Reparations. Yes. …So, what counts as Harm?

3HO’s 2nd gens are currently being faced with something unprecedented: Reparations for the Harm we suffered.

It’s about time.

But listen… This is only the beginning. And until all 3HO SGA’s are compensated, it’s not finished. That’s what it will mean to me for this to be successful. 3HO’s not going to to a truly thorough outreach. Think of how vast we are as a diaspora. So, yes, it’s going to require some heavy lifting and labor on our part. Sadly, that is the lot in life of a trauma survivor: it’s up to us to do the work. We will need to gather our individual resourcefulness so that we can participate. And we will need to gather our collective ambitions, and do some outreach of our own: ie, call your buddies!

(EDIT: after a lot of pressure from the 2nd gen, SSSC has agreed to pay for outreach. If you have any information or input contact the outreach coordinator at reparationsoutreachcoordinator@gmail.com)

And the process is inherently bureaucratic and foreign. It’s supposed to be that way, but it doesn’t make summarizing and explaining our experiences – to a group of independent claims administrators who (for better or worse) are not familiar with the systemic nature of abuse in 3HO institutions – any simpler. Maybe even a bit insulting, like ‘you want me to do what now?‘ There’s a lot of emotion tied to it and that can present a hurdle. It will have to be one to overcome because staying insulted doesn’t get us what we need. We have to be able to move past the moral injury in order to stand up–each one of us–and tell our individual story. And then reach out to our friend and help them tell their story too. It takes courage, fortitude, and the ability to recognize and manage our trauma-responses & triggers. All this is so that we may utilize our language most effectively to be our own best advocate.

First up, we need to be able to name the harm.

It’s not an easy place to start. I’ve made a set of slides as a point of departure, but by no means covers everything, nor does it address nuanced stories. Just use it if you can.

Another useful tool is to self assess by doing your own ACE score at https://acestoohigh.com/got-your-ace-score/. ACE stands for Adverse Childhood Experiences and it is considered an effective public health measuring tool for how Childhood Trauma and Stress can impact someone later on as an adult. So it could be helpful to you if you have trouble self-assessing or quantifying how your current situation in life may have been impacted by a life growing up in a high demand group like 3HO. (Of course the ACEs score doesn’t exactly account for outlyers like us, but you can probably substitute “household” for “ashram”, “camp” or “boarding school”… or “parent” for “ashram member “, “guardian”, “bhenji/singh-sahib” … you know, whatever your home was at any given time or who was supposed to be looking after you.


The Nature of Harm:

Neglect:

  • Lack of affection or compassionate touch
  • Persistent hunger and malnourishment
  • Denial of adequate medical care or delayed medical care
  • Dirty or soiled clothing & bedding
  • Unsanitary or hazardous living spaces
  • Prolonged absence of healthy or stimulating activities

Physical Abuse:

  • Beating, slapping, hitting, punching, pushing or kicking by a caretaker or bigger kid
  • Excessive or unexplained corporal punishment
  • Corporal punishment that causes remarkable pain or injury
  • Unreported or uncorrected peer violence
  • Confinement, solitary confinement, excessive or unreasonable physical restraint

Verbal Abuse

  • Berating, insulting, labeling, name-calling
  • Shouting or screaming at someone
  • Hectoring, haranguing, badgering, scolding, harassment (oral or written)
  • Invading personal space, aggressive confrontational posturing
  • Unsolicited advice (often intended to humiliate a person)

Emotional Abuse

  • Manipulation
  • Gaslighting
  • Exclusion
  • Humiliation
  • Victim Blaming
  • Shaming
  • Being made to feel bad or afraid to tell anyone of your harm

Sexual Abuse

  • Inappropriate touching, fondling or penetration of a child
  • Inappropriate sexual language toward a child, minor or junior
  • Showing a child pornography
  • Indecent exposure toward a child
  • Failure to investigate or provide care when a child engages in sexual abuse toward another child

Spiritual Abuse

  • Threats of Excommunication from a shared belief or cultural practice
  • Any devotional practice as a form of punitive penitence (aka “Karma Yoga”)
  • Threats of harm that would follow you in to the afterlife (ie, “you will be re-incarnated as a cockroach“)
  • Threats of harm that would take a supernatural form (ie, that “protection mantra” they keep talking about)

Bigotry

  • Slurs or bullying directed at anyone on the basis of race, gender, sexual orientation or gender expression
  • Unsolicited remarks or questioning over sexual orientation
  • Slurs or shaming for perceived gender non-conformity
  • Body-shaming

Coercion

  • Being made to believe there’s only one option for you
  • Being made to fear an authority figure so that you do what they want
  • Feeling bad for disagreeing or for wanting to do something different
  • Being given inaccurate stories about retribution or outsized negative consequences

Lasting Trauma

  • Prolonged separation from parents & family
  • Being denied support after experiencing a traumatic event
  • Not receiving care for your abuse (or any traumatic event) in a timely manner
  • Witnessing accidents or death or experiencing excessive violence
  • Chronic neglect & abuse (CPTSD)

When any of these things are allowed to go on in a care or educational setting and
when caretakers ignore repeated instances of harm then it is considered INSTITUTIONAL ABUSE


I’m not offering legal, financial or mental health counseling or advice. I am just here as an advocate. I believe it’s important to hold institutions like 3HO and Miri Piri Academy accountable. This list may simply be helpful to those of us in the 3HO 2nd generation who might want some tools for recognizing, identifying and naming the types of harm we have encountered as kids–either at Boarding School in India or at Khalsa Youth Camp or as a youth at KWTC in Española New Mexico, or any other camp or school affiliated with 3HO.