Surviving Adult Reports Childhood MSbP Torture: Part 15 – Days at S.A.F.E.

In my previous posts, I describe the events that led me entering S.A.F.E., a facility as part of the Troubled Teen Industry (TTI). In my last post, I talked about entering S.A.F.E., and in this one, I’ll talk about our daily schedule.

Two jack-o-lanterns

S.A.F.E. Structure

The days at S.A.F.E were structured so that every second was consumed with something.  Individual thought, or what they called “getting in our heads” was one of the biggest sins that could be committed and this is why the days were structured so rigidly.  There is so much to say about this, it is hard to break it down, but I will start by outlining a daily schedule of S.A.F.E., and then I will go into the five phases a bit.

Mindreading & Thought Control

The days were long, brutal, and often times monotonous, but constantly Dark cloudsovershadowed with the black cloud of dread and doom.  You see, they made you think that they could read your mind, really.

“Honesty” was their number one policy, and overshadowed everything. I put this in quotations because it wasn’t really honest.

Honest meant being totally reliant and dependent on the program and internalizing all its rules and values, and completely shedding your druggie past and becoming a “Safeling”.  In order to completely internalize the program, we had to abide by the strict schedule on a daily basis.  S.A.F.E. was considered a day program (to avoid state regulations) and we were sent to host homes at night, which often could be two or three hours away from the Orlando S.A.F.E. Program.

Mornings at S.A.F.E.

Washing dishes

We started off our mornings really early, depending on how far the host parent had to drive to get to the site.  We sometimes had to have all the morning chores done by 4 am!

Then we were transported to the program to begin our fun-filled day.  We started our mornings with rules rap and our daily meditations where we would read some recovery inspired literature and discuss its application to our daily life.

Dying Away Another Day

The days would only vary depending on which type of rap we had.  Some days it was confrontation rap, which was always the scariest. During the confrontation rap, our “dishonesty” would be exposed and we would endure being “stood up in group” which consisted of another client calling us and screaming and degrading us for our alleged transgressions.

In my next post, I will give an example of a “confrontation rap”.

S.A.F.E. used the power of ritual for brainwashing. Are you interested in the power of ritual?

Read about “Why Rituals Work” in Scientific American.

Photographs by Fotomek, Lee Seonghak, and Rodd Waddington from Kergunyah, Australia.




One thought on “Surviving Adult Reports Childhood MSbP Torture: Part 15 – Days at S.A.F.E.

  1. Two thoughts occurred to me as I read about the morning rituals.
    First, it reminded me of the days in my Catholic school, dictated by prayer and scripture reading, although SAFE is/was secular.
    Second, that whole “public calling out” aspect … I thought of the stocks and similar devices used to publicly punish someone in “olden times”. Instead of literal rotten fruit being hurled, however, it’s rotten *words*. Fruit washes off. Words, not so much.

    The ritualistic nature of is already has me queasy, but I look forward to your next post on this, because it’s pretty obvious that “saving” a troubled kid meant “breaking them down and rebuilding them from a standard blueprint”. Terrifying.

    Thank you for sharing this, Mariel. Parents need to realize the reality of what happens in such places, then and now. And think twice (or ten times) before believing the advertising pamphlets.


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