News2022-03-14T15:11:22-07:00

BREAKING CODE SILENCE NEWS

Interview with Sophie, Breaking Code Silence with Social Media

by Sydney Schuck We are honored to be sharing the story of a brave survivor using Tiktok to break code silence and reaching hundreds of thousands of people with her story, Sophie Harned. Sophie, also known as ‘futuretripping’ on Tiktok, is a survivor of the programs Second Nature Blue Ridge Wilderness Therapy and Greenbrier Academy for Girls. She spent her time in 2018 at these programs. During her time in wilderness therapy, Sophie developed frostbite that went untreated, developing into complex regional pain syndrome that she still struggles with today. Similarly to a lot of survivors, Sophie grappled with wondering: "In spite of all the physical pain I was in, I still so badly wanted to believe that suffering was going to be worth it. I wanted to believe the programs were good and fair. When I got to GreenBrier, I couldn’t lie to myself anymore." Sophie spoke on the cult-like practices that are infamously common in the TTI, and how she felt like she knew that she lost time for attempting suicide at fourteen years old: "...part of it was the grief over knowing I’d lost the next year of my life for trying to kill myself at fourteen." It is common among survivors to grieve the time they lost while spent in programs, as it can be a range from a few months to years or more of time lost to the TTI. Despite many programs preventing students from speaking to one another as another form of ...

August 28, 2021|Categories: Awareness|Tags: , , , |

The Facility Reporting Map

New survivors are being created every day from these programs. Often when they leave, they aren’t aware of the avenues they have in order to report the abuse they suffered. That is one of the reasons we created the facility reporting map to easily provide survivors with information that will help empower them and report abuses. The new facility reporting map has over 5,000 current troubled teen programs, juvenile detention centers, group homes, residential treatment centers, and wilderness programs. This map was created with the hopes to aid people in abuse from their programs and/or the staff to the local licensing bodies. To view the map, navigate to https://www.breakingcodesilence.org/facility-reporting-map/ Here you will see the map which can be overwhelming at first from a high level: To better find your program, click on the button on the top left-hand corner of the map to have the key fold out: The map is organized by phased states. You can roll your mouse over each division to see which states are part of which layer. If your program was located in one of these states, click the downward arrow to view all items. You will now see a list of programs in alphabetical order. If you click on a program name, information about that program will pop up. On the top of the program details, you’ll see basic demographic information about the program. Scrolling down, you’ll see more information such as: Their state licensing contact (if available) How to report child abuse ...

August 28, 2021|Categories: Advocacy, Awareness|

June 2021 State of Breaking Code Silence

Our Awareness Pillar and Media Relations Team have done an incredible job working with journalist Kelly-Leigh Cooper and supporting other survivors in sharing their stories. We are so grateful to Ms. Cooper and the BBC for shining a light on a dark industry and providing survivors a central platform to speak their truth and be heard on a global level. Our Breaking News Team covered topics related to PTSD and queer/trans issues throughout the month of June. We supported a campaign to ban conversion therapy in the UK. Meanwhile, Canadian lawmakers passed a bill this month outlawing LGBT conversion therapy. In America, only 20 states have legislation outlawing conversion therapy. Even then, as many TTI survivors have witnessed, and as an undercover phone call to a facility revealed, there are loopholes. Even without the “conversion” label, programs at times specifically target LGBTQIA+ youth for harassment and abuse. Read more about the dangers and prevalence of conversion therapy here. Our Social Media team has kept our community informed of new developments, articles, and legislation concerning the TTI. Earlier this month, Oregon introduced two bills aimed at regulating the industry. The team helped lead a campaign inviting our community to send letters of support to Senators and Representatives. We were elated to hear that with the passage of SB 710 and SB 749, Oregon is the first state to regulate transport companies and “education consultants.” They have also banned prone and supine restraint in residential and wilderness programs. Visit Thought Reform ...

