Louise Armstrong - Of Sluts & Bastards

"...The language of help and 'treatment' can be used to camoflage aggressive maltreatment and extreme cruelty, in comparison with which the placement of juveniles and 'offenders' in secure punishment facilities looks - if not benevolent - at least candid. In the correctional facility, at least the child is clear that she is being punished for what she has done. In the 'treatment' facility, she is being tormented for what she is...
"...That the smoke screen of language can convince people that the abused child's 'disorder' requires the draconian environment of a locked and heavily guarded (by 'helping personnel') facility, is nothing short of extraordinary...
"In many ways, the experience of 'treatment,' for the children, is akin to the experience of hostages: Stripped of their belongings, of anything familiar, they are subject to demands that they meet incomprehensible 'treatment goals'. They are required, in effect, to confess to thier shortcomings, incorrect attitudes, wrongdoings - in order to gain release. They are required to accept as truth (and appear to embrace) constant negative and critical appraisals. In short, they are held in captivity by adults who see them and treat them as though they were an inferior enemy...
"The techniques used by staff are remarkably similar to those used by hostage takers as well: the threat of isolation; depersonalization; routine searches, not only of space but of mind. Kids are subject to the threat of bondage (termed 'restraint'). And the kids must submit to a regular litany of coerced call-and-response about their feelings and faults that amounts to brainwashing.
"Previously ordinary things, like listening to music, are held to be 'privileges' - earned by conformity and continuous confession..."

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