Surviving Adult Reports Childhood MSbP Torture: Part 9 – Intake at Red Rock Canyon

In my last post, I described the events leading up to my first long-term institutionalization at Red Rock Canyon School. I will now describe a bit of my experience at this “psychiatric residential treatment center”.

Drugged and Flown to Utah

It’s hard to describe my 14 long months at Red Rock, let alone condense it into a readable format. A lot of the time blurred together, as the days were long and monotonous, interrupted with moments of anxiety, anger and fear.Girl waving hand with colored lights

I remember getting to Red Rock, though. A lot of kids in the program told stories of literally being kidnapped; taken from their beds in the middle of the night; accosted by huge men carrying sometimes pepper spray and often plastic cuffs; being forced out of the house, with only a tearful goodbye; not knowing where they were going. This isn’t my story exactly.

My dad decided to accompany me to Utah. How strange, I thought. I had never been to Utah before. He said that we were going to visit a couple of friends he had there. I was ok with that. “Here, take this,” he said to me as he handed me 400 mg of Seroquel, twice the amount I usually took at night. Strange, I didn’t take my psychiatric meds when I was in the hotel…

The Intake Process

I’m sure I slept throughout most of the long flight, and I awoke, very much disoriented, at this strange place, at some unknown hour, although it was the night. I was led into this room, almost like a hotel lobby, with these two people looking at me like they have been awaiting my arrival. I didn’t know what was going on, until they started asking me all these questions. This was the intake process. They made it very clear to me that I would be staying there for “as long as it takes”. I was in a bedraggled state at the time. I had dyed-blond hair and two eyebrow rings that they said would have to come out. Protesting insistently, trying to cling onto any piece of myself, I said no. Their reply was, well, if you don’t take them out yourself, we will take them out for you. I believe my father was gone at this time. I don’t remember saying goodbye to him.

Bunk Beds

After my intake, which lasted, for how long? I can’t say, I was led into my new room: a dormitory style sleeping area; a combination of psychiatric facility and old hotel; equipped with bunk beds dressed with thin maroon comforters and a large vanity with the light always on. Privacy in the restroom was a privilege that must be earned, I learned quickly. As I was a new resident, I would be put on suicide watch, as they couldn’t trust me just yet. This meant that I would have to sleep in the front most part of the living quarters, near the vanity where the light was always on. It didn’t matter though, I was given enough Seroquel to keep me asleep.

The World of Red Rock Canyon School

I was soon introduced into the world of Red Rock Canyon School, amidst the vast red hills of Utah, in the small city of St. George. We were broken up into “units” marked by colored shirts. I was on the purple unit, or whatever it was called at the time. I remember the staff holding these giant black walkie-talkies in case one of us got out of control. Each morning we were led out in a single file line, no talking, look straight forward, with one staff up front and one in the back.

We were like a demented flock of geese.

Line of geese swimming

Everything, even things you would think are fundamental rights, like privacy, had to be earned. I couldn’t speak with my family for the first three weeks; and after that, I earned a phone call to be made during therapy time and then I had to follow the rules. I couldn’t “manipulate” “trash-talk” the program, ask to go home, etc. etc. In my next post, I explain how we spent our days at Red Rock Canyon School.

Do you know someone who has been kidnapped and sent to Red Rock Canyon School?

Or have you heard stories about Red Rock Canyon School? Please comment below and tell us your stories!

Photographs by Festival della Scienza from Genova, HKYHA, and Monika Wahi.



6 thoughts on “Surviving Adult Reports Childhood MSbP Torture: Part 9 – Intake at Red Rock Canyon

  1. I was sent to Second Nature Wilderness Program and, from there, to Falcon Ridge Ranch; a sister school to Red Rock Canyon. Over a decade later, I am just beginning to heal from my experiences. I find it hard to sleep as I feel too vulnerable lying down. Even now, I feel the grip Utah had, or rather has, on me; I must just be thinking too negatively, I’m just trying to get attention by making myself the victim, not taking accountability for my actions and waiting to be rescued, is what they might say. I have Complex PTSD, all of the symptoms. I have studied psychology and I understand how what was done to me was allowed to happen and why it has affected me the way that it has. Unfortunately, understanding this intellectually does not result in suddenly being okay. The unusual problem I have encountered in seeking treatment for the PTSD that I now have is that it was caused, in large part, by people in the mental health field. It is extraordinarily difficult for me to trust shrinks. I find I can, more easily, trust survivors. I was sent out there to heal, and they gladly took my family’s money and shattered me into a trillion pieces. To this day, I still feel like I don’t know who I am. While I am deeply saddened knowing that you have suffered in the same way as I, I am comforted knowing that I am not alone. We are not crazy, we are not playing the victim. It’s real, it happened and it hurt us. I hope that by sharing this, you too might find the comfort and validation you deserve.


  2. This is what we need more than anything else, attorneys. Right now the survivors of childhood abuses get shunted into psychiatry, psychotherapy, religion, and recovery, and sometimes even get subjected to pharmacological assaults.

    Here in the US people are taught that the place to handle childhood abuses is on the psychotherapist’s couch. So off to the Yellow Pages they go. But in British Columbia the laws are different. Once they realize that they have been the target of familial abuses, they still go to the Yellow Pages, but they look in the beginning, under Attorneys.