August 16, 2021|Categories: State of Breaking Code Silence|

Ben Trane Loses Appeal, Ordered to Prison for Sex Abuse

On August 13, Judge Mark Kruse entered an order indicating the conviction of Ben Trane stands and ordering Trane to report to the Lee County, Iowa, jail within 30 days. Judge Kruse further ordered Trane to be transported to the Iowa Medical and Classification Center in Oakdale to serve his sentence as originally imposed. Trane appears to have requested a further appeal bond and has been denied, although the full order is not available at this time. In September 2017, Trane was accused of abusing the children under his control when he was the owner and director of the now-shuttered Midwest Academy, a notorious “troubled teen program” located in Keokuk, Iowa. After the campus was raided, searched, and shut down by authorities in January 2016, Trane was eventually arrested and charged with several counts of sexual and physical abuse. Trane’s victims were minor children living full-time at the residential facility.  Midwest Academy was opened in 2003 by Trane and Brian Vaifanua, formerly the owner of another notorious teen program, Paradise Cove in the country of Samoa. After Paradise Cove shut down, Vaifanua sought property on which to open a new program in the U.S. and settled on Keokuk, Iowa. Trane took over Midwest entirely a few years later, running it with the assistance of his wife, Layani. Midwest was a for-profit program claiming to specialize in reforming so-called “troubled teens”, such those struggling with drugs and alcohol, performing poorly in school, or suffering from mental health issues. However, no ...

August 15, 2021|Categories: Advocacy|Tags: , , , |

The Breaking Code Silence Online Archive

Zotero is a free and open-source reference management system to manage bibliographic and data and research materials. Some of the good features include web browser integration, online syncing, etc. Survivors have long needed a collective archive of historic documents, news stories, records, etc in a centralized location. Without copying other people’s content, we will be able to use Zotero to organize and search content by topic, program, and date – even if it’s hosted on another activist’s page. The hope is that this archive will make it easy for survivors, parents, reporters, documentary makers, researchers, and even law enforcement to quickly find relevant information about a specific program, program owner, etc. Currently, the archive has over 7,500 articles, documents, and pieces on it. Over the new few months, we will be adding tens of thousands of articles, documents, etc. To use the archive, navigate to https://www.zotero.org/groups/4288739/breaking_code_silence/library in your browser. Once there, you will see several folders on your left-hand pane. Documents, articles, research, and records that pertain to specific programs are under the Programs folder. In each of these subfolders, you will find additional information about that program. By clicking on a folder, you will see the content in the middle pane. On the bottom left-hand pane, you can also see tags for the folder you highlight. If you click on the top Breaking Code Silence, you can see ALL the tags for the library. Almost every item is tagged by program, state, etc and you may filter by ...

May 2021 State of Breaking Code Silence

What a month! Breaking Code Silence volunteers are working hard and making progress on numerous projects and programs throughout May. The Activism Model & Training Team is at work creating an easily accessible training guide to bring a safe, effective, and appropriate strategic model of activism that empowers us to multiply our reach and create historic change. The Administrative Team has created an onboarding guide, internal communications guide, code of conduct, and several other policies to guide daily operations and the culture of the organization. Our skillful Information Security Team has been updating our website with new and previously developed content, helping our social media volunteers with strategy, and digitizing old program footage. The Mission Control Team remains dedicated to sharing weekly updates of progress by all teams, as well as making sure those updates are shared with our community of survivors, advocates, and supporters. Our Legislation Team has made significant strides in building out our Federal coalition for the introduction of our upcoming bill. Our partnerships will be announced publicly soon! The Media Relations Team aired the “We are BCS” live event at the beginning of May (YouTube link), announcing our official status as a nonprofit organization. The team made a new partnership with Chula Vista Safe to stop a new Acadia facility from being built. The Breaking News and Awareness Teams have published multiple breaking news articles, available on the Breaking Code Silence HUB. They also sent a guest speaker to the "I Don't Get It" podcast. ...

April 2021 State of Breaking Code Silence

Breaking Code Silence has been busy! We have accomplished an incredible amount in just the last few weeks. The Activism Model & Training Team is at work creating an easily accessible training guide to bring a safe, effective, and appropriate strategic model of activism that empowers us to multiply our reach and create historic change. The Legislation Team has created regional teams and specific task forces, discussed federal legislative objectives, and scheduled meetings with new and established contacts. Internal and community Communication Teams have launched the weekly State of Breaking Code Silence website report and our monthly Breaking Code Silence Newsletter to share updates with all of our volunteers, the greater survivor community, and the general public. The Reporting Team has created a streamlined reporting process for survivors reporting ethical violations. The Program Investigation Team has continued with ongoing investigations into multiple programs accused of institutionalized child abuse.  This team has grown rapidly and has created specialized teams to look into specific programs. The Media Team has created a press guide to aid survivor volunteers with press engagement, began looking into unique opportunities for new publication forums, and has taken a carefully crafted approach to empowering survivors to share stories and bring about opportunities for awareness and partnership. The media team produced a community video that inspired and united survivors in supporting each other and creating change for future generations. The Administrative Team has created an onboarding guide, internal communications guide, code of conduct, and several other policies to ...

Breaking Code Silence: Advocacy on Social Media

By Sydney Schuck Since the beginning of social media, there have been creators who have made it their mission to raise awareness and bring attention to social issues. With the rise of the popularity of #breakingcodesilence and #troubledteenindustry we can see the direct impacts on awareness and individuals sharing their stories. The hashtag ‘Breaking Code Silence’ has a collective 178.8 million views on tiktok, and 7.1k posts on Instagram. This hashtag is filled with many creators who have sought out to share their stories of time spent in the troubled teen industry. From wilderness therapy programs, therapeutic boarding schools, boot camps, conversion therapy and more, you can find hundreds of accounts sharing funny moments, to the hardest, saddest parts of the TTI. Social media has allowed survivors to connect with each other and even in some cases meet up with fellow program survivors. Within support groups and virtual support meetings organized through social media, survivors can share mutual feelings and find a community to connect, grow, and heal with. With over a dozen groups on Facebook, and even more accounts on Instagram dedicated to helping connect others, it is easier than ever for survivors to find each other and come together to support one another. One amazing resource has been the monthly TTI Zoom Support Group. Created and hosted by survivors, and for survivors only, this virtual get-together is held on the first Friday night of each month. Social media has also been a popular avenue for programs looking ...

Signs & Symptoms of PTSD

Post traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD, is an often misunderstood illness. Evolving from earlier conceptualizations such as ‘shell shock’ and ‘war neurosis,’ PTSD can occur in any gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, or culture (Crocq, M. A., Crocq, L. 2000). PTSD is in the category of Trauma and Stressor Related Disorders in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition (APA, 2013), the diagnostic system used by mental health professionals. The media portrays PTSD as an illness that primarily affects military veterans and sexual assault survivors (Purtle, J. et al., 2016). It also tends to show an incomplete picture of PTSD, highlighting violent flashbacks or emotional reactivity; popular media may commonly depict someone with PTSD hearing a loud noise while driving and then throwing themselves in a ditch to take cover, or yelling at their loved ones for no reason. While these descriptors may reflect aspects of PTSD for some, they are not fully representative of the diverse experiences of those who suffer from PTSD. To understand the signs and symptoms of PTSD, we first need to understand what PTSD is. According to psychiatry.com (APA, 2021): “Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a psychiatric disorder that may occur in people who have experienced or witnessed a traumatic event such as a natural disaster, a serious accident, a terrorist act, war/combat, or rape or who have been threatened with death, sexual violence or serious injury. ” In plain terms, PTSD is diagnosed in people who have witnessed, experienced, or heard ...

Massachusetts Bill Would Offer Protections for Youth in RTCs

Senate Bill 1270 is a request bill that was submitted by the parent of a survivor and introduced by Senator John Cronin of Massachusetts. This bill will grant any child placed in a Massachusetts mental health facility the right to appeal their placement through a hearing process. The two exceptions would be if the child were sentenced due to a criminal conviction, or if the child is admitted at Bridgewater State Hospital. The bill also breaks down the various iterations of "mental health facilities" that will be included in this legislation. This bill would provide children the basic human right to speak and be heard in advocating for their best interest. The bill could also bring attention to abusive situations, whether that be an abusive facility or a dangerous family situation. Considering the stark imbalance between the reasons children are often placed in these facilities and the acute discipline they often encounter once inside, this bill will provide recourse in pursuit of fairness and justice. Breaking Code Silence is reaching out to Senator Cronin for further collaboration, and we hope to be an active role in assisting in the passage of this important legislation. Read the Bill here

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