Author Topic: Relationships in general  (Read 21827 times)

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Offline Goodtobefree

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« on: February 15, 2006, 12:20:00 AM »
Sorry if this belongs somewhere else on this forum.  After 14 months at the Academy at Swift River, I've found that I've had significant issues involving opening up about my experience to anyone, let alone a prospective significant other.  I feel almost incapable of real intimacy with a partner, and I have a lot of issues concerning paranoia and trust thanks to my experiences.  Aside from the extreme difficulty of trusting new people in my life, I find  my reactions to perceived betrayals of trust disproportionate.  Hell, I get emotional if I see something on tv that reminds me of it.  It's cost me a lot of pain and suffering, almost ruined a lot of the friendships that kept me from reverting to suicide in some of my worse moments.  The rage just flares up and consumes me at the mere mention of friends who have turned on me, even those that I want to forgive, even years later.  I often think that I'm never going to be able to enjoy a real relationship, partially due to my experiences, partially due to my own pessimism about relationships given my past.  The only family I have that understood any of this was my mother, because of a similar experience in a mental hostpital.  Unfortunately, just as we started to love and trust each other and work together, as I learned how my father, stepmother, psychologist and grandparents had pressured her into sending me away, she died of cancer.  So here I am, without a single trusted elder, owning a house at 21, renting out rooms to afford the bills, dealing with roommates who deal cocaine behind my back, bring home surprise pets, wake me up when I'm trying to sleep between a job and school, a really twisted family that doesn't acknowledge anything I've said about my experience and who I end up fighting with so much I can't even think about recovering from ASR, let alone dealing with my childhood abuse or recovering from my mother's death.  But I don't want to complain, I want to work on it.  And I know no man is an island, but my entire support network consists of a handful of friends, many of which know none of this, a few of which who know a decent amount, and only a couple who really know a lot.  I see a therapist, and he's been a tremendous help in processing all this, but it isn't enough.  Since my biological family is harmful if anything, a significant other could be a very good thing.  I've done as well as I can on my own, and my future looks good, I'm on my way towards a career I love, I have good friends, I've been taking care of my physical and mental health as well as I can, and I've managed to work through a lot of my depression and appreciate the good things in my life as much as possible.  I've managed to live my life ethically as well.  I don't lie, I don't cheat in any way, sexually or competitively, I don't resort to violence, I work hard, I treat my friends with respect and generosity, I've done everything I can to help my little sister by trying to help my parents to learn from their mistakes in the past, and by being a good role model for her, trying to teach her self respect by praising her as much as possible, since she doesn't get much of that from her parents, and trying to help her with a compulsive eating disorder, as I struggle with my own.  I'm proud of who I am and all I've accomplished, both for myself and what I've done for others.  I can sincerely say that I've improved the lives of every friend I've had, and been kind to strangers, meeting courtesy with generosity, and hostility with respectful communication, not violence or antagonism.
I haven't been perfect, but I've done as well as I could.  I can't do any better on my own.  I'm reaching out for help.
I'd sincerely appreciate any advice from survivors and their significant others, as all I've wanted to do since leaving ASR is to put it behind me and live a happy life, and I know that a relationship couldn't do any good if I can't address these trust issues, and then only if I were with someone who understood all this, so I need to be able to explain it too.  If any of you out there can help, I don't think I need to tell you how much this matters to me.
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Offline Anonymous

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« Reply #1 on: February 15, 2006, 12:42:00 AM »
it has taken me 2 decades to talk about my program experience and I have the same issues as you.  Intimacy is very hard.  Trust is very hard.  I'm able to be a wonderfully kind, generous and loyal friend, but I don't see the same qualities in most people that I meet and then I become hyper-critical of them and their shortcomings. I'm just hoping to someday meet someone who has been through what I have been through and has the same feelings about it.

not sure really what to say because it's all pretty confusing to me too.  Just know that you are not alone in the way you feel.
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« Reply #2 on: February 15, 2006, 07:38:00 PM »
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Offline 69

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« Reply #3 on: February 15, 2006, 08:34:00 PM »
I know what you mean.[ This Message was edited by: Exit Plan on 2006-02-23 20:11 ]
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Offline Goodtobefree

