Last night, I had a conversation with one of my Y-spies that left me with significant food for thought. She is relatively new to the anti-MLM movement – still an “active” Younique presenter, but with absolutely no intentions of carrying on.
In her first month of being a presenter, she applied to attend the Younique Foundation‘s “Haven Retreat” for childhood sexual abuse survivors. What she told me shook me to my core, and reaffirmed my views of this so-called sham (read “Charity or Travesty? Let’s look at the facts…” for my collaboration article with Maz Carrah).
My Y-spy spoke to me with such dignity and strength, that I felt so angry at how she was treated. Why do huns hero-worship this disgusting excuse for a charity? She has asked to remain anonymous throughout this piece, but her voice deserves to be heard loud and clear.
UPDATE: 7th Dec 17 – Since posting Albie’s opinion piece, I was met with an accusation that my blog will “discourage women from getting the healing that they deserve.” This statement is a ridiculous pile of steaming offal. I find it so ridiculous, that I have started a global directory of Genuine Charities for Sexual Abuse Survivors, showing alternative closer-to-home organisations in all countries where Younique operates. I am hoping my international followers will help me add information to this over time.
I will now hand over to “Albie“, and let her tell you her experience in her own words.
[Albie:] Thanks, Elle.
Like Elle said above, a month after joining Younique (and before I discovered her #Poonique tale) I decided to apply to the Younique Foundation’s “Haven Retreat”. Why? I was sexually abused for about ten years of my childhood, by my stepdad.
Being abused had a huge impact on me, and still does – its going to stick with me for the rest of my life.
I never really had a childhood – I was in a constant fight-or-flight mode, 24/7. I don’t speak to my Mom because she knew about the sexual abuse going on, but just looked the other way.
I’ve been on psychiatric meds since I was 14 years old, and in therapy on-and-off for about the same amount of time. I have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), agoraphobia, major depressive disorder (MDD), every kind of anxiety there is.
I am a constant work in progress, and will be for the rest of my life.
I still to this day am in fight-or-flight mode about 75% of the time, which causes me to never have any energy, or willingness to do anything.
So, I checked out the Younique Foundation’s website, and it seemed legit – it didn’t raise any red flags for me. Although…I always found it odd that Derek Maxfield (Younique co-founder) just basically picked sexual abuse as his charity, having never been sexually abused.
[Elle:] Sorry to cut in, Albie – in respect of your comment above, it is said that Derek’s sister and Younique co-founder, Melanie Huscroft, was unfortunately sexually abused as a young girl. I knew that this claim had been alluded to by uplines in Facebook groups (when I was a presenter), so I thought I’d take a look for further verification on this.
“…You may not know, but Derek’s sister (our other Co-Founder, Melanie Huscroft) was sexually assaulted as a young girl, so this Foundation really means a lot to our Co-Founders…”
[Albie:] Thanks for the info, Elle. I wonder, as a fellow survivor, why doesn’t Melanie play a bigger role in the foundation? She seems silenced in pretty much everything, but that’s a story for another day.
Well, anyways – I decided to apply to attend the Younique Foundation’s Haven Retreat – according to their website, there are four steps. Let’s take a look at what they are:
Step 1 – Enter your online application request. You will receive a confirmation page indicating that we have received your request.
The first step in the application process is to submit a request for an application to apply to the Retreat. Hmm. I submitted my request, and anxiously waited.
A week went by and I heard nothing. I decided to email them and asked what the status of my application was. They didn’t reply. Two days later, I decided to give them a call (I was already feeling pretty nervous about the whole thing). A lady answered:
Me: Hello, I submitted a request for an application over a week ago, and was wondering about the status of my request. I’m not sure how long it takes, but its been over a week.
YF-Lady: Oh, we usually email an application on the same day, but we’ve been pretty behind. Whats your name, I can pull up your request right now.
Me: My name is Albie O’Kayhun.
YF-Lady: Okay…I just sent you over an application now.
So, that took me to the next step:
Step 2 – Once we receive your request, we will send you a secure link to fill out the application form. This application form will come via email within 3 business days, please look for the email firstname.lastname@example.org. If you do not receive it within 3 business days, please notify us at email@example.com.
I filled out the application; it asked things like….
What medications are you on?
Have you been diagnosed with mental disorders?
It asked other related questions, but as it was done via secure link, I can’t remember them in their entirety…its kinda fuzzy.
