The author known as Xandir gave permission to have her story published on the webpage Reddit. All rights belong to the original author.
.....Continued from Part 2
The program director and other administration on several occasions acknowledged that Tranquility Bay, another WWASP program that has now much to my relief been shut down, did indeed have an infamous history of reported abuse. He used this to say that we were so very “fortunate” to be in Cross Creek and not at programs like that. Yet kids who were “acting out too much” at Cross Creek were sent to Tranquility Bay as punishment. Some have said that Tranquility Bay was merely a “last resort” or that the things that happened at TB were just a “part of Jamaican culture” but I would have to strongly disagree about both of those things. Since when is abuse ever an appropriate option? It isn’t. No matter what someone has done, it’s not okay. It is also extremely racist and ethnocentric to say that abuse is just a part of the culture of Jamaica, especially when you look at American society, which I could very well say the same thing about.
Shortly after I left the program I was raped. I shared what happened with my mother, who then told me, like Cross Creek did, that it was my fault, I asked for it, and that I should have known it would happen. She then proceeded to share her own twisted version of the story with my Cross Creek therapist, who shared it with my group. I was mortified and my self-esteem was completely destroyed by this utter lack of confidentiality and complete betrayal of trust.
It has taken me so much time to recover and de-program myself from all of the lies I was fed at Cross Creek. It took me a while to realize just how badly and inappropriately I and others had been treated at this facility. It’s not to say that there were not a few small kernels of wisdom that I can still use from the program, but they came at such a huge cost. My soul feels wounded from the things I saw and experienced at Cross Creek and healing will be a continual process.
If there was one thing that I gained from my experience at Cross Creek, it was realizing that no one regardless of their past or current actions deserves to be treated the way this program and other WWASP facilities treated me and so many other students. Abuse is abuse, no matter how you slice it. This realization along with other life experiences is partially responsible for my current carreer path regarding abuse prevention and recovery, as well as my involvement and activism in the human rights movement.
Even if you choose not to believe me or anything that I have written, there are piles of evidence to support the idea that there is mistreatment at Cross Creek and other WWASP affiliated facilities. A little bit of research will reveal that this lawsuit is not the first that WWASP or Cross Creek has faced. My therapist used to use a phrase when he suspected that kids were “dirty in their program.” He used to say “Where there’s smoke, there’s fire...” That is certainly the case with WWASP and Cross Creek. There is a reason that the Coalition Against Institutionalized Child Abuse, Community Alliance for The Ethical Treatment of Youth, and many other organizations like them exist. There is a reason why seventeen WWASP affiliated schools have been shut down. There is a reason there have been so many lawsuits. Clearly if all of this has happened, I must not be completely insane.
The rebuttal against this argument has included that Cross Creek is no longer a part of WWASP. This argument is pretty much void seeing as they are still directly affiliated in that all of the WWASP affiliated programs still use the same seminars as each other, the same escort service, the same billing company, and are all still a part of Teen Help LLC, the marketing arm of WWASP and the entity that processes admissions paperwork. They also refer to each other and send children to other WWASP affiliated facilities when one facility can’t handle them. I don’t think it would be at all presumptuous to conclude that the people who ran WWASP are the same people who are still raking in all of the money with these programs.
WWASP officials claim that the organization itself is out of business, probably because of their infamous history of abuse, but clearly all of the WWASP programs are still affiliated and WWASP has not completely faded out. Many schools have changed their names multiple times, including Cross Creek (formerly Browning Academy) and it’s clear to me that there is a lot of shadiness and hiding goes on with in these programs. It seems as though WWASP and it’s affiliates are trying to sweep some things under the rug, and outright lie to parents, students, former students, and the general public.
Here’s a bit about the history of WWASP and Cross Creek. WWASP was founded by Robert Browning Lichfeild. He started Browning Academy, now Cross Creek, the first WWASP affiliated school in 1987, at a time when he had little money and was living in a small apartment with his wife and four children. His field of study was in business (he attained absolutely no credentials or education in psychology, therapy, or education) though he never graduated college and within several years he had become a very rich individual and had added many more schools to his chain of “behavior modification”/”tough love” schools. He was indeed mormon and has, in several interviews stated that God was his inspiration in starting these schools and one of his goals was to “get kids in touch with their higher source.” He is also a major contributor to the Republican party, donating thousands of dollars each year http://www.city-data.com/elec2/elec-LA-VERKIN-UT.html. From what I’ve read his massive sum of money and big political influence have gotten him and his colleagues out of the situations in which he and his criminal organization have been questioned. But please, do not take my word for it. Do your own research. This information is readily available to those who are willing to look.
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