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« Reply #4 on: February 16, 2006, 03:26:00 PM »
Thanks everyone.  It's been really good for me just to hear other people say they've gone through the same thing, or something similar enough that it really relates, even if it's affected us differently as time went on.  I'm so glad I found this place, I've been unable to talk about so much of this stuff that I thought I'd forgotten most of it.  When I found this site memories started coming back to me so intense I had to take a day off just to process it.  It's weird, but the people I've had the most success relating to are people who went to jail or juvenile hall.  Even when they don't understand, I've found them to be the most willing to listen and to try and understand.  I think that over the years I've been more vocal about my experiences than most, but always in describing the school, or the counselors, or the wilderness experience.  I've talked about those things with complete strangers, acquaintances, etc. ad nauseum without a problem.   I don't mind that at all.  But when it comes to really saying what it was like, how it hurt me, what it feels like now, or any of the things I've been able to talk about on this forum, I've barely said a thing in years, even to my best friends or my therapist, people I've actually learned to trust.  Now that I've started to talk about these things, I'm able to get some closure just by the virtue of being 5 years older, and being able to put words to the experience that I didn't have at the time.
Now that I've read extensively on psychology, cults, sociology, behavior modification, etc., and had time to process the experience and read other people's accounts of their experiences, it's becoming a lot easier to really deal with some of my issues related to my experience.  Before ASR I'd never heard of LGAT seminars, or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or Skinner's experiments with behaviorism.  I didn't know about the sordid history of Aspen Education Group or WWASPS.  I had no choice but to rationalize what I'd been through given my limited base of knowledge as a 17 year old who'd just finished 14 months in a therapeutic boarding school and was entering prep school for the first time, less than 3 weeks later.
Unfotunately this rationalization often took the form of justifying what I'd been through by exhonerating my former jailers and my family, internalizing my own culpability in the process as a necessary explanation for going there in the first place.  This logic trap took years to find my way out of.  If my parents loved me, they wouldn't hurt me.  Therefore ASR was a good thing.  If ASR wasn't a good thing, then my parents had hurt me, and therefore didn't love me.  I wasn't old enough to appreciate that my parents could love me and hurt me at the same time, and that this was a reflection of their own imperfections as human beings, not mine.
     When I was able to see them as people, (not as the larger-than-life antagonists or heroes that we see our parents as before we realize they're only human) I was able to understand that they'd made mistakes, and that these mistakes did not reflect on me as a person.  In the past few days I've been able to process so much of my experience that I barely remembered.  I just want to let everyone know how happy I am to be here, both or the closure it's bringing me, (fuck, just reading over some of the things I've written here has been a huge help) and for the opportunity to do what I can for others by sharing my own experiences, and shedding some light on the truth behind the multi million dollar troubled teen industry.
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Offline Goodtobefree