Anyway, that took me to the next step.
Step 3 – After receiving the application, you may receive an email from The Younique Foundation staff to schedule a phone call appointment with one of our clinicians.
A few days later they called me to set up a date for a phone interview with one of their “clinicians”, and said it should take 15-30 minutes. They said they “were extremely booked up” and set my appointment for December (this year, 2017).
About a month later, and after some research, I decided something was definitely fishy about this charity, and after talking with my husband, he agreed with me. So, I emailed the Foundation telling them I wish to cancel, because I found some things out about the charity that I didn’t like.
They emailed me back saying:
“…Thank you for your email regarding attending The Haven Retreat. We are sorry to learn you will not interested in attending The Haven Retreat at this time, but we understand. If you would like to reapply at a later date you are always welcome…“
After some deliberation, I decided to just roll with the punches or whatever. I thought maybe I can get some Y-spy info out of them, in the hope it will help others. A few minutes later I was hit with this overwhelming panic attack.
I guess this was having a bigger impact on me then I realised. I took a benzo (anxiety med) and fell asleep pretty early, around 7pm.
When I woke up, I was unsure if i was going to answer the Foundation’s call or not. I thought about it all morning, and kept going back and forth.
When my phone rang though, I decided to answer it. Here is how my conversation with “Doris” went:
Doris: Hi, my name is Doris, and I’m going to be interviewing you today.
When Doris was reeling off the medications, she just couldn’t pronounce “propranolol”. I was sitting there, rolling my eyes thinking, “This bitch. Some ‘clinician’ she is, if she can’t even pronounce a medication that’s prescribed a lot for social anxiety. Is she even an actual licensed clinician??”
Doris: Okay, Albie, I’m going to ask you some more questions.
I immediately noticed that Doris was asking me her questions in a very specific way. She was asking each question in a manner that almost seemed like she was trying to disqualify me from the Retreat!
My instinct kicked in – if i answered “yes” to just ONE question, I just knew she would disqualify me. So I thought, “I’ll play your damn game, betch…”
This is when things started to get interesting.
Doris: In your application you mentioned that you get mood swings. When you have one of your mood swings, do you become manic?
Me: No, I do not become manic, nor have I ever been manic.
Doris: How do you act then? What do you do?
Me: When I have a mood swing, I’ll be having a ‘perfectly fine day’ or an ‘okay day’, and then I get one of my mood swings – my mood dips down, and I become depressed.
Me: I have nightmares.
Doris: How do you react? Do you get violent?
Me: No, I don’t get violent. I don’t usually wake up, I just recall them in the morning. When my nightmares do wake me up, I don’t really react, I just go back to sleep.
Doris: Do you ever disassociate? For example, others describe it as their brain leaving their body and watching things from outside your body. Others lose blocks of time. Others end up in the middle of Target having no idea how they got there. Others become violent and lash out. Does that happen to you?
Me: Yes I disassociate, it feels like my brain leaves my body, and I’m watching everything around me from the outside. I don’t end up in Target, or lose time, and I’ve never become violent.
Doris: How do you react then?
Me: It feels like my brain shuts down, and I cant do anything. I cant function in society, or carry on a conversation…I just shut down.
Doris: How do you handle it? How do you get yourself to come back from it?
Me: I shut down, and go someplace where I can be alone for a while. I don’t really get myself to ‘come back from it’, I just wait it out quietly.
Doris: When was the last time you had a disassociation episode?
Me: Probably about a year, as I’ve improved a lot in the past year. At Thanksgiving this year, for the first time in years, I didn’t disassociate or have a panic attack, it was a big deal.
Doris: Oh wow, that is great.
From the lack of warmth in her voice, Doris was totally being fake – she didn’t care at all.
Doris: Are you currently suicidal?
Me: No, I’m on so many medications, there’s no way I ever could be (LOL)
Doris: Have you ever been suicidal, tried to commit suicide, or been to a mental institution?
Me: No, no, and no.
Yes, you read that correctly – she used that extremely archaic and unpleasant term.
Doris: How do you think you would do in a group setting? Because there will be at least 11 other ladies there.
Me: Well, I do have social anxiety disorder.
Doris: And how would that cause you to act/react?
Me: I become withdrawn, but eventually warm up.
Doris: Do you have any current health problems?
