Monday, December 16, 2013

Documentary ‘Kidnapped For Christ’ Exposes Christian “Ex-Gay” Teen Torture Camps

“Kidnapped for Christ” is a new documentary that tells the shocking stories of American teenagers sent against their will to an evangelical Christian boarding school in the Dominican Republic where school personnel attempt to rid them of feelings of same-sex attraction or other “ungodly” influences.
[Students emptying water from a trash pit as a punishment]
Many of the students of the school are the children of Christian parents who believe their sons and daughters’ same-sex attraction can be eliminated by the school’s program of Bible study, brutally hard work, exercise and physical punishment to break the students down.
Screen Shot 2013-12-14 at 2.44.15 PM
The boarding school is Escuela Caribe, an evangelical Christian reform school that is run like a prison camp by an organization called New Horizons Youth Ministries.
“They mess your mind up,” said former student Deirdre Sugiuchi. “Prisoners have more freedom than we had.”
The film follows the stories of several American teenagers who were taken from their homes and sent away to the Dominican Republic be “fixed” for problems ranging from sexual orientation, to having panic attacks, to drug abuse.
Via “Kidnapped for Christ” Kickstarter page:
David, a 17-year old from Colorado, was taken in the middle of the night after coming out to his parents, and shipped off to be reprogrammed into a straight, born-again Christian. Tai, a 16-year-old Haitian-American girl from Boston, was sent away after acting out and experimenting with drugs as a result of childhood traumas. Beth, a 15-year old from Michigan, suffered from a debilitating anxiety disorder, and her parents were desperate to help her finish high school. unnamed
While in “the program” students were totally isolated, with little to no contact with the outside world, until Kate arrived with her camera. One brave student asked for her help to get free, and the ensuing struggles to secure his freedom revealed just how far this school would go to prevent their students from leaving.
Watch the trailer below (The film makes its debut next month at the Slamdance Film Festival.):

Raw story reports:
Other students, like Sugiuchi, were the children of well-to-do evangelicals who were just being normal teens. “My parents were fundamentalist Christians,” she said, “and they didn’t like the way I was turning out.”
So, at 15, Sugiuchi was sent to school in the Dominican Republic at Escuela Caribe. There were only about 40 students at the school at any given time, she said, and from the moment students arrive they are placed on a stringent system of punishments and rewards.
Students were broken down into levels, with lower level students forbidden from speaking or even looking at higher level students.
“When you start at zero level, you then had rules about who you could look at,” she explained. “You couldn’t talk to members of the opposite sex until you were on second level and you had to fulfill a wide variety of requirements to move up.”
“At zero level, you’d have to be three feet away from a staff member or a supervisor at all times. You had to ask to go from room to room. It was insane,” she said. “Prisoners actually have more freedom than we had.”
Sleep deprived and worked to exhaustion, the students are fed on a diet of “sugar and fat,” Sugiuchi said. “It was in no way adequate to the amount of manual labor we were doing. We weren’t getting the nutrients we needed.”
While only one student is known to have died at Escuela Caribe in a flash flood, Sugiuchi said that school officials pushed the students to the very brink of their physical endurance in order to make them more malleable and open to what she called a program of straightforward “brainwashing.”
“They mess your mind up,” she said. “The whole time I was down there I thought, ‘This is all going to be for the good, I must be living through this for something,’ but instead I came out incredibly traumatized.”
“People get sent off to these places and it ruins them,” she said. “I’m lucky. A lot of my friends have serious drug problems, broken relationships, broken lives, suicides, you name it.”
Treatment of the kids at Escuela Caribe often hinged on the moods and caprices of staffers, she said, so it would be hard to say who had it the worst at the school. LGBT students, however, were consistently singled out for abuse.
“That’s the thing,” she said, “the kids that were gay, most of the time they were picked on, and always kept on lower levels.”

No comments:

Post a Comment