Please locate and contact your legislators and tell them you want a federal ban on the use of aversive therapies on minors! A sample letter is provided below that you can copy, paste, and edit.
FIND AND CONTACT YOUR LEGISLATORS: (Directions: Enter your zip code in box below and click "GO". If you live in a split district, enter your full 9 digit zip code or address in the fields provided on new action page that opens in a new window. If you do not live in a split district, simply click on "Federal" under "Write Your Elected Officials" where it says "Write to your "Federal" or "State" elected officials". For "subject" enter "Please Ban Use of Aversive Therapies on Minors". For "Issue Area" drop down menu, select "Children and Families". Copy/paste/edit the sample letter below into the "Editable Text" field. Complete your contact information and click "send message".)
Copy, paste, and edit this sample letter to write your legislators to demand action on this issue:
"Dear [Legislator/Official's Name Here--(i.e. Rep. McDermott)],
I am writing you today to ask that you take action to stop the torture of American children and youths in behavior modification, treatment, and educational settings that utilize aversive therapies.
Aversion Therapy: "A type of behavior therapy designed to modify antisocial habits or addictions by creating a strong association with a disagreeable or painful stimulus." The American Heritage® Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2007, 2004 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved. Source: http://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/aversion+therapy
Some States have introduced legislation to ban aversive therapies that include sensory deprivation, solitary confinement, and other practices that lend themselves to serious human rights violations often defined as torture. Senator Marko Liias introduced SB 5870 in 2015 to ban the use of aversive therapies on minors. (Source: http://app.leg.wa.gov/billinfo/summary.aspx?bill=5870&year=2015) Other states have introduced similar legislation including Massachusetts. Senator Brian Joyce of Massachusetts has introduced S. 80, an act to ban aversive therapies in Massachusetts. (Source: https://malegislature.gov/Bills/189/Senate/S80). Rep. Danielle W. Gregoire of Massachusetts has introduced similar legislation to ban the use of aversive therapies on the disabled. (Source: https://malegislature.gov/Bills/189/House/H89).
I ask that you author and introduce federal legislation to ban the use of aversive therapies on minors. And, that using aversive therapies that amount to torture be listed as a federal crime punishable by a minimum sentence of 10 years in prison. California outlaws torture explicitly and appears to have a sentencing range of 2-8 years for those convicted of torture or similar offenses. (Source: http://www.shouselaw.com/torture.html) Since torture is a serious crime against humanity, I believe a stiffer penalty must be imposed to highlight the seriousness of the crime and the dedication the US has to human rights.
Since aversive therapies are intended to cause pain, that intention alone regardless of any other long-term goal of using torturous "therapies" should qualify those who engage in aversive practices resulting in severe pain, injury, and harm to victims for prosecution and jail time.
Hundreds of children have died and hundreds of thousands of Americans live with Post Traumatic Stress and other debilitating effects from being exposed to long-term aversive therapies, particularly in residential programs where milieu control is similar to that found in damaging religious cults and totalitarian regimes.
I implore you to create legislation to stop this abuse and encourage you and all government authorities to treat this issue like the national emergency it is and put a stop to the use of aversive therapy on minors for good.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
[Your Name Here]
[Your Address and/or City, State, and Zip]"