Whiting Abuse Defendants Denied Accelerated Rehabilitation, Must Face Trial Or Enter Guilty Plea
The co-chair of the Public Health Committee state Sen. Heather Somers, center, speaks at a news briefing on the alleged abuse scandal at the Whiting Forensic Institute. (Lauren Schneiderman / Hartford Courant)

September 10, 2018, 4:00 PM
T he judge in the Whiting psychiatric center patient-abuse case said that the treatment directed at a single psychiatric patient over a period of weeks in the spring of 2017 “cannot be described as care.” Rather, she said, it amounts to “intentional conduct perpetrated on a mentally ill person.”
With those words, Superior Court Judge Maureen M. Keegan has denied to the former Whiting nurses and patient-care workers charged with cruelty to persons a probationary program that would have resulted in a dismissal of the charge before a plea was entered or a trial held.
On Friday, September 21st, 2018, several members of the Advocacy Unlimited family including Luz Feliz, Kali Farrell, Linda Lentini, and Latosha Taylor had the opportunity to attend the 2018 Restraint and Seclusion Conference at Central Connecticut State University. Throughout this amazingly informative conference, we were able to navigate the mental health system through different lenses. Moreover, contradictory to the usual tactics emphasized in most modern-day literature and health care practices, we were exposed to an alternative set of beliefs as to why restraint and seclusion isn’t the best option for dealing with an individual who is experiencing a mental health crisis. We were made aware that in most instances, after a restraint or seclusion takes place, the individual will eventually go back to repeating the same behavior that caused the restraint or seclusion to take place in the first place, for the mechanism for treating the behavior is only serving as a mask or band aid to treat the underlying problem. Most importantly, we as health care providers and/or professional peers must serve as the factor of change within this equation. To limit or even end the use of restraints and seclusions all together, we must be able to provide individuals in our care with alternative skills to use that will help them actually solve the issues they are dealing with that then lead them to get so frustrated that a restraint and/or seclusion is required. Nevertheless, the changes must begin with each of us, one at a time.

-Luz Feliz
The first time it happened I was a sophomore in high school. I was walking down the hallway alone, minding my business when a senior walked by me and smacked my ass. I knew who this guy was because he was popular. I assure you he had no idea who I was and when I confronted him years later he didn’t even remember doing it. He didn’t remember!? or so he claims. I will never have the luxury of forgetting. That day things changed, school was no longer safe, the world was no longer safe, boys my own age were no longer safe and guess what nobody cared. Boys will be boys right? F*** all that noise. How about boys will respect women’s bodies!!!!

The second time I was at a party and a man took out his penis and touched my leg with it! It all happened so fast I didn’t even know how to react. I did however cry in the shower that night. The messed up thing is that I felt dirty. Intermittently I dealt with street harassment and sexual harassment in the work place. I experienced sexual harassment while running in my own neighborhood. I stopped running outdoors after a man followed me in his car because I wouldn’t respond to his catcalls. It was terrifying.

My worst experience though happened when I was 19. I was raped by 2 men. Thirteen years later that’s all I can speak of that horrific night. I never reported. What I did do was scrub my skin in the shower until it was raw. What I did do was cut myself, attempt suicide, abuse drugs & alcohol and in an effort to “reclaim my body” slept with men I didn’t care about. What I still do is jump when someone startles me, walk with my keys in my hand, sit near doors, run scenarios through my head before going anywhere and have nightmares.

This week like so many of them has been heartbreaking. I am not surprised by what the men in power are doing. I am however surprised at the average man’s response. There are 2 count them 2 men I am friends with who have spoken out against all the gas lighting, victim blaming, threatening and bullying that has been taking place by men in power. Some of you have been making jokes at the expense of women who speak up and you make me sick to my stomach. The rest of you say and do nothing!? “EVIL PREVAILS WHEN GOOD MEN DO NOTHING”

Women have been fed up for a long time. It is time for men to be fed up! Are you unaware that one in three women are sexually assaulted? Do you not want a better world for your daughters and granddaughters? We need you, women need men to hold other men accountable! We need you to teach your sons that they are not entitled to women’s bodies.

