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Lee Goldman's story: Surviving hell to give back to the community Special

By KJ Mullins     Apr 2, 2013 in World
Toronto - Being a teenager is never easy for the child or for the parents. For Toronto's Jane Doe, 26, that is an understatement. School problems led to her being sent to a 'boot camp' in Utah that left her with PTSD.
Doe (not her real name) may suffer from the disorder for the rest of her life but instead of letting it get her down she is finishing a degree at university and giving back to her community.
Lee was diagnosed in Grade 2 with ADD says her mother Linda. It was the first of a "myriad of diagnoses" that would dictate her early educational years.
Doe said during a phone interview that two incidents of sexual abuse by boys at her high school in Toronto is what threw her off track and affected her behavior at school.
"I told a teacher at the school about what had happened and they didn't do anything. My parents also didn't seem to do anything about it," Lee said remembering those days. She said that she acted out verbally when she saw that no one seemed to be helping her. She also said that she falsely accused her father of the abuse online. The Child Protective Services were called in.
During this time Doehad an educational consultant. The consultant and her parents decided that Doe would attend school at Utah's New Haven Girls School. According to Doe she had no prior knowledge of the school thinking that she and her family would be looking at different choices. Instead Lee was told she would be leaving that day for Utah. Lee was not happy about the decision and didn't enjoy her time at New Haven, acting out and running away.
"When Lee was not able to continue at New Haven we were told about Provo Canyon School. We certainly were not told about any negatives about the program at the time," Linda recalled.
Doe, however, found that Provo Canyon School was hell on Earth. She alleges that the staff at the school tortured her and the other students. She's not the only former student to maintain that the school abused students. The school has been sued several times, including by Lee. Many of the cases have been dismissed because of statute of limitations.
Doe said that she was sexually abused, denied food and made to sleep under bright lights in addition to other abuses. One of the cruelest tortures was having other students shun each other so that they were not punished.
"If we cried we were told we were acting out and put into time out," Doe said painfully remembering that time. She also said that medications were given to all of the students and that medication was often switched out without reason.
I asked Linda about the Doe's time the medication issue. "We were notified after the fact when medications were changed. The notifications came in monthly follow up letters."
The time at Provo Canyon took its toll. Doe now deals with PTSD.
"I believe her. If I was to do it over I would have done it differently. I know for some parents believe that Provo Canyon saved their children's lives, but their children had addiction problems. She did not. As a parent we do the best that we can but we are human and make mistakes," Linda said sadly.
For a two-year period, still a teen, Doe turned to drugs but has been clean since she was 19.
The consequences of that time has left Doe coping with panic attacks and depressions, while short lived, that have had her comment that she doesn't want to go on. Those comments have resulted in police interaction that have left lasting negative thoughts for both mother and daughter.
"Certain elements of the police have been difficult," Linda says, "There's a huge stigma in Canada about mental health issues that needs to be addressed."
Doe said that there have been times that the police responded to calls several hours after an incident. "I would be fine and then have to be handcuffed and taken in. I have never been admitted to hospital." She has since moved from the police division that she had the most problems with and has a better relationship with the division she lives in today.
Doe's life is back on track. Although she still has bad days she's busy giving back to her community while taking classes in university. Doe said she's not that close with her family. Linda said that while they don't always get along there is a lot of love.
"She's doing much better today," Linda said happily.
Doe volunteers every week working with children including as a camp counselor during Spring Break for Gilda's Club. She is involved with Healing Beyond the Body at Princess Margaret Hospital, a one on one counseling program for chemo patients.
"She loves kids. This is her salvation," Linda said proudly, "She doesn't need a lot and she gives a lot away."
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