Tag Archives: #Abuse

Abuse

Since its founding in 2005, CSFES has been contacted by students who have been abused. Each and every year. Only a tiny amount of  exchange students who are abused contact us. We know there are many more who need help. At least that is what this study from 1999 shows. I have found no other research regarding abuse against international exchange students.

Anyone can be abused. There is no way to tell who is an abuser by the way they outwardly look or act. Abusers look just like you and me.

Physical abuse

Physical abuse includes pinching, pushing, grabbing, shaking, smacking, kicking, and punching. In 2016 we had a case where the exchange student was beaten so bad he had to go to the Emergency. He was surprised by his host-mother and host-brother, taken out back and beaten. Due to surprise and shock, the student had not been able to defend himself. The host-brother’s fists (nothing else) were marked by the beating. Unfortunately, the exchange organization representative deleted the pictures the exchange student had taken with his phone showing what he looked like. In spite of written documentation of the damage to him, the exchange student was blamed and returned to his parents.

Report physical abuse and tell your parents. ALWAYS tell your parents, take pictures and send them as soon as possible.

Sexual abuse

In 2017 Miami Dade Herald reported on the case of the sexual abuse of at least 12 girls. The predator married two of his victims and had started the process of manipulating the another. The exchange organization, CCI Greenheart, that had placed 11 of the girls, apparently did a background check on the predator but had not found his record of sexual assault from 1985. This predator is far from the only exchange student case that has come to the attention of media.

In most cases, sexual abuse does not go this far. It all depends on how good the abuser is at what they do. Unfortunately, it also  depends on the exchange organization taking the students seriously. In the above case, CCI did not. When that happens, many students give up.

As soon as you hear people tell you that you should keep whatever happens to yourself, contact your parents. ALWAYS keep your parents up to date about what happens to you and what your days consist of. I have worked with some of the students and families who are sexually abused. Sometimes the exchange organization works with the student. Other times, we have to fight to get the student to safety. Most of the time chance plays a part in whether or not CSFES, or other similar organizations, are asked for help.

Emotional abuse

This is the kind of abuse we see most often. Emotional abuse can happen on its own or together with other kinds of abuse. If you are sexually or physically abused, you will, most likely, be emotionally abused. Realizing what is happening can be difficult. Manipulators know how to gradually trap you. Some of the situation can be:

Day by day your situation worsens. Every day you are blamed for something or told that you are not good enough. Nothing you say or do makes things better. You feel the old you disappearing into a miserable person.

Blaming you for what they do. The abuser might say something like “If only you were better behaved, this would not have happened.”

You might be treated as a servant rather than a family member.

You might be kept from having contact with new friends, your family or friends at home or other adults in the area. We often hear exchange students tell us that their coordinator asks them to keep the situation to themselves.

Humiliation seems to be popular. One student told us about her host mother who would say embarrassing and untrue things about her to her friends. That kept her friends away. Others have told us about host-parents or coordinators who spread rumours.

Threats of self-harm happens. One student spoke of a host-mother who depended so much upon their talks that she said she would die if the student was not there. The student stayed longer than was good for them, but fortunately they were able to move.

Telling you that you are ungrateful for your “lovely host-parents who were kind enough to welcome you into their home”. Especially host-parents who are friends with the coordinator can cause trouble. In most cases, the exchange students gets blamed for everything that happens.

Threats of being returned to your home. Another favourite. Particularly exchange organizations use this threat. They might even demand that you sign a document where you are blamed for the situation.

When the exchange student is the abuser

This does happen. Not very often, but when it does, the abuse can be any of the above. Again, tell the exchange organization right away.

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2016 Aug 25: Livermore charter school officials face charges tied to child cruelty

Angela Ruggiero writes about allegations of child cruelty at Livermore Charter School:

LIVERMORE — The Alameda County District Attorney’s Office on Thursday filed misdemeanor charges of assault and battery, child cruelty and failure to report child abuse against three employees connected to two Livermore charter schools in a case of abuse against a foreign exchange student in January.

Prosecutors charged then-principal of Livermore Valley Charter Preparatory Eric Dillie, who is now the principal of Livermore Valley Charter School and then-vice principal Randy Taylor, who is said to have resigned this week, with a misdemeanor charge each of failing to report the alleged child abuse.