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« Reply #5 on: February 16, 2006, 04:25:00 PM »
I'd like to add that finding a good therapist is a very difficult task, especially given the distrust towards the mental health profession that a program can impart on its victims.  Even among REAL professionals, the quality and character of an individual can vary just as much as it can anywhere else, there's a lot of psychologists and psychiatrists out there who are just as bad as whackjobs like Rudy Bentz, if not worse, since their credentials give them even more authority over patients.  But I still feel strongly that a good therapist, one with common sense, compassion, and good credentials can be an absolutely invaluable resource in living a happy and healthy life.  I urge all of you to proceed with caution, do a lot of research, and if the opportunity presents itself, don't pass it up.
    The reason I feel that this can be so helpful is that a good therapist is in a unique position to be of use in this area.  A good therapist will listen to whatever you have to say without passing judgment on your decisions or your character.  If they can't relate or understand, they will gently try to help you to communicate your thoughts or feelings, in a manner that is both respectful and effective, by helping to identify all the elements of an issue and how they interact, as well as offering the perspective of an observer with a wealth of insight you may not possess without their level of education.
     When meeting a new therapist, there are certain basic criteria I feel are important.  From the beginning, they need to be absolutely up front to you about what sort of things they would feel required them to hospitalize you or otherwise order you detained.  I've witnessed countless horror stories of kids sent to psych wards over tattoos or stretching their earlobes because a psychologist saw their expression as self mutilation.  Whatever your issues, I want you to be  able to trust that you won't be subjected to another forced stay in a facility, for trying to get closure over a previous stay in a facility.
     A good therapist should respect your right as an adult to make your own choices, especially those regarding drug use, abortion, body modification, religion, sexual preferences, etc.  Their role is to listen to whatever you have to say, and advise you accordingly, whether they agree with your way of life or not.  They should only intervene when they have legitimate reason to believe they are protecting you from causing serious harm to yourself or others.  Don't let anyone you just met talk down to you about your lifestyle because they have credentials.  They should be asking you about how YOU feel your choices have affected you and those you care about, and offer impartial counsel concerning what you want to do about it.  If they feel you're making a poor decision, they should say so, provided they can explain to you how your decision would impact negatively on your life based on YOUR value system, not theirs.  That's what a good therapist is supposed to be there for.
If you can find one, they can be a great addition to your life, giving you invaluable tools and information.
     Unfortunately in finding a good one, you may have to go through a lot of them, and this can be dangerous for the reasons I've mentioned above.  Whenever you meet with a new therapist, I recommend the buddy system method.  Make sure people you trust know where you're going, and are expecting to hear from you shortly after your therapy session is scheduled to end.  Leave instructions about who to contact, i.e. a lawyer, possibly parents or a spouse, etc., in the event they don't hear from you.
     If a therapist seems suspicious or untrustworthy, or just isn't getting it, trust your instincts and keep searching, this is one area where it's much better to err on the side of caution, for obvious reasons.  I'd rather have a therapist I talked to once a month on the phone and trusted implicitly, than one of low quality that I settled for because they were the best thing I could find in a 50 mile radius.
     Finding a good one really is worth the search.  I've been seeing psychiatrists, psychologists, and counselors since I was 5 years old, and I've been through quite a few both before ASR and after.  A bad therapist will hurt you over time, no matter what you do, hindering your progress the whole time, but a good one will help you no matter what, simply by virtue of having 2 ears and keeping their mouth shut, giving you a chance to vent, though of course a great majority of your progress will depend on your own efforts.  No matter how little you're able to work on yourself, a good therapist will always do one thing for you, simply by virtue of being there for you, and putting the offer on the table to give you a chance to work on yourself with professional support.  Just knowing that's available can be a huge help.
    I've been seeing a counselor and a nurse practitioner for a year or two now, and the relief that has come from proper medication and monitoring, combined with standard talk-therapy and EMDR therapy has been a huge help in dealing with my experiences.  (For those that don't know, EMDR is a newer method of therapy designed to help the mind process traumatic events and come to terms with them through a series of exercises involving eye movements and isolating painful images or feelings from a traumatic experience.  I'm not an expert, but the way I understand it, the eye movements help to break associations of pain from the memories, so that we can remember the trauma without re-experiencing the pain as if it was happening all over again, as is the case with traumatic events.  I've heard good things about it from both professionals and those who've been through it, and I myself feel that it has a lot of potential for good based on my own experiences with it.)
      I hope my experiences with the mental health industry can be of help to others.  Good luck searching and if anyone has any questions on this topic, feel free to ask.

      Last but not least, I'd love to hear about any positive experiences people have had with post program recovery and professionals, either therapists, support groups or organizations that study the effects of these programs and/or recovering from them.
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Inalienable: Adj: 1: That cannot be transferred to another or others: inalienable rights.   2: void where prohibited, restrictions may apply, you must be 18 or older to qualify.[ This Message was edited by: Goodtobefree on 2006-02-16 13:39 ]
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Offline Anonymous

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« Reply #6 on: February 16, 2006, 08:12:00 PM »
"I'd rather have a therapist I talked to once a month on the phone and trusted implicitly, than one of low quality that I settled for because they were the best thing I could find in a 50 mile radius."


I hear ya on that one...My therapist is almost 1000 miles away.  I sure am building up those frequent flier miles quickly.
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Offline Ramona

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« Reply #7 on: March 11, 2006, 01:04:00 AM »
Hello! I have just discovered this website, along with a few about CEDU and I am shocked....I was looking for information about Rudy Bentz, because he was hired as administrator at the school where I work and there are lots of unresolved feelings about him.....as far as I can tell, he was hired out of the blue, knowing nothing about the philosophy of our school....I don't even know how or why he was hired....anyway, if you could either send me an email at my personal address, or through this site, I'd really appreciate it...my husband and I are going to leave this school, partly because our board hired someone who doesn't have a clue, and we can't find out exactly why....some of the other teachers are considering leaving, too....we want what's best for the children and are very disturbed by the direction things are going in....we're a Waldorf school, which has nothing to do with any of the stuff I read about CEDU and the place where you were....Please respond or let me know if there's anyone else I can contact...we're trying to get to the bottom of this, because we've experienced a teacher who was sexually abusing children....we helped get himfired and sent to jail.....I am not accusing Rudy Bentz of anything, but just want to know more about him, as I am convinced he does not belong at our school and is hoodwinking the parents and faculty and board....thank you!!! And I'm so very sorry for what you and all these other kids I've been reading about have gone through...it's incredible!!! My husband has been a Waldorf teacher for 26 years, we've raised four children,  and I've been working in the kindergarden for several years....we have always tried to be gentle and respectful of children and I can't believe what I've read today!! I can only be grateful that the facts are coming out into the open....my email address is [email protected]....my name is Ramona von Moritz...please write asap!!! Thank you, and may God guide your steps along your healing journey. You are very brave!!! love, Ramona

