GUEST BLOG #7 by a Resident at the Texas Civil Commitment Center; Sept. 29, 2021
I have some great news for fellow Texans. Governor Greg Abbott is going to eliminate rape from Texas. He hasn’t discussed his superpower that is going to predetermine potential rapist, yet, but he has promised to get all rapists off the street.
In the past, there was a penalty of death for rape. So, the prospect of death wasn’t even enough to stop men from raping. I don’t know what alternative reality Governor Abbott lives in, but until you eliminate the root causes of sexual assault and abuse, it will always exist. You can certainly and indefinitely confine men who have raped and label that treatment to pull the wool over the eyes of the public. This will certainly stop or slow down those offenders, but what about the men who wake up today and make the choice to rape? In the movie “Minority Report” they had the ability to see future crimes before they were committed. Apparently, Governor Abbott saw the movie and thought it was a documentary.
Once again, this is a case of a politician using sex offenders to justify their agendas. His agenda being to take away women’s rights that in the past the Supreme Court went to great lengths to protect. I’m not picking sides of the abortion issue. For the record, I am not a proponent of it, I’m glad my mother didn’t abort me on most days. But I do feel women have the right to make their own choices. I regret the times I took choices away from women but I’m not going to minimize, justify, or blame others when I took that right away because I considered myself as having that right. I victimized by taking away rights that I had no right to take and that’s the right women have to their own bodies, their own choices, and their own beliefs.
My message to Governor Abbott is don’t victimize women and use my past to justify it. If you want to eliminate anything, eliminate the lies that are being spread about Civil Commitment being treatment, when folks are sitting around here stagnant. Stop telling the courts, juries, media, and public that civil commitment is a seamless transition back to society. Residents are stuck in tiers – all assignments completed – with no movement forward and no explanations as to why. Every few years they let a few residents out so they can justify their jobs, pat themselves on the back, and congratulate themselves on progress. Interestingly, three people were released on Tier 5, three people were promoted to Tier 4, and then the promotions to Tier 4 stopped. Like the old program where three people were released from prison, come to Civil Commitment and three people would go back just like a shell game.
Governor Abbott, how about you eliminate the notion that people can’t change? How about you eliminate your state’s racist voting policy? How about you eliminate racist cops killing unarmed black men? How about you eliminate the lack of educational standards in Texas, since Texas comes in last nationwide? How about you eliminate the race to become number one in death penalty executions? Better yet, how about eliminating COVID, since you can determine who can rape next? How did you not see COVID coming, Nostradamus? And, how about you eliminate your immigration problem and stop blaming it on President Biden?
I’d like to now speak to the family and friends who support us. It is not my intention to ruffle feathers. I’m just speaking on my situation. Generally, when I speak to my family, I try to be positive and upbeat. The last thing I would ever do is look to them for sympathy. I need someone to feel sorry for my like I need a hole in my head. I made my choices, and I am man enough to admit and accept what comes with those choices.
I’ve used this forum in the past to express frustration, hopes, fears, and progress, or lack thereof. Just for the record, I’m not drinking the Kool-Aid or suffering from Stockholm Syndrome. But I’m not going to exaggerate how I am treated to gain sympathy. Before I say anything, I will say this; that Civil Commitment is an evil sent straight from Hell. No amount of treatment could brainwash me into believing in this sham program; and I one hundred percent believe in treatment – applied as it was intended. I believe in alcohol and drug treatment as I do sex offender treatment. I think it is good and beneficial and I also believe it should be consensual.
How do I feel on a daily basis? My life drags by, day after hopeless day. Some days I feel like giving up, sometimes I feel hopeless, sometimes I’m tired of living this mundane life. Most days I want to be left alone. My life makes no sense. The greatest tragedy wouldn’t be my death, but rather a life with no purpose or meaning. Most days I feel like a failure because I am struggling to become something, and I don’t even know what it is. All I know how to do is get by, one day at a time. Civil Commitment steals all purpose, hope and meaning from your life. I probably won’t begin to live until I discover that purpose. When life has meaning you can bear almost anything without it, nothing is bearable. Life for the sake of life means nothing.
A book written during World War II by Victor Frankel titled, Man’s Search for Meaning is a good read and shines a lot of light on why more people here have taken their own lives.