Brock Van Wey, 42, of Livermore, who worked for California Preparatory Academies, was charged with misdemeanor assault and child cruelty, said Livermore police Officer Cynthia White in court documents.

The allegations against them arrive the same week more than 400 students fled the two Livermore charters the first week of school and enrolled in district schools instead.

The charters are run by Tri-Valley Learning Corporation, which has been under the district attorney’s investigation since February after allegations that two Chinese students were transported against their will to a sister charter school in Stockton in a separate incident.

The corporation also has been under fire for allegations related to financial mismanagement, illegally charging foreign exchange students tuition, not paying teachers on time, and a slew of other complaints by parents, community members and the Livermore Valley Joint Unified School District.

Chris Van Schaack, assistant superintendent of the school district, said he expects more students to transfer out of the charters and into local public schools given Thursday’s charges.

Although Van Wey wasn’t employed by the charter school, he worked for California Preparatory Academies, which has been helping the charter school with its foreign exchange program. California Preparatory Academies, headed by Bill Batchelor, is now the Squaw Valley Academy, a private school sharing a campus with Livermore Valley Charter Prep at 3090 Independence Drive.

According to the court documents:

On Jan. 28, the 14-year-old student was in an after-school tutoring session at the charter school when Van Wey accused him of copying homework and humiliated him in front of others. The student got upset and left but was found by Van Wey behind a grocery store and told to get into Van Wey’s car and go back to campus.

“Van Wey forcefully grabbed (John) Doe by his arms, picked Doe up and held him in a cradle position,” White said.

The student tried to get away but Van Wey’s grip “was too tight.” Van Wey reportedly cussed at the student and shoved him headfirst into the car, White said. The student was then driven back to the school.

The student had a laceration to his shin and complained of pain to his knees as a result of the incident. Van Wey reportedly told Taylor, who then told Dillie of the incident the next morning. Both Dillie and Taylor are legally bound to report instances or suspected instances of child abuse to law enforcement. The two allegedly never did, the documents state….

Read more at The Mercury News

2012 Aug 18: Host-father frequently drunk

Program: Study Abroad
Location: China
Posted: August 18, 2012

My daughter went to China for a year with AFS in high school. As an overall experience, it was incredible and changed her life for the better. She was adopted from China, and always felt “different”, and after this year she was a changed child from knowing that she was accepted, recognized as beautiful, and “fit in.” She loved her Chinese high school experience, and loved the general experience of being in China. She was changed for the better as a person. And our local city AFS chapter is wonderful.

AFS China, on the other hand, and the support she received from AFS USA while over there, were a different story. Her host family had a frequently drunk father who hit his daughter, greatly upsetting my daughter. She did not want to leave the family because she felt very close to her host sister. There was quite a bit of heavy drinking and sex from the European AFS-ers, and minimal supervision from AFS China. Whoever was supposed to be supporting them over there was not supportive, and when I called the US person, he would take sometimes weeks to answer my calls and was unresponsive. (I was later told he was sick, but needless to say they needed a replacement.) So that part of it was not at all well done.

AFS is an old and extremely well established organization, and it is difficult to do a great job in so many countries working only with volunteers. On the other hand, at the least they could have good and responsive US staff.

So a mixed story.

2012 Jan 20: AYUSA Intrax Foreign exchange student abuse San Francisco, California

Ripoff Report

Submitted: Fri, January 20, 2012 | Updated: Fri, January 20, 2012
Reported By: Frank — West Dover Vermont United States of America

There are a lot of excellent foreign exchange student programs out there. Unfortunately, this isn’t one of them. We paid approximately $10,000+ for our son to go to the Netherlands and be emotionally abused by a crazy woman. He required medical attention because of the abuse, and AYUSA used that as a reason for kicking him out of the program. Their policies require them to provide a warning letter and probationary period before removing kids from the program for any reason, but the only policy they follow is pretty simple: No refunds.

Bottom line: Your child’s safety and well-being aren’t their concerns. The bottom line is. Stay away. Run, don’t walk.