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Offline Goodtobefree

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« Reply #8 on: March 11, 2006, 07:10:00 PM »
Good lord, he's working with little kids now?  That's absolutely terrible.  I wouldn't let him alone with any of them if I were you.
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Offline Ramona

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« Reply #9 on: March 11, 2006, 11:41:00 PM »
Thank you for your quick response....I'm pretty flabbergasted....fortunately, he is not in a position that puts him alone with the children.....but what we need to know is more about his past experiences, because we have to have something to show the parents....do you know if he was involved in any law suits? or if any of the places where he worked are/were being sued? or where we can get more specific information? The last thing we want to do at this point is bring something to the faculty and parents that is too easy to refute...at the same time, I feel that we need to show them something ASAP.....your response definitely has shaken me....by the way, our youngest son rooms with three other guys who sometimes can't pay the rent or buy food....they don't do drugs, but they do seem to love beer :smile: they are nice guys, all from different parts of Asia....they have a hard time with English....one hasn't been able to tell his father that he dropped out of school....his father lives alone and puts all his faith in the son.....our son is paying his rent, buying the food, paying the bills....and is also taking a full load of course work and working as a security guard....he's also 21...I just wanted to let you know, we understand at least a bit of what you're going through and support your hard work!....our hearts go out to you....well, that's it for now, I guess...my husband asks that you understand we're really going only on gut feelings about Rudy at the moment....but the last time we had these feelings, it was about the guy I mentioned, who was abusing kids....I don't want to accuse Rudy of anything without proof....and it IS possible that he has changed and I don't want to assume something that isn't true....or is no longer true...he mentioned that he's been doing "A Course in Miracles"....but this really has me wondering!!! Please let us know if there's any more you can say, or if there is someone else we could contact for more info....THANK YOU!! [ This Message was edited by:  on 2006-03-13 10:41 ]
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Offline Ramona

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« Reply #10 on: March 11, 2006, 11:50:00 PM »
dear Goodtobefree....I just wanted to add that a very good friend of ours is a psychiatrist who has just finished a book on PTSD....she's been working with another doctor who specializes in this and they are at USC.....the book is getting published and will be out soon....I'll ask her the name and let you know....she also works at the emergency room at the L.A. County Hospital....she's a young, very compassionate woman...we've known her since she was about 14 years old....wishing you all the best, Ramona
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Offline Deborah

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« Reply #11 on: March 12, 2006, 03:24:00 AM »
Rudy Bentz at a Waldorf School? How very weird. Is he, or were they, so desperate to fill a position. My son attended Waldorf kindergarten. It ultimately wasn't a good fit for us, but I respect the gentle, loving approach of the method, and positive regard given the children. BM was never used. No mind games either. What qualified him for this position? Is he an Anthroposoph? All staff at my son's school were. That's as weird as an Anthroposoph working in a BM warehouse. The one's I've known wouldn't make it through the first day, if they even took a position.
Guess his Ed Con gig didn't pan out, eh?

There is a ton of info here on Bentz- search his name. Not sure it will be sufficient for your purposes. Personally, I'd focus on helping them understand the nature of his 'work' with children in the past and the absolute disregard inherent in the methods he values. How he set up two Therapeutic Programs (Hidden Lake Academy and Academy at Swift River), listing both as Private Boarding School to avoid protective regulations.
How the methods employed were austere and experimental. If they're anything like the Waldofians I know, that's all they will need to determine he doesn't belong in that environment.

And, it's highly unlikely, but perhaps he's come full circle and realizes that abuse is not 'healing or therapeutic'.

And Good, sorry to distract from the topic. I related and agreed with your comments, particularly how hard it is to find a good therapist. I also have heard wonderful things about EMDR. I'd like to hear more of your personal experience with it.

I consider my closest friends to be my best 'therapists'. I know where I have difficulty and I give them permission to point things out to me that I might not notice. They know that they can interrupt some bullshit thinking without fear of offending me, and that I'll do the same. Those are my most valued relationships. Doesn't always happen that their assessment is accurate, but it's very useful when it is. And more times than not, it's close enough that I can figure it out from there.  

Trust is a significant issue that deserves more discussion. My current 'working' opinion on trust is that it's over-rated, unless it's boardering on 'paranoia' and significantly interfering with relationships.

