Tuesday, May 10, 2011

A story about High Impact (Testimony)

This is a partial reblog of Caroline Elise's experiences about being transported to a so-called motivation boot camp in Mexico, which enjoyed a lot of respect among counselors and educational consultants around the millenium. However it was later shut down by the authorities. The full story can be read on the blog of Secretprisonsforteens, which is a Danish Human rights organization.

A story about High Impact

It was a Friday.

I remember because I was in my bathroom getting dressed to go to my friend Lorina’s house. I had just turned 15 two weeks before I was taken. My mom and grandmother picked my best friend Alyssa and I up at the bus stop and took us over to get frappuccinos from Starbuck’s. We window shopped at a near by boutique and shortly after went home. My grandmother was in from North Carolina for a visit, so I assumed it was just a nice, normal time with family. Little did I know it was to distract me so that a man and woman could hide in my house to kidnap me. Alyssa and I made plans to hang out later and we said our goodbyes; I had no idea, but it would be for years.

My mother was going through a divorce so our home in Texas was up for sale. While I was in my bathroom, on the phone, getting dressed my mother knocked on the door and told me there were some buyers that wanted to look at my bathroom. I walked out into my connecting bedroom and there stood a towering, muscular man with a long black pony tail. I thought he wanted to buy my house at first, but all of a sudden he very quickly rushed me and threw my phone against the wall. He tackled me on my bed and I started screaming for my mom, but no one came. He then started explaining to me that I was going with him to Mexico and there wasn’t anything I could do about it. I was so confused, scared, and shocked so I tried to run. In came another woman I had never seen and they held me down and hand cuffed me on my bed. Crying and screaming they drug me out of my room and down the stairs. At some point my instinct told me to try to get away while we were going down the stairs. I started fumbling with the hand cuffs and realized that they were fake. I tried to time it just right so we could be at the bottom of the stairs so I could run. At this point my mother and grandmother were blocking me, but I managed to get out of the hand cuffs and throw a coffee pot. The big man tackled me and forced me into the back of a rental car. He told my mom to grab belts to hog tie me, because I was kicking and screaming and trying to get away. By this time I knew my mom was in on this and I was tied up. I saw Alyssa through the front window of the car crying with her mom. I think her mom had explained what was going to happen to me when we got home from Starbuck’s.

He then started explaining what was going to happen to me. He said that I was going to boot camp so that I can be good, that it was in Mexico, and we were going right then. He told me that we are driving there and unless I wanted to drive from Texas to Mexico this way that I need to stop trying to escape. Tired, scared, and coming to the realization that I was trapped, I agreed. I said my pleading goodbyes tearfully to my mother and grandmother, and we drove away. I immediately and not obviously started thinking of ways to escape from this child locked backseat. I am 15, I have no money or resources, and I’ve just been kidnapped by some greasy 6 plus foot, prison looking man whose name was Charlie. I don’t remember what they woman’s name was, but she was pregnant. I know because during the struggle I had kicked her several times in the car and remember actually feeling bad about it. I asked her why she would have this kind of job in her condition, and she just replied that she was bored and needed the money. Years later looking back at that statement I guess she liked doing it. For hours we drove and they asked me if I was hungry. I wasn’t but I wanted to get the car stopped so I could have some kind of chance to get help. When he got to the drive through I thought of screaming for help. They had trusted me enough at this point to let me have my window down and I started trying to eye ball the handle of the outside to escape. The woman saw my eyes or something because she rolled it up quickly and locked it. I didn’t eat that night… I just couldn’t. I was getting over the flu so we stopped and go some cold medicine and they let me use that bathroom. After I took the medicine I just passed out all night.

When I awoke all I could see where red mountain rocks, and sunshine. We were in the middle of no where, no cars, no buildings, just giant red mountains. Even though I was being kid napped I can still remember thinking how beautiful it was. We continued to drive for hours just talking; I don’t really remember what about except he told me that he knew it wasn’t all my fault. He said that my grandmother had told him that my mom was an alcoholic and just isn’t doing well with me. The more we talked the more I grew to like them; I think the more they grew to like me. Finally we arrived at the border and there was a payless shoe store with a pay phone outside. Charlie allowed me to call my mom and she picked up. I cried and begged her to let me come home but she told me it was the best thing for me and I was going. Apparently they weren’t supposed to let me call her because it was against the rules; I never asked why he let me but I think it’s because he understood better. We got back in the car and drove across; I don’t know how we got in seeing as though I never had a passport and still don’t to this day. I don’t remember how much farther we drove but we came to a long dusty road until we hit a giant, twenty foot, chain gate. The gate had to huge doors that opened up so we could drive inside, and I wasn’t allowed out until they were shut and locked.

Charlie and the woman had never taken anyone to this particular facility so they couldn’t give me any information on the program. They told me they would stay with me for a while and we were greeted by one Mexican named Papa Miguel and two Mexican women. It was a large dirt track covered in sand and little pebbles and on the side what seemed to be a broken down couch or back seat of a car. There was no roof over this huge chain gate facility and on one side there were two big chain doors that lead into the boy’s side and one to the girls. We opened the gate and I heard a loud, angry, Spanish voice scream “swaylo.” All around me I saw girls immediately hit the deck with their arms over their heads; Some girls were laying in the dirt so I was really confused. This part looked similar to the track part except it had a big, hunter green, cloth tent with a concrete slab in the middle. The sides of the tent were rolled up and inside was a bench table and suit cases lined up and down the sides. The girls were called out of “swaylo position” and lined up to get there mats out. They all sat down and just began staring at the floor. Along the sides out side the tent there were four of five dog cages with sand and rocks on the bottom. There was also a concrete outside bathroom out of a horror story. It had no door and had only cold water. The three showers were divided by small concrete walls and a big drain in the middle. Also there were two dirty sinks and three toilets with trash cans beside of them because it was not equipped to flush paper. Beside the bathroom was another fence to hang what I guessed to be was a clothing line and a hole cut out in the wall where the women stayed at night while we slept. Along the fence and tent were lines raked in different directions to show us where we shouldn’t be stepping, which we did as part of morning chores. The kidnapers and I sat down at the bench and Papa Miguel called one of the girls over to start explaining the rules to me. She was considered trusted to be able to help the workers because she was leaving in a few days. She was young, maybe 14, wearing purple sweats which I thought was strange because it was so hot. They make you wear them all day while running and at night when its freezing cold you must earn your warmth. She looked almost scared to look into my eyes and asked Papa Miguel for permission to roll up her sleeves. She was granted permission and began explaining the rules.

  • No talking to anyone for any reason
  • No looking anywhere but the floor at anyone, anywhere for any reason.
  • You can not burp, go to the bathroom, roll up your sleeves, stand up, or move without permission.
  • You will be marching (running laps on the track) for four hours a day, in sandals.
  • You must complete 2,000 laps to graduate this program and everything you do wrong will result in laps you have earned being taken away (thus being farther away from going home).
  • You will have chores, exercise, and six hours a day of Alcoholics anonymous tapes, accompanied by worksheets of each tape.
  • She explained to me when you are bad you will be sent to the dog cages until you comply and must remain in what they referred to as R.R position on your chin and not be able to count the laps you run for the day if you are lucky enough to get out.
When she finished Charlie and the women got up. They looked shocked too. They told me they felt bad about leaving me there and I started crying because I have grown to find what little comfort I had left with them. They hugged me goodbye and I was shown to my cut out piece of carpet mat.

The rest of her story can be read on the blog of Secret Prisons for Teens

Other sources:
Datasheet about High Impact on Fornits

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