I don’t care if every man I am friends with defriends me. Please if you think women are liars or that we ask for it or that it’s not your problem unfollow me. Be an ally. Be a good person. Be on the right side of history!

-Nichole Colquitt
Why I didn't report:

My first memory of being sexually violated, I was four. He terrorized me by nearly drowning me in a pool the day I learned how to swim to ensure my silence.
The second time it happened to me, I was 8yrs old and it was by a family member. He put a gun to my head so that he could keep defyling me for years. After repeatedly having my soul and innocence ripped from me, I finally became courageous and did tell. The result, bury it and the rest of the secrets, like we had been doing for generations. I was the bad one for telling.

It happened again at 12 by another family member on my Dad's side. My parent's did take me to the police station. I wasn't believed because I used the words he "inserted" instead of he "put in." He never had any consequences to his actions. I was the one to carry the shame.

These horrendous acts against my innocence and the invalidation of it have forever shaped the way I saw and interacted with life. I've spent so many years under a shadow of darkness. So many innocent years lost. Why?! It's not necessarily because of the acts themselves, but because of the invalidation of what happened to me by the ones who were suppose to love and protect me.. No one believed me and if they did, they turned their head the other way. Very early on, I internalized everything as my fault, and that there was something wrong with me. I felt so lonely and lost. I've tried desperately to have a "normal life" for so many years. No matter how I look on the outside, my insides are still fighting a battle every day. These acts of violence against me still permeate so many parts of my life today, despite me trying to escape it. I will always and forever be scarred and haunted by these experiences.

My reason of saying something today is that we all have a story to tell. This happens to be a part of mine. I was told to bury it and all the emotions that come along with it a long time ago. In doing so, it has had so many detrimental consequences to my younger and future self. I owe it to myself and the future generations to stand up and say no more!!! We all have a moral obligation to change the narrative for our children. So, if you have never experienced this yourself, please listen!!!!! Stand next to and defend the women it has happened to!!

-Latosha Taylor
Walking Side By Side Along The Road To Recovery
by Adam : )
We are all on a journey.
Our journeys are not straight lines, but twist, and turn, meandering through a vast wilderness of the Spirit.
Our journeys are sometimes full of light, and sometimes full of darkness.
We have taken many paths, some seemingly easier, and some incredibly difficult.
Many paths we have faced completely Alone.
We cannot see where our journeys will lead us, but we get glimpses once in a while. Views through the dense forest as it opens up ahead onto the glowing, sunset horizons towards which we travel.
Glimpses of Love.
Glimpses of Joy.
Glimpses of Inner Peace, of Meaning, and of Purpose.
Glimpses which are often short-lived, but which reassure us that we are headed in the right direction.
We sometimes follow others as they walk ahead of us and point the way.
And sometimes we find that those people we have followed have themselves become lost.
We must walk many miles on our own, sometimes with nothing but the Night for company.
And we may be fortunate enough to walk a few precious miles in the company of others. Others whose roads intersect with ours for a time.
Sometimes these others may even hold our hands a while as we walk together, side by side.
These are the most precious parts of our journeys!
They are the parts we will remember best and remember forever!
Along these journeys of ours, it is the sunsets, and the celebrations, and the glories, and the trials, which we share with others, that are the ones we shall remember most sweetly! The moments we have been blessed to share with our fellow travelers as we walk together for a while and talk.
But as we look around at our fellow travelers, we realize that we are all carrying tremendous burdens!
Every single person we encounter is carrying a painful burden all their own, almost invisible to anyone but them.
They go to bed with it at their side, they wake with it in silence in the middle of the night. They pack it in their bag every morning, throw it over their shoulders, and start walking again.
We cannot carry each other’s burdens.
But we may hold each other’s hands, and we may walk, and we may talk a while, side by side.
No, we cannot carry each other’s burdens…
But we may hold each other’s hands, and we may walk, and we
may talk together for a while, side by side, along this road of life…
May your journey lead you to Peace, to Joy, and to Love! : )
—Adam, 2018
Artwork created by Ayat
Adam Chambers also goes by the name “Ayat,” which means “Proof of God.” He is a proud survivor of childhood sexual and ritual abuse, who is also an artist, teaching artist, writer, dad, husband, mystic and spiritual seeker (not necessarily in that order!). Adam facilitates workshops for humans using the creative arts as a healing tool. His favorite things to do are to watch the sunrise from a mountaintop, and to eat ice cream with people he loves!
Greg Benson
5 January 2017

