Pieces Of Victory
Pieces Of Victory is an autobiography of a survivor of institutional abuse. The awareness will shock this nation & make changes.
Pieces Of Victory, by Jeneen Miller
This project is my autobiography of how I survived child abuse in a Christian reform school. Unfortunately, there are many other schools across our nation equivalent to the one I was locked in. This book will be a method of bringing awareness to the surface in order for the United States to take action by providing oversight in teen programs. Child abuse is against the law, and I will use my personal experience as a tool to prevent further harm to children.
Thank you so much for contributing to my project and getting it off the ground for the most important change our country needs.
This is my story…
My name is Jeneen Miller and I am a survivor of Victory “Christian” Academy. When I was 16 years old, I was forced against my will to this reform school. Prior to my lockdown, I suggested to my parents that I attend a private Christian school because I wanted a better education: Cornerstone Christian in Camarillo and I was there my Junior year and loved it! During that year, I attended youth group, maintained a 3.5 GPA, I was frequently involved in my church community and I worked part time during school and full during the summer. I was self-motivated, ambitious and highly driven for a sixteen year-old. I did not have behavioral problems, a court order, criminal record nor did I have a substance abuse problem. I didn’t even smoke a cigarette!
My parents found out about the program, Victory Christian Academy through a group called “Because I Love You” similar to the group “Tough Love.” I was a strong Christian when I went into this jail in my Senior year. I came out thinking I was going to hell for 13 years. Michael Palmer was the founder of this all girls reform school. A preacher who called us whores, thieves, liars, drug addicts, alcoholics, fat, lesbians, game players, phonies, home wreckers, heathens, backsliders, and losers in CHURCH twice a day. It was made clear to us that gay/lesbians were an abomination unto God and he would berate girls primarily in chapel in front of a cross and isolate any girl he suspected or accused of being a lesbian. We could not have any human contact at all and if we accidentally touched another girl by bumping into them, we would get a repercussion.
We were not permitted to discuss anyone or anything from the outside world including someone famous, a newsreporter, friends from my Christian school prior, sing any secular music or discuss family problems. I could not say the word pants let alone wear them because according to the scripture of Palmer, twitsting Deuteronomy 22:5 “The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the LORD thy God.” This is an example of only one of many absurdities of control we would undergo in this lockdown. If it was not good or about God, we could not have that discussion. Denial and avoiding dysfunctional/functional family issues and throwing Palmer’s berated version of the Bible was his answer of healing the families.
He would spend many times in chapel separating the sheeps from the goats. He would put the girls who he believed were a follower of Christ in one pile (girls had to physically go into the pile) and then he created a Heathen pile (the non followers of God). He clearly demonstrated the actions of a German dictator from the year 20 April 1889 – 30 April 1945.
The first ammendment did not exist and it was a different kind of hell trapping us with the 12 foot fence with barbed wire and surveillance cameras to watch our every move. We didn’t have the freedom to use the rest room when we wanted (laser beams on the floor would trigger an alarm). We had to ask permission and it followed with a punishment.
Medical attention was mostly denied. Staff would call you a phony and a fake if you needed to visit the doctor. Surprisingly, Palmer was so afraid of us running away that he would deny us the medical/dental attention we needed.
Some girls that did not have knowledge of the monitoring system of outgoing mail (only to parents) suffered the humilation of Palmer reading private mail in chapel. It was one of many scare tactics used so we would not convey the truth to our parents. Girls who wrote something negative were looked down upon in the school and were called a phony and a game player.
Girls were timed when they ate meals and if we did not finish everything on our plate, it would sit for days in front of “The Get Right Room” (the room of isolation). There were forced feedings and if you cried that you were going to throw up, they would threaten you with eating your own vomit. If you were a vegetarian, you had to cross over immediately. If you complained, you would be placed in isolation until you conformed by eating everything on your plate.
We worked without pay including hard labor. The girls ages 12-17 thrown into this program ran Victory Christian Academy. We were trained to abuse other girls as a means to climb up the ladder of ranks to prove to staff that we were ready to leave the program. We were in charge of cleaning, cooking, scrubbing the bathrooms, building the church (see article regarding death of Carey Dunn), digging ditches in the fields, landscaping, and laundry. We didn’t have the freedom to believe what we wanted, we did not have access to media: TV, newspaper, books (other than their specific Christian books) or radio. I could not mention my boyfriend’s name at all period. I couldn’t have a picture of us at Junior prom nor could I learn to play the piano. I made the mistake of telling a staff member that I wanted to learn how to play the piano for him. I couldn’t cry or get angry of the restrictions they had on us. We didn’t have the freedom to show any emotion without a repercussion.