Now having said all that, I’m not going to use those thoughts and feelings as a justification to break rules, offend, treat others poorly, or blame my captors. It was my best thinking that got me here. And that thinking and those feeling that set the stage for my offending. I recognized that – only decades after my offenses; and now I cope appropriately. In part, thanks to my therapy – coerced and consensual.
To my family and friends, I want to tell you I am not being mistreated. I’m not going hungry. Most of the meals are good, some suck, but some of the meals my mom and ex-wife cooked sucked too. I was just not vocal about it because they had the option of not cooking for me in the future. These people don’t. I don’t like having my property rummaged through, but most of the time I can’t even tell it had been gone through. When there was an exception to that, I asserted myself. I sure didn’t need my Mommy to take up for me. I vocalized my displeasure and was heard, respected, and even apologized to. It’s happened twice in five plus years.
Most officers are respectful and cordial and greet me every time I pass them, regardless how much I repulse them. And that says a lot as I even have a hard time doing that. These are my experiences and I’m not saying others haven’t had different ones. Maybe it’s my attitude that has made my experience more palatable. The people working here don’t make the laws or the rules. I’m not mad at them unless they give me a reason to be. They’re trying to make a living and I can’t do anything but respect that.
Saying I’m not being mistreated doesn’t mean I subscribe to the notion of Civil Commitment. Nor do I believe in many of their nonsense rules. It also doesn’t mean I haven’t broken them on occasion. But I can’t blame my lack of advancement on them when I’m not following the rules. Most people don’t like wearing seat belts or helmets but if I get pulled over for not wearing them, I can’t blame the cop.
This seems like a no-brainer to me, but I’m going to state it anyway. The courts, the public, and the juries are pretty unsympathetic to our situation and, I’ve only seen a handful of people leave and it was through the tiers and out the front door. That, at this time, is the only way out. Personally, I want my freedom so bad I can taste it. Maybe that’s not important to some. Breaking the rules because I disagree with them is not going to help me reach that goal.
In the first Iraq war when our pilots were shot down and captured, many of them were on the news bad mouthing America for attracting the peaceful people of Iraq. These guys love their country and prepare to die for it, but why die in captivity when that’s all they had to say. They would do or say anything to get home. I’m not saying I haven’t been sincere in my treatment but if I have to follow some rules that aren’t hurting me to get there then that’s what I’m going to do. And in doing so I get one of the few coveted jobs, my own phone, I can order from the grocery store and Walmart every month; vs being broke, locked up in a cell 24-7, being bored, disappointing my family, and ultimately giving them justification to hold me captive.
Saying I’m not being mistreated doesn’t mean I am not being harmed. Decades of captivity are harmful in itself. Depriving me of freedom is worse than strapping me to a whipping post and giving me lashes. Wounds heal but time is priceless.
Another thing I want to stress is the constant state of anxiety we walk around with because of the uncertainty of our future. Anxiety seems to be the leading factor in many suicides, and I’ve got to say, unfounded rumors cause us a great deal of anxiety and catastrophizing. Especially knowing they can come in the middle of the night to tell us to pack what we can in one garbage bag and leave the rest. We value what few possessions we have and know from experience they won’t hesitate to make us leave those behind. Hearing that we were moving August 1st, then September 1st, and now October 1st is unnecessary stress. Unfounded, unverifiable rumors cause us unnecessary stress. We have enough to worry about. I want facts and facts are hard to come by these days.
I also want my support team to hold me accountable. In the past, co-dependency produced an environment where it was easy to offend. If you really want to help me be successful, encourage me to do right so I can come home to you. Don’t enable me or flood me with negativity. I can do that on my own. The goal of this program is no more victims, (so they say). I like that goal. I have that goal. My goal consists of having not only no more sexual victims, and no victims period.
My family is going to love me no matter what I do. I truly believe that as they have proven that time and time again. I victimize them when I guilt trip them in supporting me financially because I had a crappy childhood. I victimize them when I tell them I am being starved so I can get a $700 Walmart food order. And I refuse to ever victimize my family again. I have put them through enough hell.
They aren’t helping me when they enable me to continue in my cycle; and if they are truly my support team, they know what that means. I also know it means as much to them to be able to come and see me and talk on the phone as it does to me. This is my truth as it applies to me. That’s growth, that’s love, and that’s part of what a healthy relationship looks like. I used to not know that; now I do, and that gives just a little bit of meaning to all this nonsense.