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tv   America Tonight  Al Jazeera  December 31, 2015 9:30pm-10:01pm EST

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>> you see transactional sex and no one is held to account for that. >> the united nations has never accepted responsibility for this. >> an ali velshi on target special: jewel on america tonight, keeping a seek resided, and the silent pain that can cause. >> on a daily basis, i would have nightmares, tremendous stress and anxiety. i was sort of experiencing constant vigilance. >> america tonight on the risk of silence and the possible remedy. >> thanks for joining us, i'm joie chen.
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give a moment to yourselves and the burdens of the last year you might be harboring. what's on your mind, what pains and regret do you keep hidden away and how could that risk your health? the inner turmoil of keeping secrets and the value of giving them all away. >> there's the story i have and the story he has and there is the story the police have in evidence. >> lacy johnson's story is something she kept secret 14 years, a dark chapter in her past she didn't reveal not even to those closer to her. >> i didn't tell people anything. there is a silence around it. i wanted to go on with my life. if my employer found out that this had happened, would that affect my employment? if my partner found out that this happened, would that affect our relationship?
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if my friends, would that change the way that they talk to me? >> what johnson kept hidden was this. shortly after graduating from college, johnson says she was abducted by a former boyfriend, a man she'd live with who locked her in a sound proof basement and threatened to kill her. >> the room may be a bedroom under any other circumstances is small. thick blue styrofoam covers every surface but the gray carpeted floor. the walls, the ceiling, the door. i can see no windows, but i'm not looking for them yet. all i see is the moment of my death not far away. >> johnson managed to escape and the man accused of abducting her avoided arrest by fleeing the country. >> i felt afraid all the time, not only of the person who did this to me, but i felt afraid of the knowledge, that the secret had power over me and over my
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life. >> how did it manifest itself physically? i mean, this was such a deep dark secret and to think that you had it for 14 years i think is beyond the comprehension of a lot of people out there. >> right. >> were you having headaches at night? did you have sweats? >> well on a daily base, i would have nightmares. i had tremendous stress and anxiety. i did have frequent headaches. i was sort of experiencing constant vigilance, mostly over looking for the person who did this to me. i just experienced this second version of myself, that that is the secret, that in reality, i'm an afraid person all the time, every day. >> very often after an upsetting experience, we almost go into this magical thinking well, if i
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don't talk about it, it will go away. talks it will just bring it back up, because it's completely false. it is there, you are living with it day in and day out. >> at the university of texas austin, psychology professor jenny pen baker has studied secrets and the stress they bring, day in, day out. >> what are the actual physical consequences of harboring a secret. >> when they have a secret and don't talk about it, they are at greater risk for health problems, higher risk for blood pressure, for immune problems, increase rates of colds, flus. there's some evidence that it have a higher progression of cancer. all of these are markings of a body under stress. >> when soldiers return from war, they, too, often carry a hidden burden. >> having done a lot of work with soldiers who have been involved in horrible things, who
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have seen horrible things, who have done horrible things, that they are again living with these and most of them, they can't talk to anybody about it. they really believe that nobody else understands. >> in his research, he has found something that helps veterans and others with the trauma in their past. writing. the soldiers who wrote expressively voicing deep thoughts as opposed to writing factually or not at all showed deduction in illness and anger and were more likely to hold jobs. >> the basic idea is that when people put upsetting experiences into words, it helps to organize them. it helps to put these experiences into some kind of meaningful framework, and very often, these people are dealing with these major upsetling experiences that they can't talk to their spouses about, they can't talk to their kids about.
