The Rules Were There To Keep Us Safe

The Rules Were There To Keep Us Safe

Status: Finished

Genre: Memoir

Details

Status: Finished

Genre: Memoir

Summary

One of my experiences and encounters with abuse in a level 4 lock-down facility.

Summary

One of my experiences and encounters with abuse in a level 4 lock-down facility.

Content

Submitted: September 18, 2012

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Content

Submitted: September 18, 2012

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I remember living in what they called “the unit”. The unit scared me. From the moment I walked in, I realized I was in one big jail cell, with one smaller jail cell with the words “Solitary Confinement” on the door. Looking at the room as a whole, there are rows and rows of cubicles, wooden cement-blocked barriers that curved into a square missing half of itself. In these cubicles was a tall wooden block that was cemented to the floor and long enough for our bodies. At night, they would bring us a thin mattress topper we could put on the block and sleep on.

That was the only time we were allowed to lay down or sleep.

That's where the punishments started.

We had very strict rules, and if we did not follow the rules we were “punished”. They called these punishments “Cms – Care Methods”. What a CM really was can simply be translated into one single morbid word:

Abuse.

We had a number of ways of doing things and everything had to be done in accordance with the rules, it was as if we were actors who all had scripts and if one person missed a line we had to start all over and do whatever we were doing or whatever we were saying from the beginning, and in the “right way”.

We were not allowed to “feed in”. Feeding in was acknowledging any other person in the room other than yourself. Which meant, you cannot look at anybody, you cannot speak to anybody, and if you need something you must raise your hand and ask for what you need in the “appropriate way of speaking”.

I'll give an example.

I'm sitting on my bedbox cross-legged, face facing my feet like I am supposed to sit and I feel that I have to go to the bathroom.

I raise my hand.

“What?”

“Excuse me, Miss. _____ , May I please use the bathroom?”

“Why didn't you go during bathroom break? Can't you wait for the next bathroom break? There's one coming up in 30 minutes.”

“I'm sorry, Miss. _____, I did use the bathroom during the break, I really need to go again and I don't think I can hold it.”

“Fine.”

I stand, make sure my shirt is tucked in like it always had to be and raise my hand once more.

“Yes?”

“Excuse me, Miss. _____, May I please pass and approach to the bathroom?”

“Yes.”

I had to ask to “pass and approach” because the bathrooms were located to the side of unit staff's front perch of sorts. They kept all their papers they would write about us in our charts on that ledge and stand there on stools so they could stare at all of us from our cubicles. They were always writing, everything we did. If they saw us raise our eyes, or saw us scratch an itch, they would pencil it down into our charts. When passing and approaching you must keep your eyes down even more than usual so that we cannot catch a glimpse of what they are writing.

I keep my head down and walk from my cubicle to the door of the bathrooms, whereMiss. ____ is waiting for me.

“Bathroom check”, says Miss. ____

We walk together into the bathroom, to the last stall. I stand to the side, she opens the stall and looks in. She motions me to raise my arms and spread my legs. I do so. She puts her hands on me, starting from my ankles checking all sides of my legs for whatever she thinks I could be hiding. She continues up my legs, to my pubic region, she seems to need to check that more thoroughly. Everything I have been taught about right and wrong since I was a child is telling me to scream, to run away, to fight back. But the rules of this place are strict and we must follow them or we will be punished.

Miss.____ walks out of the stall area, to the opening of the bathroom and I leave my stall door cracked and count to 30, my allotted time to urinate.

I pull up my pants, tuck in my shirt, and exit the stall without flushing and stand by the door.

Miss. ____ comes back and checks the stall one more time.

“Flush.”, she says.

I flush the toilet, walk to the sinks and wash my hands while counting to 15, my allotted time to wash my hands.

I get a paper towel and count to 10, my allotted time to dry my hands.

I throw away my paper towel and walk up to Miss. ____.

“Thank you, Miss. ____. May I please pass and approach back to my bed box?”

“Yes.”

I walk back to my bed box, and resume my seated position of crossed legs and looking down to my feet.

That was doing things in accordance with the rules.

The rules were there to keep us safe.

I'll give another example:

I'm sitting on my bed box and I realize my shirt is not fully tucked in. That is against the rules. I could get a CM for that. I need to tuck my shirt in. I stand up to fix my shirt and before I can realize I have made a mistake the alarms start going off in the unit, the other patients scream “TRUSTED AREA” and run to where we are supposed to go during restraints, a corner of the room.

I start to go myself until I realize it is me, I am the restraint, and I am knocked to the ground. For a moment I don't know what is going on, all I can see with my face firmly on the tile is feet. More and more feet running towards me, eventually adding more pressure to the mass of people holding me down and ensuring I cannot move.

They are hurting me. I can feel my ribs crushing into the ground, my neck choking from the massive puffy hand holding it down from the back.

I start to struggle. I cannot breathe, I am in panic. I jerk as much as I can, claw as much as I can, kicking, flailing, anything I can do to loosen a grasp.

I get myself to my knees, a mass of people pulling me in every which way in hopes to get me back flat on the ground.

A staff member grabs me by my hair, drags me to the middle of the room where they would have more open space and my face slams to the ground as my hair breaks. My nose and mouth begins to bleed while they continue to pile themselves on top of me resumed into my facedown stance.

Their hands are everywhere. Not just holding down my arms and legs, but clenching my breasts, pulling at my pants, grabbing at my vagina. My pants are pulled down and I am given a shot of Haldol into my buttcheek. They keep me there, touching me, abusing me, until the meds kick in and I am limp.

They carry me to a special bed in the corner. The bed with the net.

They put me in the restraint net and leave me there.

I fall asleep.

The rules were there to keep us safe.


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