    I’ve explained before about helping to get a man who was sexually molesting his daughters, with the full backing of his Pentecostal church, convicted, and getting him a lengthy sentence. His whole presentation depended on the idea that this was all false accusations and caused by the problems with the eldest daughter.

    And it was in his trial that I learned just how hard a parent will try to prove that they are right and the child is wrong, and about the kinds of attorneys who have specialized in making all child protection unenforceable.

    I also tried to get the 3 girls to sue their parents, and to sue their church. The argument for suing the church was that it was operating like a hate group. This was not based on racial prejudice, but on prejudice against children. So I compared it to the $10Meg judgment that Southern Poverty Law Center was able to get against Tom Metzger and his “White Aryan Resistance” over the brutal killing, committed by a protégée, of a man who had come from Africa to go to college.

    Any time anyone talks in that church they go on about the trials and tribulations of life. And one of them is always, “when your child is turning away from the god you worship”. And then the antidote to all these troubles is supposed to be their denial system / idol, named Jesus.

    I lined up some of the best lawyers in the country, even people who would have to be supervised by another attorney because they would be working outside the jurisdiction of their license, like Andrew Vachss.

    Fantastic case won for a girl who just wanted to go to college:

    But it hasn’t happened yet, and I don’t think they ever are going to sue. Most of the time the perpetrators get off scot free, while the survivors have to live without ever having a legitimated social identity, and always getting further abused by psychotherapists.

    Even though there have been statute of limitations reforms, mostly this has only resulted in suits against institutions, like the Roman Catholic Church. Very few people have been willing to even try to sue their parents.

    Here, a fictionalized one of these Fix My Kid Camps, and made into an outstanding movie. And there was plenty of stuff worth suing over going on there:

    “Send us a boy—we’ll send you a cowboy”: It doesn’t matter if the kid hates the sight of horses. Or if he still sucks his thumb and wets the bed. He’s got to be taught to toe the line. To measure up. To dig in his spurs—because that’s the way things are at the Box Canyon Boys Camp in Arizona.

    When I first learned about the Assemblies of God ministry Teen Challenge, I was mortified by the idea that parents might be able to seed their “rebellious” teens there. I have since learned that they deal with very few to zero teenagers. So though I still don’t like it, my concern level is lowered.

    So institutions are being held accountable, at least to a degree. But how about suing the churches which preach child abuse, directly? These churches put out the idea that the child has an innate moral defect. This is how it is with the guy I helped put into our state prison. And in every communication I made with the DA and the Court, I emphasized the role his church has played, and that nearly every single member has their own scapegoat child. And most of them also have their own serious histories with alcohol, drugs, and spousal abuse, before they got saved of course. And for them, there is no such thing as child abuse, because the child is always the one who has an innate moral defect, and so it is always for the child’s own good.

    So can we sue these sorts of churches directly, just like Morris Dees and Southern Poverty Law Center sued Tom Metzger?

    And then I know that the final frontier will be suing parents. But this must happen. The middle-class lives in bad faith. They don’t live up to their own values, and so the ones who suffer for this are the children.

    Doing research about child abuse is good. But if anyone actually believes that is going to end child abuse, that is just their own denial system, their own unwillingness to go after perpetrators.

    To end child abuse we need police, handcuffs, and prison. And then we also need civil suits and asset seizure. Right now, middle-class child abuse is profitable. We must change this. So what we need desperately are attorneys. We can never lower the criminal prosecution bar low enough. So we must do it through civil suits.

    SCOTUS has decided that we cannot retroactively extend criminal SOL’s. But they have made it clear that we can retroactively extend civil SOL’s, and this is happening. But so far the suits are almost entirely against institutions where sexual molestation has occurred. This is crucially important. But we also must start suing the institutions which put out the anti-child / moral defect doctrine, and we also must start suing parents, and reforming our inheritance laws.


    best place to talk:


    • I said that this is a civilized country, so that we have to handle things in court rooms.

      Well, for a child being subjected to psychological and emotional abuse in the middle-class family, this is not a civilized society, not at all. There is no outside protection, and there is no redress.

      Underlying the physical, sexual, medical, and religious abuse, there is always psychological abuse. The intent behind all these kinds of abuse is to break the child’s spirit. And the middle-class family never would have emerged if it were not able to use child abuse to justify itself.

      So while there are some protections against sexual abuse, and some very limited protections against physical abuse, the protections against medical abuse are very few, and the protections against religious abuse are near to none. But the protections against psychological and emotional abuse are zero.

      The writer Stephen King has always done a great job in depicting these kinds of normative middle-class family situations. And for decades now, he has always been getting help from his wife Tabitha. I recommend Gerald’s Game.

      Why would someone submit to psychiatry, psychotherapy, or recovery, unless they had already been convinced that their feelings and their desires and impulses were wrong?

      Its rather like saying, “My parents abused me every day. But clearly that was not sufficient, because I still needed psychiatrists and psychotherapists to further abuse me. But now I am in recovery, so I abuse myself, and soon I will be dead.”



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