The next thing I remember very clearly, is when the “lawyer” asked me if I knew where I was. That is when I knew something was very wrong and my excitement instantly turned to panic.
The rest of that day is kind of foggy. I think I was in shock. I know shortly after I found out where I was, I tried to run for the door and was tackled and held down by some girls that had been waiting outside the office. I was then taken to an “intake room” for I don’t know how long, and at some point strip searched. Then I was introduced to the “group”.
The group was divided. The boys were on the left and the girls on the right, with an isle down the middle. It was a large group. I’m guessing somewhere around 80 teens. I was taken in front of the group and where they introduced me and “my drugs”. Then I was seated in the front row of the girls side.
Immediately, I saw the group start “motivating”. This is this crazy thing that you are supposed to do to get called on in group. Everyone starts flapping their arms and heads and bouncing on their chairs. It was insane! Then, the girls next to me started grabbing my hands and putting them on my knees. Then the girls behind me started poking me in the back and pulling my shoulders back. I had no idea what they were doing and only got hushed when I asked. I was ready to start swinging on them when the group leader finally told them to leave me alone. It wouldn’t last for long.
I could write a book (heck, maybe I will) about my whole STRAIGHT experience, but right now I’m just going to tell about the some of the more serious abuse I endured. I realized quickly I was only going to get out of there if I did what they wanted, so I faked my way to the second phase. I didn’t experience much of the physical abuse during this period since I was doing what they wanted. But, there was always the humiliation and mental abuse. The first opportunity I got, I ran like hell. After a couple weeks “on the run” I was caught and told they were sending me back. I was so distraught that I started carving across my wrist with the metal part of a ponytail holder. I still have the scar today, along with the cross carved into my hand during the same period. Luckily the word “F_CK” that I had carved in large letters across my forearm faded away after a while. I had never cut myself before STRAIGHT, and haven’t done it since. I don’t think I really wanted to die, but I was clearly screaming out for help. Too bad no one heard….
When I was in STRAIGHT I learned the meaning of true humiliation. They cut off most of my hair, which was long at the time, and didn’t allow makeup or anything that might make you look or feel good. I was yelled and screamed at by both the staff and other kids. After I ran away the first time and was taken back, they really laid into me. I refuse to participate in group and they were constantly trying to physically force me to. This resulted in my being restrained over and over again. Since I was one that fought back, there were typically around 8 girls jumping on me to get me down, and once they got me down, 4 girls would hold me down in a 4 point restraint for however long. Most of time that I was being restrained the girls that were holding my arms down would kick their knees into my elbows, not in the direction your elbow bends. What really angers me now, thinking back, is that I constantly had large, nasty bruises on my arms during this time, and showed the parents at the host homes I went to, but again no one seemed to care.
They would also get in my face and scream at me both when they were and weren’t restraining me. They constantly belittled and degraded me. They spit in my face, and at times, covered my mouth so I couldn’t scream. I remember a number of times when they had me restrained and I was crying so hard and screaming, and when they covered my mouth I couldn’t breath. I think sometimes it was because I was crying so hard and my nose was stuffed up, and sometimes the hand covering my mouth blocked my nose also. I don’t know if it was on purpose or not. You have to remember, I was being restrained by other teenagers in the program, not trained professionals. At any rate, it was a terrifying experience.
They also restrained me in my seat during group at times and had someone behind me forcibly holding my head to face the person who was talking. This was supposed to make me pay attention. I was also put in an isolation room for hours and hours, and tormented by the staff repeatedly. I remember they had some policy that if you feel you’ve been abused or neglected you could file a report. I told them numerous times I felt I was abused and neglected and I wanted to fill out a report, and the only thing I got out of that was teased and tormented. They never let me file a report, or even speak to anyone about it. It was a joke and just another thing for them to use against me. “So, you think you’re being abuse, huh?” This is what one staff member came in the isolation room saying, as he was slamming his hands against the walls, and slamming the chair on the floor, trying to intimidate me.
I could go on and on about the months of abuse I suffered at this place, but I buried most of this a long time ago, and don’t care to relive every moment again. But, I’m relieved to know the truth is out now. After reading others stories, I can now share my experience and not feel like people will think I’m crazy. I know people never believed me back then when I said how bad it is. Maybe now they’ll hear.
Yes, I was a rebellious teen, but I was also a child. And what was done to me was nothing short of abuse. I was made to feel like I was a worthless and terrible person and I deserved to be treated like that. I did finally escape again, after about 8 months of that hell and even though I wanted to go home, I was way too scared that they would send me back. So, I chose to survive however I could on the streets.
My mother suffered a nervous breakdown during the 6 months I was missing and has severe anxiety and depression to this day. My whole family carries tremendous guilt and pain from this period in our lives. But, after hearing the other stories, and finally getting the validation that my parents were manipulated, and I really was abused, I now know that the guilt should not be ours, it should be theirs.
Straight Survivor – Orlando 1988 (Feb - Oct)
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