My name is not important but what is important is that I at 15 years old was sent to Freedom Village by my over zealot Christian father because as he put it, I was a "troubled teen". I am now 31 years of age and still remember everything I went through at Freedom Village, USA located in Lakemont, NY. It's like this, take everything you think you know about it and multiple that by 1000 and you still have no idea what it was like being there.
I was talking to my girlfriend this eve and we got on the subject of my past and that is when I told her about my time at the "Village". When I arrived at this secluded place located deep in farm country, ( where you would find any good cult ) I was shell shocked. I did not realize that what I had done as a child warranted coming to this horrible place.
From my very first day I was made aware of what was expected of me and what would happen to me if I did not do as I was told. Mind you the location of this place is in the middle of a field that is extremely large and has/had little "guard" shacks located at either of the entrances to the "Village" and to the back past the lagoon was the train tracks that lead to Watkins Glenn and beyond the tracks was a cliff that dropped into Seneca Lake. I was told to never try and run from the property or I would be sorry. So, me being the kid I was after a few days of the crap they put me through which I will explain in a moment I tried to run. I made it about 50 yards out from the main boys dorm when I was tackled by three of the "older" boys at the dorm. One of them who's name was Kyle who told the other two that he had me and would take me back to the dorm and they could leave. The other two guys left and Kyle took me around the back of the main administration building where he stomped and beat me with a retractable club he had in his jacket. I passed out and when I woke I was in my room back in the dorm. I was unable to get up to do anything, even use the restroom, or eat. No food was brought to me until I was able to go to the mess hall myself. My roommate tried to bring me some food but he was caught and that was that.
My room had no door handle and was one room amongst two floors of other rooms within the building. There were two guys to each room. After I was able to get myself some food I was sent to the "No Level Room" which was a room dedicated to driving you literally insane. It was a white room, with white desks, and chairs. The walls were blank and once in the room the door was locked. We/ I had to sit there for eight hours a day for a week and every other time I was "bad" as they called it with Christian preaching being pumped in through speakers in the wall.
They had other punishments as well which all lasted the length of the day, eight hours. We had to carry cut wood three pieces at a time from one end of the parking lot to the other over and over again. If we dropped a piece from exhaustion the staff would make us stay out an hour extra for each piece of wood dropped without food, water, or rest. My hands and arms would be so bruised and cut from the wood it was even hard to sleep when I finally did get the chance to do it.
Then there was the times in the spring and summer months where they would make us go out into the fields and pick all the dandy lions because pastor Brothers hated looking at them. They had to be picked at their base and had to be at least four inches in length. If we were caught picking smaller flowers or not picking them at all they would make us sit in the no level room for hours on end.
The showers in the building were almost like jail showers except there was no soap on a rope. We were forced to get into the shower fifteen guys at a time and we were only allowed 6 minutes per shower.
There were girls there and we were not allowed to talk, look, listen, know that they existed. Which was messed up because they lived in dorms over the other side of the yard and ate with us in the same mess hall. If we were caught talking or looking at them we would get punished and a few of us myself included who seemed to get the brunt of the punishments were on different occasions forced into the lagoon to wash the sin from our bodies.
The lagoon was where all the excess water from the "Village" drained to. It was also were backed up toilet water was drained from the dorms. On at least twenty occasions I was forced into the water of the lagoon because I was full of sin and sinned aginst God and the "Village".
Six different times I was beaten within inches of my life and then punished and was not allowed to get even remotely close to a phone to call for help.
I was once caught talking to a girl and was beaten for it. I talked to her again in the stable and was beaten and put in the "no level room" for three days. I still talked to her and made the mistake of telling the staff that they could not keep me and this girl apart. I was wrong and in fact they took the girl and locked her away for almost two weeks. When I saw her again she told me they had done terrible things to her while she was locked away.
Her and I were caught one day in the stable as we were supposed to be doing our runs on taking care of the horses. They found us laying next to each other talking in the hay. Her name was Jess. I was grabbed by Kyle the staff member and slammed into the wall. He took Jess by her hair and litterally threw her and she busted her arm. She was crying out and I had no way to help her. Moments later two other guys came in and one of them punched me in the side of the neck and head so many times I did not know where I was. I was lying on my side on the floor in a pile of horse dung while Kyle and the other guy beat and raped Jess right in fron of me.
After that we did not see Jess anymore and I was put in the no level room for almost a month. Jess wrote me a letter that was given to me by one of the other girls at the stable. In the letter Jess told me that she was tired of the bullshit that this place had put her through and did not know what to do. I tried to get to her but was unable to. two days later she killed herself by slashing her wrists and bleeding out in the shower of the girls dorm while all the girls were out on a day trip.
After her suicide we went to a service which we had to do everyday anyways but this service was about her even though they NEVER mentioned her name. The pastor did a sermon on sin and what that can do to you and if you commit suicide you will burn forever in HELL. No one ever mentioned her again and that is when my trouble really started. All the stuff that had happened to me before was childs play. I was beaten and belittled every single day after that all in the name of God. I was forced to endure things that no one should EVER have to go through in the name of God or anything for that matter.
It came to a point when I tried everything I could think of to get out of there and nothing seemed to ever work. Until the day I carved Hail Satan in my leg and almost bled to death in the process. I dragged myself to the paster private residence and bled all over his side walk and front door. Never once did he open the door to talk to me. he yelled through it and called me all sorts of vile names. He called his "people" to come deal with me. They beat my ass one took me into the kitchen of the mess hall. One of the guards smeared rock salt into my fresh razor woulds and told me the pain I felt was nothing compaired to the pain I was about to feel in HELL. After they beat me for a while I was taken to the nurse who was a nice lady I guess, she fixed me up and after a few days I was put on a bus and sent back to my father without even an explanation about anything that happened there.
I have tried to call them and talk about everything they did to me but no one will talk to me and no one has ever returned my calls.