When you first arrived in the program, you had to stand three feet behind another girl in the program 24/7 for one month including bathroom/shower. You could not speak to any of the girls period unless it was another girl high in ranks, a helper. You could not see your parent(s) for three months into the program and then once a month after that. If a parent upset us during visitation (my parents did), and if we were to react, we would be demoted back to three feet behind another girl in the program plus isolation for days, weeks and sometimes months. When you are on the buddy system (three feet behind another student), girls have to ask permission to use te rest room and if she uses the restroom, you have to wait outside the stall.
The child was always the problem and never the parent(s) which meant family turmoil that needed to be tackled by bringing emotions up to the surface was suppressed for as long as the parent(s) had their child locked inside. Once children came home and rediscover what it’s like to be a human being again and have a thought process of their own, the anger was ten fold. Does anyone know what the aftermath is for oppression? Ask any survivor of a teen program.
My speech, decisions, belief system, self-love, and soon thought process were controlled. My human rights were taken away from me. I couldn’t write anyone (other than my parents that was monitored), use the phone or leave. This sounds like something that would happen in a third world country. I regret to say that this is happening in America…
We need to make more CHANGES on unlicensed/licensed facilities that are abusing human rights.
PIECES OF VICTORY SYNOPSIS
This book characterizes my time as an unfortunate resident of the Christian reform school, Victory Christian Academy. This all-girls school presents itself to the world as a reform program of sorts for the wayward and the troubled. However, as outlined in the pages of my book, I describe something much darker…
Beginning from a point in time when I felt wrapped in ignorant bliss we begin to see a breakdown in my view of the world. As an impressionable 15-year-old girl a 27-year-old family member, while under his care, callously used his influence to manipulate me into having sex with him frequently. When I went to my parents for help, they refused to accept that I was raped. Instead I was unfairly made to metaphorically stand trial rather than blame the perpetrator who continued to roam free. This was a turning point in my life, as it is the point at which my relationship with my parents began to break down.
During this time, I took solace and comfort in a relationship with a boy my age. When we were together, the world seemed brighter and the pain seemed distant. As the seeds of distrust grew between my parents and I, I held to my hope in him more and more. Seeing this as a source of further temptation, they had me committed against my will to Victory Christian Academy. In doing so, they willingly relinquished their parental rights and left me helpless and at the mercy of a tyrannical head master and his staff who saw it as their divine duty (in a skewed sense of the word) to help the many proverbial lost sheep back to the safety of God’s flock. This was done in many ways: solitary confinement, abject sermons, threats, beratement, slavery, forceful indoctrination, and mental/physical torture. It was a lavish concoction of cruelty that would have likely made the Spanish Inquisition collectively proud.
After the end of what was essentially my kidnapping, I watched my life continually spiral downward. Years of guilt and inadequacy stemming from my experiences at Victory drove me to feel socially outcast and totally unloved and it wasn’t until years later that I finally found the help I needed to stop my life from continually spiraling out of control.
My story, Pieces of Victory, tells of the struggles of my former life. I know that there are so many young boys and girls who continually suffer needlessly under the false flag of so-called “Christian” love and compassion and it must stop now before more of our nation’s children are brutally scarred.
To this end, I offer an account of my time at one of these heinous institutions.
The book is explicit but I’m keeping it respectable for Kickstarter.
CHAPTER ONE, C:\Jeneen\Hell\Victory\Keather.doc
It is almost 8 o’clock at night and, once again, I find myself idly sitting on my bunk bed. I fight the urge to panic as I feel the darkness slowly beginning to suffocate me. In this room are only empty, shadowy walls without so much as a window for light. I am not sure if I could even stand to see outside though because I am sure it would only serve to remind me of my imprisonment.
“This is awful,” I think to myself. I close my eyes and begin to imagine the wondrous things that could be going on outside, miles away from this hell hole. I tilt my head up and scan my room for anything that I could use as an anchor to the outside world but all I can see are brick walls. I notice that my cheeks feel wet and I suddenly realize that I have been crying. Odd, considering I feel dead inside.
“Ladies gather up. We are having a Roast Night in about ten minutes,” Alicia shouts loudly enough for the girls in both dorms to hear.
“What’s Roast Night?” I asked, discreetly wiping my eyes. At this point, I was looking for any kind of distraction from the monotony that I could find.
“You’ll see!” Alicia cheerfully replied.
I cling on to my Bible like a security blanket as I follow a mob of girls dressed in their pajamas on to where Roast Night is to be held. I follow right behind Alicia three feet behind without questioning further. As I make my way farther into the hall I can see the girls begin to form single file rows.
“This feels strange,” I muttered under my breath.
Alicia stops walking abruptly and I almost collide into her as I try to stop as well. The room in which I find myself standing is very brightly lit and, squinting, I feel a sense of pain as my eyes strain to adjust from the much darker hallway. I hear a stifled commotion coming from inside the room and I move closer through the crowd to get a better look.