Doris: Do you drink or take drugs?
Doris then asked if I had any questions of my own, and said the intake team “would be in touch with me in a day or so“. She also said they are “booked through to June 2018, and are not yet booking people until July 2018“.
So, that would eventually take me to the final step of this application process…I was waiting for Doris’ ‘approval’:
Step 4 – Upon approval from the clinician, we will offer retreat dates to schedule. We are usually able to schedule you to attend The Haven Retreat within 180 days.
You know where they can shove their approval. I felt like I was being judged hardcore – Doris did not come off as a caring, thoughtful clinician, like they’re supposed to be.
Every question she asked it felt like she was trying to disqualify me from the program.
I couldn’t believe what I had just experienced.
So what can I surmise from this? Basically, in order to attend the Haven Retreat, you need to be completely recovered, have no ‘issues’ whatsoever, and have never made a mistake in your past such as trying to commit suicide. You also cant wake up in the middle of the night from a nightmare crying.
What in the fucking fuck is this horse shit?
As long as you don’t have a single flaw, welcome to the Haven Retreat. Maybe it was just bad luck that someone like Doris phoned me, maybe there’s other survivors out there who had a more pleasant phonecall than I did. Either way, that was my experience, and it fucking stinks.
I follow a lot of anti-MLM instagram accounts, and saw this review of the Younique Foundation recently posted by another Y-spy of Elle’s, ApportionedMembrane. It really resonated with me, after sending my thoughts to Elle…
“…I know it is difficult to apply to this program and think something good might happen…I applied to the retreat thinking [..] I would find people who understand what I was going through. I was rejected because of being honest about my struggles. I felt I was judged on those labels unfairly. On paper, I look like a nightmare because of all the diagnosis and labels I have been given. I am so much more than these labels…I am still working to get out of the darkness sexual abuse has caused me…”
Its just shit. As Elle and Maz have pointed out, the funds this charity pulls in could be distributed to so many genuine organisations for sexual abuse survivors, across the world…but no, it ends up in this shit parade.
This was very emotionally taxing for me, for now, I need to rest. Thank you so much for taking the time to read this.
[Elle:] Albie, I would like to offer my sincere thanks to you, for sharing your experience. I know nothing can excuse these terrible things, and the way the ‘clinician’ deemed it appropriate to speak to you, but I hope that your words will offer help and hope to others in your position.
What’s next for Elle Beau?
On reflection, I do feel that I would like to rewrite my Poonique story into a proper novella – whether its an ebook, or if I find someone who would put me in print. The main reason being, I missed out “the smaller stuff” for the purpose of keeping the reader interested and driving the tale forward. When I wrote this blog, I wanted to mainly focus on the dodgy tactics I experienced, but on reflection I would like to talk more in-depth about everything I can remember.
I would like to rewrite my tale with the spreadsheet as more of a prominent reference point – it will also help me recall things in chronological order (i.e. when certain monthly kudos were released, little paltry orders etc). Mia is still lurking in some of the training groups, and is finding me screenshots to illustrate certain chapters. So, as well as writing anti-MLM articles, I will be working on producing a full, comprehensive story in the interim. I hope to set up a Kickstarter for this once I have an idea of costings.
If you like the anti-MLM aims I am working towards, please consider supporting me via Patreon. Anything is gratefully received.
Stay subscribed for upcoming anti-MLM news and articles, and of course the ever-popular #ShitHunsSay screenshots.
Don’t forget to join the MLM fight on social media – if you’re on Twitter, please give @ElleBeauBlog a follow (and help me get the #Poonique hashtag trending again!). Alternatively, join in the discussion with Elle Beau, the Anti-Blogger on Facebook. I am also on Instagram now – look for @ellebeaublog!
Please, also check out the good work of the people of Bot Watch, Juice Plus/MLM Lies Exposed and Timeless Vie. They work tirelessly to expose the truth and lies of the MLM industry, so anyone considering this line of work can make a fair, informed decision . In fact, I now have a Recommended Reading page for Anti-MLM writers and interesting lifestyle bloggers I think you will enjoy, such as Chammy in Real Life and my first Patreon, @yourolly.
For something a little different to pyramid schemes, I would also recommend a look at what Bad Psychics are up to. Award-winning and seen-on-TV, they have worked to expose false claims made by psychics, mediums and the paranormal since 2003.