It could be useful to explore why 'trusting' people is important to you. What does that mean, rationally and realisticly? How are you expecting others to be/act in order for you to feel safe and to 'trust' them? Do you trust your ability to take care of yourself in a relationship, so you don't have to 'trust' the other person to?  

What I've learned over the years is that you can't have the same expectations for everyone in your life. I can 'trust' friend A to be there at the drop of a dime, when I need to cry or rage about something. I can't 'trust' friend B to do the same. I don't compare the two or feel that I can 'trust' A more than B. For me, this really has nothing to do with trust in the big picture. It has more to do with me understanding the limitations of the people in my life and not having unrealistic expectations about their abilities. Unrealistic expectations can lead to disappointment which can lead to 'mistrust'. A viscious cycle.

So interrupt the cycle. Don't expect a philanderer to be faithful. Don't trust a gossip mongerer to keep a secret. Don't expect an alcoholic to stay on the wagon. Don't expect a friend who can't manage time to be on time. Funny, that last one. I have a friend who couldn't be on time to save her life. This caused me great frustration early on. Now, when it's important, I ask her to arrive 30 minutes earlier. An hour if it's really important.

That's my perspective, fwiw. Trust, like love, has as many definitions as there are people. It's a good topic!!
[ This Message was edited by: Deborah on 2006-03-12 00:27 ]
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Hidden Lake Academy, after operating 12 years unlicensed will now be monitored by the state. Access information on the Federal Class Action lawsuit against HLA here: http://www.fornits.com/wwf/viewtopic.php?t=17700

Offline Anonymous

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« Reply #12 on: March 12, 2006, 10:03:00 AM »
Rudy Bentz worked at the CEDU school along with his wife Jill. He was very prominent in this program that used groups (raps)not for therapy but to bully and emotionally abuse eachother.  I can tell you right now that many kids confessed to false dirt or exaggerated dirt under heavy bombardment in the rap arena.  They also facilitated workshops called propheets that were intense, highly contrived experientials that tore you down but did not build you up.  Frankly, it was the worst kind of experience for developing minds. Look at the CEDU site, but start for the earliest page.  The more current pages are irrelevant. There is a lot of anger.

By the way, I did attend CEDU when the Bentzs were there.  The whole program, on a systemic level, was damaging and not remotely designed for emotional growth.  You do drink the Kool Aid just to survive; it is hard to resists the program directives when you are isolated, monitored, and your parents manipulated. You realize you have no recourse but to buy into the program.

Rudy Bentz, by philosophy, has no business in the Waldorf program.
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Offline Goodtobefree

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« Reply #13 on: March 13, 2006, 11:35:00 AM »
Quote
On 2006-03-12 07:03:00, Anonymous wrote:

"Rudy Bentz worked at the CEDU school along with his wife Jill. He was very prominent in this program that used groups (raps)not for therapy but to bully and emotionally abuse eachother.  I can tell you right now that many kids confessed to false dirt or exaggerated dirt under heavy bombardment in the rap arena.  They also facilitated workshops called propheets that were intense, highly contrived experientials that tore you down but did not build you up.  Frankly, it was the worst kind of experience for developing minds. Look at the CEDU site, but start for the earliest page.  The more current pages are irrelevant. There is a lot of anger.



By the way, I did attend CEDU when the Bentzs were there.  The whole program, on a systemic level, was damaging and not remotely designed for emotional growth.  You do drink the Kool Aid just to survive; it is hard to resists the program directives when you are isolated, monitored, and your parents manipulated. You realize you have no recourse but to buy into the program.



Rudy Bentz, by philosophy, has no business in the Waldorf program. "


Not only that, but when he went on to start ASR, he brought a few of his CEDU friends along with him.  The schools are pretty much identical in nature except that ASR is more of a "finishing school", since it's designed to be "hands off".  You send kids there after they've already been in programs.  They might not be completely obedient or trustworthy yet, but their will has already been broken and they're not likely to fight back or try to run.  All the vocabulary words are different, but it's the same thing any way you look at it.

Rudy Bentz is a fucking monster, he needs to be locked up and prevented from ever coming near another child.
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Offline Ramona

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« Reply #14 on: March 13, 2006, 01:38:00 PM »
As a concerned parent, I ask that you all keep your responses as dignified as possible....and to the point...whatever the people in question may or may not have done, parents should not jump to conclusions, nor should teachers...I ahve seen letters from parents and students who praised Rudy Bentz' work and are grateful to him for his help....perhaps there are two sides to this...perhaps some of the critics are just angry and wanting revenge?
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amona