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>> why does that writing help people leal from traumatic experiences that they've had? >> this is the $54,000 question. we know that there's certain aspects that underlie. one is just the mere acknowledgment of an experience seems to have an effect, the labeling of this happened. >> writing has worked with inmates and college students. >> in our lab, we have seen everything. we have seen murder. >> you've seen murders? >> yeah. we've seen war atrocities. we've seen victims of rape. we've seen people with suicide attempts. you name it, it's remarkable the things that we've seen, the murders for example were among maximum security prisoners in a project we did several years ago. >> that sounds perfect, very
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good. >> a doctor is a regular at a writing workshop in methodist that helps employees there put their sometimes stressful experiences at the hospital into words. >> for me it was a real shock. >> you start questioning everything that's been said before. >> when you're taking care of patients, you are the sponge for all of their problems, and their problems could be medical, physical, but they can also be emotional, maybe other people in their family are sick, and when you say for example see 20 patients a day, that's 20 people's problems that you're absorbing, and in a textbook, it says you might let go at 5:00, but i'd say most people don't let go of that at 5:00, so little stressful. >> that made it very interesting. >> for me, i think, when you spend time writing, you get to the essence of it, making time to think and to reflect on something is really, really important. >> you don't even need to
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actually share your secret with anyone to see a benefit. you can simply write it down and rip it up. >> is there a difference between writing a secret down and maybe tossing that paper away and unburdening yourself to a wife or to a friend? >> i think they both can be beneficial. the one difference is writing it for yourself and throwing it away, you know is safe. there's no repercussion for doing that. this is a big danger. if you now tell your friend or your wife or somebody else, there's a chance that they will be outraged, that it could influence your relationship with that person perhaps forever. >> lacy johnson took penny baker's advice and decided to face her past. she decided to share her story with the world in a critically acclaimed memoir called the other side. >> i'm a writer and i use
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writing to understand my experience. i use writing to understand the world, how i think. it's how i answer questions. i had a big question about what had happened to me and how i could stop letting it control my life. >> what does it feel like to actually see the words that you were writing for the very first time, addressing this issue, this story, this secret? >> painful, but powerful. i felt in control of the story and i felt empowered by writing them down. this will be the last version of the story i ever tell. i know how ridiculous this sounds, how foolish, how any eave because the truth is i'm afraid of what will happen when it's done. i'm trapped, a prison i've built with this story, i don't know how to escape it, but i do know
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the story is a trap, a puzzle, a paradox. ending it creates a door. >> it's a door allowing lacy johnson to escape from the secret that held her for so long. al jazeera, houston, texas. next, high holiday, the jamaicans looking to cash in on their countries best-known export. later, shake it off. in a community rocked by protest, the young people taking the first moves for their own futures. hot on america tonight's website now, no place like home, inside one of haiti's makeshift camps where thousands seek shelter. why they've been forced out at
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>> one of the big stories in the news this year, the growing number of states going to pot, legalized marijuana, that is for medical and now recreational use. it turns out that deregulation has also inspired changes in marijuana laws off our shores in a place you wouldn't expect legalized ganga would be a big issue. we have an in-depth look at jamaica's green russia.
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>> a three hour drive from the jamaican capital brings visitors to a farm. >> where are you taking me? >> wine enthusiasts go to napa but in jamaica is a kind of secret tour for a special type of tourist. america tonight was given access to a farm not yet open to tourists. >> this is all your ganga plants. >> no. >> marijuana plants. >> cannabis. >> cannabis. so these are all different types of strains. >> yes, yes, yes. >> many assume marijuana, cannabis or ganga as the jamaicans call it is legal here, but it's been against the law to have it which is why the farmer asked us not to rye veal his identity. >> be careful! >> it represented a huge change, when earlier this year, taking a cue from place like colorado, the government decriminalized
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possession of small amounts of the plant. >> what did you think when earlier this year, marijuana was decriminalized? >> i thought it was a good opportunity for growth, for the people who have beared the brunt of the disgrace and illegality of it to be redeemed. >> jamaican's decriminalization of marijuana makes some here uneasy. this is a conservative society. gangs have dominated the illegal drug trade and parts of the country bear the scars of the violence. in 2010, a state of emergency was declared because of that violence, which left more than 70 people dead. advocates hope decriminalization will put an end to the violence and shift profits away from gangs. ♪
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>> ross is among the people who have been prosecuted for using ganga. >> my stand and my determination that -- >> for 47 years, he has practiced the religion and compares it to the use of bread and wine in catholic ceremonies. >> i know people who eat it and drink it, who make products out of it. it has become an integral part of our culture especially if you're looking at --
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>> households are allowed to grow up to five plants. he remembers many times when he went to jail for smoking. >> not only is it no longer criminal, but many see an opportunity to capitalize on the multi-billion dollars industry with what already is a homegrown international brand. he is the head of the grower's association and looking forward to the opportunities that may come. >> i'm saying you come with your money and your facilities, these roots are here, they will grow,
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but we don't only want them to grow. we want youth to come and learn the science of marijuana. so one day they can come and have their own business. in other words, that can help. >> at a farm hidden in the hills nearby, another grass root farmer told us he's looking forward to the prospects. >> you'd like to make good money from this. >> of course, yes, i want to make good money. >> do you make good money on this now? >> it's hand to mouth. is that how you say, hand to mouth? >> hand to mouth. so you see big business in your future? >> i'm thinking about big business. >> for every grower we met hoping to cash in on the green rush, there's an entrepreneur looking to launch a new business. >> what is this place?