If you are poor and upset about it you may be mentally ill

On January 5 th NPR aired a segment that explored depression through the lens of class. 
This piece suggests that the struggles of Indians who don’t live in India’s wealthy neighborhoods, may well be depression. Anecdotes about a man whose nineteen-year-old son has suddenly left home and a woman, whose life as a farm laborer has never been easy, are offered as evidence of people in poor areas who suffer from a disease and are ignorant of said disease’s existence. 

It seems natural to be overwhelmed when your child is missing or economic demands necessitate grueling work. Crippling emotions within these contexts represent aberration or are indicative of a medical condition?
Two people become comfortable with framing their experience as a disease, get clinical support, and feel better as a result. This narrative arc implies that certain types of suffering are a medical disease called depression and that people so afflicted ought to receive medical treatment.
Implicitly, exploration of the man’s relationship with the absence of his son and exploration of on going tensions within the context of the woman’s life – are discouraged. Conceptualizing their experience of the world as disease to be treated by medical professionals – is implicitly encouraged.  
Because NPR is a credible source, listeners might assume that there is scientific validation of depression as a disease. Such evidence does not exist. Listeners might assume that treatment (which in rich areas of the world conceptualizes depression as a discrete lesion within individuals and is drug centered) improves outcomes as opposed to not recognizing emotional distress as disease and not using psychiatric drugs long term.
Research done by the World Health Organization compares outcomes for people who are not doing well and are recognized as depressed and medically treated, with outcomes for people who are not doing well and are not recognized as depressed and not medically treated. Not only does said research suggest that recognition and medical treatment of depression does not improve outcomes – it points to treatment being associated with worse long-term outcomes. 
The point is not that life would be peachy if we stopped spreading an erroneous and harmful medical understanding of certain emotional states. The point is that we ought to stop spreading an erroneous and harmful medical understanding of certain emotional states. And that maybe a small part of opening up space to explore how to make communities a tiny bit more peachy – is quelling the spread of such undemocratic, unsubstantiated, and detrimental pseudo-science.

Towards the end of this segment it is asserted that poor people are especially likely to deny that they have a mental illness. Journalistic integrity compels us to share some good reasons for denying that you are mentally ill. The most important being – you are not.

-Greg Benson

Training:  Ethics, Values, and Cultural Competence

Instructor: Maggie Taylor, Community Bridger at
Advocacy unlimited

When: Tuesday, October 23 rd  9-5pm

Location:  114 W. Main St. New Britain, CT 06051
There will undoubtedly be times when you will struggle with challenges and conflicting choices. Dilemmas arise with employers, participants, the community, and within us… In order to strengthen our moral compass, in times of uncertainty, it is crucial that the lessons and skills of good ethics are used to provide us with the ability to make thoughtful, and informed decisions.  

Please join us for an interactive course on  Ethics, Values, and Cultural Competence  as it pertains to the Recovery Support Specialist role. In this course we will take an inward exploration of, first ourselves; our individual values, beliefs, and identity. Then, broaden the context of how our unique perspectives contribute to ethical decision making within the professional field.  

To RSVP email Jennifer Henry jhenry@advocacyunlimited.org or call 860-505-7581

RSS's will receive 8 hours to go towards maintaining certification
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