Received an email from a former student. He was ok with us posting this letter (we withheld his name until the appropriate authorities can be contacted). We have received quiet a few letters from former students echoing the same thoughts. We will consolidate and start placing them on the website (which is under construction).
Much has been said about what happened at Victory Children’s Home prior to April 24. As a former enrollee in the academy, I have first hand knowledge and want to inform you and your readers about this. First of all, thank you for bringing the plight of the helpless to the forefront.
My year at VF was nothing short of miserable and torturous. When I read about what POWs endured in foreign countries, I cannot help but think how similar my experience was to theirs. The only difference, I was being tortured in the USA. Many times, food was withheld from me. I was not allowed to go to the bathroom and had to defecate in my pants only to be ridiculed by my instructors and other students (who were forced to do so). I was slapped, hit, beat up in numerous time both by instructors and by my fellow students (again against their will as it was them or me getting beat up).
People will think that the students sent here are bad and that is why this behavior is acceptable to reform our youth. They will also say that this treatment was necessary to break the kids will and build them back up again. All I can say is that kids need love, guidance, and role models, not abuse. Sure, our will was broken down, but it was never rebuilt and we have to live with this scar for the rest of our lives. I visited a psychiatrist for about 1 year after I left the place and I often times still have nightmares about what I endured.
My thought on why this is hard to prove comes down to one word – FEAR. Kids are afraid of the consequences of what will happen to them once they tell the outside world the truth. VF does a great job of telling the parents and others how we will manipulate, deceive, lie – do whatever it takes to get out of our place. Parents, who are emotionally weak at this stage and want their kids to improve, will always believe the academy and the academy will get away with lying to everyone. They can fool all the people all the time, or at least have until now. Also, kids are warned by the instructors not to say anything negative about the place. We are told that the staff will find out about it and then the kids will have to pay the price. When my parents came to take me out, I was forced to tell them all was well with the place and hide the facts that I was being beaten up and abused. I had to do this to survive the place and am assured that others followed the same survival instinct.
Once I found out about what you are trying to do, I decided to help you. I will try and reach out to other former cadets so that they can come out and tell you the truth. My means are limited, but my motivation is high. I am willing to talk to anybody you like.
Thank you for believing in us.