Given the death of her mother and illness as result of this tragedy the author was forced to participate in a wilderness program and sent to a boarding school soon after. The boarding school which according to their marketing claims to be able to deal with problems concerning teenagers. However they gave up and referred the author to the Peninsula Village Treatment center. It has not been determined to whom the referral fee normally given to medical staff or education consultant was paid to
A couple of days later, I was told I was being sent to a more “intense therapeutic environment”. Once again, at around three in the morning, two “transporters” picked me up from the program, took me to Buffalo airport in New York, and once again was off on a flight now to Knoxville, Tennessee. I arrived at Peninsula Village on September 3, 2004 which is a level 4 lockdown facility in Louisville, Tennessee. Peninsula Village was the gate keeper to the abuse I would endure for the following six months. My very first day, I was overcome with fear and the highest level of anxiety I have ever felt. I was strip searched, and following the search was instructed to take a shower, however staff would be monitoring me. They would be able to be in plain view of me at all times. Privacy at Peninsula Village did not exist even in the least bit. I refused to shower if they were going to watch, so two staff came over to me, as I was collapsed on the bathroom floor, shaking uncontrollably and absolutely hysterical. They grabbed my upper arms, and dragged me across the bathroom floor, out across the carpet of the unit, and dropped me on the cold blue floor of the “time out room”. I was told to sit there, with my back against the wall, and not to move until permitted to do so. They then left me in there, for a substantial amount of time. Little did I know that the “time out room” would be come ever so familiar? Later on that day, I stood up; I had been sitting there for a long time, in which I was ordered to sit back down. I refused, and said I just needed to stand up for a minute. At that moment, two staff came from behind, grabbed my upper arms once again, and started kicking the back of my knees, in which I inevitably fell to the floor, face down, an alarm went off, in which staff from the entire property came running in. They were pinning me to the floor, and upon others arrival, there would be seven or eight staff members on top of me, holding me facedown to the floor. There was a staff on my arms, on my back, on my legs, and on my ankles, as well as one holding my head to the floor. During this first restraint (out of many more to come in my stay) I vomited, while being pinned to the floor. I tried to lift my face from it, in which a staff would hold my head down, right into my own bile’s. I felt like I was suffocating and honestly did not know if I was going to make it through that restraint alive. I was in ultimate fear for my life. I was only around 120 pounds, which for my height of five foot and nine inches, is underweight. I struggled trying to breathe with all of these people sitting on me, as well as trying to breathe with my face being held to the floor, and in my bile’s. After this 30 minute restraint, I was carried into the “time out room” in which I was stripped of my clothing, and was changed into blood stained hospital gowns.
The first two months I was at Peninsula Village, I was restrained a total of forty two times and twenty two of those restraints, were mechanical and chemical restraints. That was only the first to months, which many more to come. Some days, I would be restrained several times in one day. An example of my longest restraint is from October 14, 2004. Physical restraint was initiated at 7:13 AM; I was transferred to the restraint bed in which a body net was used, at 7:40 AM. At 10:50 AM, I was released from the restraint bed, only to be physically restrained again, at 11:02 AM, moved back to the restraint bed, and was not released until 9:25 PM. During that time, I was given 0.5 MG of Klonopin and 5 MG of Zyprexa.
As a result of restraints, I had bruises all over my body. At one point, they had to order X-Rays of my wrist and jaw, from one of my restraints. I had also filed a grievance against one of my counselors, in which Child Protective Services had to come in and investigate. The results of the investigation; however were supposedly, that the abuse was unsubstantial.
A simple breakdown, of what life was like at Peninsula Village, beyond all of the restraints was sickening as well. We sat on our beds, most of our waking hours, were prohibited from looking and/or speaking to any of our peers. The only time we were allowed to speak at all, was if granted permission by staff, or in therapy groups. I was denied access to a phone at all times, unless I had the privilege of family therapy. Our mail was monitored, both incoming and outgoing. In communication with my father, I was prohibited from speaking about what was going on daily. We were forced to attend a chemical addiction group, even if we had no substance abuse issues. I have never had a substance abuse issue, yet they convinced me I was addicted to downers and being restrained. Confrontational therapy is what they practiced. We were also forced to study the Native American Medicine Wheel spiritual opinion. Bathroom times were on their terms. If we had to go when it was not bathroom break, we had to wait, and if it was a real emergency they would allow it but then you would get consequence for it later on in consequence group. Who ever thought of being consequence for having to use the bathroom? We were not allowed to talk except in group therapy or if we raised our hand and were actually called on. You had to sit on your bed with your back up against the wall. If you got off your bed, or just hung your legs out (from sitting Indian style) to stretch them, you would be restrained. There were level systems which always made me feel bad about myself. When you were restrained they would strip you of your clothing and make you wear hospital gowns until you contracted to move up to wearing scrubs then contracting to wear your clothes. The director of my unit at the time was not licensed he was actually denied by the board of health so he was misrepresenting himself. He told me once, "If you think you are smart enough to get kicked out of here and escape it here you are wrong" I would not see my dad for weeks sometimes over a month. My family therapy sessions would get taken away from me in which I could not talk to my dad much less see him if when I was talking to my dad and I tried to tell him how bad it was there they would end the family therapy session right there. They also told him I was incompetent and did not know what I was talking about when he heard me tell him about my bruises. I was covered in bruises from the head down. My mail was monitored by staff both outgoing and incoming. When we went to the bathroom, we were timed. We had to tell them how long we needed in the bathroom. One minute to pee, two minutes for a bowel movement, and an extra 30 seconds if we had our period. A level 2 would check our stall before we could flush, and if we were not out of the bathroom on time, we were consequence. Our showers were monitored, in which a level 2 would run shower time. We had 7 minute shower time, in which you had to shower, brush your teeth, comb your hair, put on your deodorant, and get dressed. If there was hair left in your brush or toothpaste in your sink, or a hair in your shower stall, you would be consequence. The level 2 would watch us undress, and would keep a close eye on us, which made me feel highly uncomfortable, as some of them would stare at me as I was undressing to shower.
In order to talk to staff, you had to raise your hand, and if 3 hands went up in the air, we had to do a 5 minute halt, in which we all had to stand (completely still) and stare at the clock on the wall, and staff would walk around and check to make sure our eyes were focused on the clock; if we were not, or if one of us fidgeted, or moved, we had to start the time all over.
We ate our meals on our beds, we did our schoolwork on our beds, and we would have quiet time for about 4 or 5 hours a day. We were not allowed to look at our peers, make any form of contact with them. Peers would confront others for any little thing you did wrong, everything from leaving a hair in your shower, to being "entitled".
We never went outside, except to walk out the door (escorted) and down the stairs to nursing. We were not allowed to look out the windows, not allowed to look at male staff if they came on the unit. The staff would pick on me, because when I got nervous, I would have an "incongruent smirk" on my face. A nurse that I speak to now from Peninsula Village claims that they knew from the very beginning that I did not belong there, yet they kept me there. I was a private pay patient.
Our counselors had no formal training, nothing more than a GED or high school diploma. Some of them were only a few years older than me. They were the ones there with us all the time, running our groups, and everything that was done on the unit.
It was constantly beaten into my head what a worthless excuse of life I am and that I am just an entitled little bitch.
They performed psychological testing on me, and determined that I was "malingering", yet they kept raising my dosage of Antipsychotic Medication, to a dose that most have never heard of.
The testimony continues on the homepage listed as source below. The author was transferred to another facility, where they discharged her to freedom after succesful treatment.
- The original story on the home page of Troubled Teens Survivor Network
- Datasheet about "The Village", which the facility was renamed to after it was sold to new owners.