I am a member of your interim team, Vanessa, and I am a survivor. I spent several consecutive weeks locked in an isolation room that was retrofitted into the building. The poor design resulted in the walls of my isolation room inadvertently surrounding the air conditioning vent, with the thermostat outside. Thus, cold air constantly blasted me because the outer rooms—and thermostat—remained warm. I was bitterly cold and used to fantasize to pass the time.
I would imagine myself and the other girls standing outside and watching the school burn. I would imagine the warmth of the flames on my face, held by firefighters who allowed the whole thing to just burn to the ground. I fantasized about men in military-style black canvas uniforms dropping through the ceilings on zip lines and rescuing us. My mind would watch them grab us and pull us out. I would even imagine a pastor coming and doing some kind of sorcery that turned the twisted hearts of the staff. I also daydreamed of an ethical therapist coming, discovering the horrid behaviors, and putting a stop to the abuse that we received from the teachers, nurse, therapists, and even police. In the center of that bitterly cold isolation room, I would plan what I would say at the hearing where everyone would listen to what had occurred and truly believe us in light of the unrefuted evidence.
I enlisted in the Marine Corps. I was a firefighter. I went to seminary. I even married a pastor. I became a certified victim’s advocate. I went to graduate school. I hold four Master’s degrees and am completing my final year of a PhD. I became a therapist- specializing in trauma.
All my roles reflect the rescuers I fantasized while trapped at Cross Creek Manor. I have personified each and every protective or rescuing role I imagined. I truly appreciate that badass, 15-year-old who lives in this 41-year-old body—an architect who built something strong out of hauntings. However, personal successes born from hauntings are never enough.
I never dreamed that the rescuers could be thousands of us, typically living alone with these hauntings for so long, but now joining together walking in solidarity with each other and with those currently locked away —
My hope is that we orient to our unified purpose, that we unite our voice in one message:
Know that we are in the effort to achieve that goal:
- we are rapidly building out an infrastructure to organize our collective efforts
- we are incorporating as a non-profit organization
- we are already onboarding volunteers to get positioned when we are able to launch as Breaking Code Silence, Inc.
Here is how to join and what to expect:
- Sign up at breakingcodesilence.org
- You will receive a welcome email and invitation to subscribe to our email communications to receive weekly updates and communications.
- We will communicate the onboarding process along with the timelines and updates about our incorporation.
- As a legal entity we must hold to standards. You will receive various documents to sign as we have them finalized. These include volunteer agreements, Code of Conduct, Non-disclosure agreements (many volunteers will have passwords, access to sensitive survivor information and we must protect those breaking code silence) etc.
- You will be assigned to a team lead who will serve as an organizer and liaison.
Some projects are active, others will be launched when the infrastructure is in place. This means some skillsets are needed now and some are needed for essential work in the near future.
We are building this with you!
We want to clearly communicate this to ensure not needed yet is not received as not needed at all.
There are many dimensions to this endeavor, so bear with us as we coordinate our efforts to prevent institutional child abuse in residential facilities, empower adult survivors to engage in positive self-advocacy and protect the civil and human rights of youth in congregate care.
To those locked away—We are coming.
To these terrible programs—We are coming.
Together, we are BREAKING CODE SILENCE.