#breakingcodesilence is a movement organized by a network of survivors and advocates to raise awareness of the problems in the Troubled Teen Industry, and the need for reform. By using our many voices to tell our stories, we aim to create change and protect vulnerable youth from abuse.
Each year, thousands of teenagers are held, most without consent, in residential treatment centers. These for-profit programs present themselves as therapeutic treatment centers, and operate with impunity due to lack of government oversight. Teens can be held for years in facilities that claim to treat mental health and perform behavior modification but do not follow psychological guidelines for treatment.
The “treatment” these children receive is often far from therapeutic. Instead, the abuse can leave survivors with lifelong trauma, including PTSD. This systemic abuse goes back decades – many of these programs have been shut down only to have others take their place.
Without government intervention, thousands of teens will continue to suffer abuse. Some have even died or even taken their own life to escape the trauma. Countless victims have suffered after returning home from these facilities as a result of the lack of mental health treatment and unresolved trauma.
Programs and facilities like this exist globally and throughout the United States. They advertise themselves as premier rehab and treatment centers but are instead for-profit, privately-run detention centers. These programs deceive desperate parents and abuse the children they claim to help.
What is Code Silence?
In many programs, "Code Silence" (or a version of) is used to dominate students through forced silence, meant to socially isolate students until they reach a breaking point. This oppressive silence can last for days, weeks, months, even up to years, if the student does not progress in the levels. This form of treatment causes feelings of frustration, abandonment and separation anxiety (the side effects have proven to result in complex trauma symptoms years after release). By literally taking the children's voices away, the program takes away their right to express themselves, report abuse, and make relationships with other students. Socialization and the developing brain of a teenager are extremely important. In a toxic totalitarian environment, the last thing a child needs is to be silenced, and that silence ends today…
We will speak so that they can be heard.
We will be silent no more.
#BreakingCodeSilence was created to encourage survivors of institutional abuse to stand up and testify about the abuse in their programs. We speak out today not for ourselves but for all the victims suffering from no voice and no hope of rescue.
#UnitedwithOneVoice is a testament to the realities of the troubled teen industry – by us, the survivors. We hope this demonstration of empowerment and support for all survivors will gain widespread awareness which will fuel legislative action. In previous years, we have fought to bring forward Federal legislative reform. Ultimately it stalled in the House of Representatives and let this failing system prevail. By telling our stories, we will unify our voice that:
This cycle of abuse and corruption needs to stop. We are not disposable. We demand justice!
Do you want to tell your story?
If you are a survivor, former staff, or family of a survivor and want to be part of speaking out through #breakingcodesilence, please: