By Cyndy Etler: For More Info, Go Here…
When I was a kid, my mother locked me in a warehouse and left me there. For 16 months. Her husband had been beating and molesting me, but then I hit puberty and started fighting back ― and nobody wants to deal with a loud, angry teenager.
The warehouse was occupied by a “tough love” program called Straight Inc. Straight branded itself as a drug rehab for kids. The American Civil Liberties Union called it “a concentration camp for throwaway teens.” Straight opened in 1976 with a single facility in Florida; over the years it would branch out to include operations in California, Georgia, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Ohio, Texas and Virginia. My stint began in one of the more brutal branches in Springfield, Virginia; I finished my time in the Stoughton, Massachusetts, warehouse.
My story starts out like your standard Oprah guest’s: My father died when I was 1. My mother needed a place to live. She shacked up with a guy with a foxy accent and a home. The guy turned out to be a sadist, an alcoholic, a Chester the Molester who began abusing me when I was in first grade. Ho-hum almost, right?
Except then I turned 12, grew some balls, and got loud when he fucked with me. And then I turned 13, and he beat me into a corner while my mother stood and watched. And she didn’t move a muscle when I begged her for help. So I ran the hell away. I turned 14 in a homeless shelter for kids.