I am horrified. Ahead of me in the distance, I see a young girl strapped to a chair, crying angrily, with duct tape covering her mouth and a pair of handcuffs binding her hands behind her back. I hear her pained grunts as she makes vain attempts to struggle free. Her glowing, pale skin and bright, reddish hair seem set ablaze by the fear and intensity in her eyes as she watches the girls begin to circle menacingly around her.
“Oh my God, what is going on? Why isn’t any of the staff doing anything about this?” I think blank-facedly and with good reason; it would be a disaster if any of the staff or helpers noticed my concern.
I look over to the wall and notice a woman, conservatively dressed with dark hair. She would appear fairly normal except for the wicked smirk on her face. I recognize her immediately as Ms. Arizona.
Breaking her silence, she shouts like a drill sergeant, “Ok girls, I want you to say how you really feel about Keather. Let’s start with the helpers!”
Elizabeth raises her hand and shouts, “Keather is a loser and she is evil!” Another girl raises her hand and yells, “Keather is a Heathen!” Corey, another girl anxious to vent her rage, raises her hand and says in disgust, “Keather is rebellious and she is a disgrace to the Lord! God is puking at the gates of heaven at her and she is a terrible example for the other girls!”
As I sit quietly in the circle, I search for any reasonable explanation that would help me justify this staff-sanctioned cruelty. Deep within me, I feel that the girls who are raising their hands and shouting these horrible things about Keather are just venting the pent up rage they possess because they are unable to neither speak their minds nor show emotion. This is their only chance to let it out.
These judgments are not the teachings of Jesus. “I cannot believe this is happening at a Christian institution!” I muttered quietly. I wondered what crimes she had committed… Were they the same ones I had? Did any of us deserve this kind of horrible cruelty?
I cannot take it anymore. My anger boils to the surface and I have to do something.
I raise my hand and everyone turns and looks at me. “Yes, Jeneen go ahead,” Ms. Arizona chimes pleasantly.
“I like the way Keather smiles in the hall and how she is always nice to me,” I say fearlessly. At Victory, there are consequences for thinking outside the box. If you think differently than your superiors or state your opinion, it is grounds for isolation in the “Get Right” room; tantamount to being an inmate stuck in solitary confinement. Generally, this is every girl’s worst nightmare but at this point I do not care because putting an end to this evil is all I can think about.
“That’s what I like about you, Jeneen. You always find the good in everyone,” Ms. Arizona chides with a crooked smile as every girl in the circle agrees with Ms. Arizona in a robotic fashion.
“What a revelation!” I thought sarcastically. “Isn’t that what Jesus teaches?” Losing their interest in me, the mob continues on with their attack, cheerily led by the judge, jury and executioner that is Ms. Arizona.
I close my eyes for a moment in an effort to drown them out and find shelter. I find myself wondering how a place could possibly exist in the world where people are filled with such hate but somehow see it as a righteous foundation of God’s love. I cannot decide what I would rather endure: the emotional, mental, and physical abuse that we girls experience every waking moment at Victory for the supposed sake of the greater good, or life as my uncle’s under-aged and illegitimate whore. I am all but certain that living in New York with that dysfunctional situation would at least seem easier at times than this. At least I was something special as long as I gave him what he wanted, and perhaps a bit freer.
Here it does not seem to matter what I do or do not do. I am just not good enough. I feel as though I have been put on trial every day by their endless sermonizing and am always guilty as charged. I am frightened every day for a million, horrible, inexcusable reasons and I want it to stop! I hate the way Ms. Arizona curses Keather and forces the other girls to participate! It sickens me to have to watch her suffer helplessly for fear of this ungodly woman’s wrath if I do not! I despise the fact that I cannot take the duct tape and handcuffs off of Keather’s wrists! I hate being forced to sit in this *&%$ing circle with a Bible in front of my face! How is this hateful mob the work of a loving God? Where in the bible is this justified?
I could never believe in this! This is the real evil! Not the *&$@ we were sent here for! I cannot figure it out! Girls have left this so-called “Christian school” before. How is it that these people have never been reported? I mean this is against the law, for God’s sake! You cannot handcuff a girl to a chair and torment her like this…
As my inner rant continues, a sickening feeling sweeps over my body like death as the obvious answer comes to me:
They have never been reported before because anyone who leaves here is brainwashed! The girls all inevitably lose their identities and are released back into the world as zombies with no will of their own! A year is a long time to fight and maybe it is only a matter of time before I give in to what they want!
I look back at Ms. Arizona with horror and contempt. She returns my wide-eyed stare with a wicked smile. “You’re not going anywhere,” her eyes seemed to say. I gulp and bow my head as if in reverence, “God? Hello?! I am desperate and you need to answer me! I want to die tonight and I’m not &@#%ing joking!” Slowly, a single tear falls down my cheek as I fight the urge to scream out loud. Miserably, I shut my eyes and wish with all my heart to never have to open them again.