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where are we? >> we are in a state-of-the-art spice and seasonings factory. >> maurice ellis manufactures seasonings he hopes to one day in fuse with medicinal ganga. >> why do you think your spices will be extra better than official? >> just recently we found when we blend pepper, our local pepper here with cannabis, cannabis oil and you consume it, the pepper opens the glands and taste buds and you receive your medication much better. >> when you look around, how much opportunity do you see and have? >> oh, it's budding with excitement, pun intended, bud, excitement. >> ellis said no one would invest in his spice business until he introduced the idea of adding medicinal ganga to his
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products. that's when he got investors from all over the world, including an investor from california. things are being tested here that aren't in the u.s. >> you looked at this as an opportunity. >> opportunity for business as an american. it's wonderful, because the government here of jamaica is going to allow what the u.s. government hasn't done, and that is allowed for us to do patient live studies, which is phenomenal. >> advocates think legalization could give jamaica's struggling economy a boost. >> my concern is what people benefit from this medical
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marijuana industry? will it be the people who have suffered for it, the grass roots people who have suffered for it -- al jazeera, kingston. a year of turmoil in a blighted american city and the young people making moves toward the future. coming up, fire breaks out in a luxury hotel in dubai. 64 floors are evacuated. the u.n.'s international tribunal of rwanda genocide
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closes. germany on alert, imminent threat as they evacuate and shut down the train stations on new year's eve. all that coming up at the top of the hour.
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we end on a hopeful note. communities challenged so many times, baltimore, maryland, it has been a tough year for charm city which continues to battle sky high murder rates. through all that, some found refuge in a place known for its quiet, the neighborhood library. in west baltimore, we found one young boy who found his place and his peace on the book shelves. >> terrell simmons has to walk through some of the most dangerous streets in america to find safety and security at the library in west baltimore. >> somebody got shot up there today. when the shooting and stuff, i
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stay here. i feel safer in here than out there. >> it sits at corner of pennsylvania and north avenues. the epicenter of unrest back in april. that's when protests turned to riots after the death of freddie gray, killed after police allegedly gave him a rough ride in a van. rioters looted and destroyed dozens of businesses, the images broadcast around the world. ever since, violence has engulfed baltimore. june and july have been the most violent months in decades. the city recorded its 200th murder in august. >> i'm scared sometimes, like in certain neighborhoods, i stand out. i don't like coming outside at night. i don't even go outside at night. it's not like a shooting what happened, but i just don't trust
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it. >> that sense of fear eases inside the library, where 11-year-old deryl can play video games, eat a free lunch, and see other worlds open up before him. >> come on in. >> malayne thompson digs is the branch manager. >> we see the real side of the community. we see the side that says this library needs to remain in this neighborhood. this library is services young people, servicing adults, people who don't have jobs can come in and get on the computer and apply for jobs. >> you opened up the day after the riots, kids come in here and they're reading books. >> uh-huh. >> as broken glass is all over the city and police are up and down the streets still. >> uh-huh. >> what do you think brought those kids back in here? >> i think at the end of the day, they felt like this was a place that cares about them, puts them first.
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i think the community saw that, you know, this isn't just about being a library. this is about a safe haven. >> adam may, al jazeera, baltimore. more now on caring for the community. in the report, we saw a place of refuge in baltimore. we've also found a place in charm city where young people are moving forward in what's called graffiti alley, a twice weekly dance off, a local style sees the junk shaking off the pressures of their world. >> i helped manage and put together the scone we know as shake off. that's a dance style that originated here in baltimore. shakeoff, we have our own footwork, our own style. we incorporate other styles. we take a lot of shaking, a lot of popping, we put it in hour
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own style. >> it basically gives all of these teens outlets. >> this is what keeps them out of trouble. they love to dance, but a lot of people don't know that they actually make the music, d.j. the music. perform in front of audiences. a lot of them come from the ghettos andhoods and they are here consistently doing something positive to escape the things that they see on an every day basis. >> i actually was one of those people that was in the streets doing bad things and then i found out that i wanted to dance. i really enjoyed it, he kept doing it and started doing things and just started dancing and i actually stuck with it. now i go for myself. i realize that the people i was hanging around originally didn't help me and was no good to me and that i had to find a way to get away from that before i go down a road six feet under or in prison. i started doing this and i found
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more positive people to hang around and they kept me uplifted. this is my friend luigi. we won this together. this is our third time having the belt. we won it in a tournament, we lost it to a duo of females and we got it back because one of them got pregnant. we lost it again and got it back. >> baltimore has a history and traded images to be negative however there is a lot of positive in the city. >> from graffiti alley, that's great. that is america tonight. tell us what you think at talk to us on twitter and facebook. we'll have more of america tonight tomorrow.
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>> new moms forced to choose. >> the united states does lag behind other countries on this. >> now a revolution in workers' rights... >> my story is so many peoples' story. >> that could decide the election. >> it can be different. 2016. psh psh a luxury hotel goes up in olympic games in dubai, hours before the city rang in the new year. >> court return. >> we are dealing with people who committed genocide. and we believe they had enough to do.