A Concentration Camp for Boys

That’s what existed at the Dozier School for Boys in Marianas, Florida.


The torture, mutilation, beating deaths of boys as young as five years old is a true American horror story that is truly unmatched in terms of the pure evil that it represents. One hardly knows what to say in the face of such evil.


Its going to take me quite awhile to get my mind fully around this story as it has touched me in the most personal sort of a way owing to the horrific physical abuse that I myself had to endure for almost a full year as a freshman at Camden Catholic High School in Cherry Hill, New Jersey from September of 1964 to June of 1965. Beatings by the Catholic priests of the Diocese of Camden, New Jersey occurred there every day and have left me scarred for life as a result. Such abuse as I personally was victimized by can hardly compare with what occurred at the Dozier School for Boys in the Florida Panhandle just outside of the state capital of Tallahassee. It can best be described as a concentration camp for boys were probably hundreds were brutally beaten to death or killed using other equally sadistic methods only to have their young bodies dumped into the nearby swamps where they were eaten by alligators or thrown into an incinerator located on the property of the Florida state school for boys at Dozier.


As Florida is just one of 50 states in the Union all of which probably had some sort of an equally horrific concentration camp for boys within its borders one hopes that the world is quietly paying attention as the horror of all this filters out in the inevitable drips and drabs that eventually will turn into a torrent as the full scope of this holocaust is finally reported on! It is hoped that that torrent will reveal the full extent of this genocide. Perhaps that is overstating the case; perhaps though it is not!

As a young child with a psychiatric learning disability who was forced to endure daily physical abuse from the Catholic clergy I learned how to live in silence and in shame thinking that an opportunity would never arise when I might be able to share with others the horror of a young child knowing that every day would be another day of terror and humiliation at the hands of the so called “men of god”; and what a god it was that held those so called “men” in its grip.

I was twelve years old when I began that year of daily terror at Camden Catholic High School in Cherry Hill, New Jersey and thirteen when I finally left in June of 1965. I was overjoyed to know that I would be able to attend the same public high school that both my mother and father had attended in my hometown of Collingswood, New Jersey. It was the same high school that nearly all of my neighborhood friends attended. Just the very prospect of it lit up my life with a whole new reality that I had never considered before. I was going to be able to be happy for a change. I would no longer have to worry about having to endure the almost daily beating that I had been forced to endure for the past year.

I was going to be able to be happy again.

Years later as the various sexual abuse scandals seemed to rock the Roman Catholic Church I was puzzled by the way that the daily horrific physical abuse that I had witnessed and/or been victimized by myself was never ever heard about or even considered.

Later in a graduate mental health counseling program at Stetson University in DeLand, Florida I was to learn the reason for this.

There are three kinds of child abuse: physical, sexual, and emotional. 90% of all the abuse that takes place is physical abuse and of that 90% is committed against boys.

Roughly 10% of all abuse is sexual abuse and of that 90% is committed against girls.

America’s total past obsession with the 10% of abuse that is sexual probably has as much to do with maintaining conventional stereotypes in regard to such as anything else; however, with the rise of feminism as a new kind of ideological totalism that the US ruling class could conveniently exploit for its own ends, women’s issues seemed to eclipse all other ideological consideration in the mad scramble to put forward a friendly face on the new fascism and a new justification for US imperialism overseas and new forms of political oppression here at home. Defining men (and boys by default) as the new enemy marked the new form of ideological totalism that was to seize the West and the world by the balls so to speak. And it worked only too well to disarm and disorient all potential opposition.

For the first time in the post WWII era a new form of ideological totalism had arisen not in Germany or in Russia but in the USA and as the leading nation of the West this would have an even more important impact upon the world in the nuclear age than the two previous forms of ideological totalism that had on the history of the world in the 20th century. Little did the world at that time seem capable of imagining that even greater horrors were in store for it.

Capitalism’s inherent need to replace higher cost male labor power with lower cost female labor power could be made to look “progressive” as a result of the ruling class structure’s ideological turn to feminism as an all encompassing ideology capable of explaining all of human history not in terms of the traditional historical materialism of the Marxists but in terms of this new theory that upheld private property and inherited wealth.

The bankruptcy of liberalism in America today has lent itself to looking anew at some of the myths that we have been told we were obligated to live by in the last 35 years and that is all to the good. It is about time that we examine some of the power structure’s favorite assumptions regarding gender and a whole lot more. If we hope to survive as sentient creatures with any kind of a future at all on this planet we will have to do just that.

I carry the full weight and impact of somebody else’s crimes on me all the days of my life merely for having had the misfortune to have to attend a Catholic high school that was still stuck in the middle ages. Every day of my life I have to ask myself where is the justice for me that has been so readily poured out to others only because the particular form of abuse that they suffered at the hands of a deranged clergy was an officially recognized form of abuse.

What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore–
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over–
like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?

Langston Hughes

Note-This piece was originally posted to Open Salon on 08-13-2013


About charlesknause

I was born in Camden, N.J. (now the poorest city in America) in 1950 and grew up in a beautiful old Victorian town in South Jersey called Collingswood. I now live in Ormond Beach, FL where the weather suits my spirit. My personal life was impacted at an early point in my life by a psychiatric diagnosis that changed my life and put me on the workers scrap heap. I have refused to accept such a miserable fate and today consider myself a social activist dedicated to changing the way that people who have been diagnosed with a serious psychiatric disability are perceived by society and the people in their community. I have a B.S. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Central Florida and 18 graduate credits in Mental Health Counseling from Stetson University in DeLand, FL as well as 24 graduate credits in an MSW program at UCF. I am a member of the Volusia County Behavioral Health Care Providers Consortium where I function as an advocate. I am a daily reader of the World Socialist Website and an occasional contributor.
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One Response to A Concentration Camp for Boys

  1. Pingback: A World to Win! | charlesknause

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