On Saturday, May 23rd, a teenager from Marion, Arianna Robison, was reported missing out of Fort Wayne, and a post with Arianna’s picture made its rounds on social media.
Thankfully, Arianna was found after she managed to travel from Fort Wayne all the way to Indianapolis, on her own accord.
Early Sunday morning, both Arianna and her mother, Christina Robison, sat down to talk with our own Richarh Tyson for an interview on camera. The both of them wanted the deeper, even somewhat disturbing story to be shared with the public.
Arianna, who is now 14 years-old, has had a troubled couple of years, and she is currently being housed at Crossroads in Fort Wayne, which claims to be a facility that “creates promising futures for children in difficult circumstances by providing therapy, education, and family support services.” She was sent to Crossroads through a court order but has been at two different facilities for troubled children.
A while back, Arianna had been caught selling marijuana, and she was placed on probation while still staying at home with her mother. During her time on probation, Arianna overdosed, trying to commit suicide, and it was after the overdose that it came out she had been raped in 2018.
The next time she went in front of the judge for probation, the judge was aware of her suicide attempt and the story of how she had been raped. Because of these emotional problems and because of her acting out, the judge decided Arianna should be placed in a residential facility for kids.
Arianna was first taken to the Youth Opportunity Center (YOC) in Muncie, but after she had been there for approximately seven months, the judge decided a mistake of some kind had been made by sending her to YOC, so Arianna was sent to Crossroads in Fort Wayne instead.
Between being at the two facilities, Arianna attempted suicide a total of seven different times; two of those times were nearly successful, as she managed to hang herself. While in these facilities, Arianna also began self-harming, which is evident by the scars she currently has on her forearms.
During the interview, Arianna’s mother told Richarh that her daughter had never self-harmed before going into these facilities. She also told him that she believes her daughter’s mental health has only “gotten way worse” in these facilities, despite being put on multiple different psychiatric medications.
When Arianna went missing on Saturday, it was because she and six other girls managed to escape from the Crossroads facility and ran away. When Richarh asked her why she felt the need to run away, Arianna explained: “… my counselor told me that I’m not going home and there’s not a chance for me going home.” When asked why the counselor told her this, Arianna indicated that she did not know.
Arianna’s mother did tell Richarh that she feels like her daughter is being “punished” for having been raped, but she is essentially helpless in this situation, because Arianna was sent to the facility under court order.
We were also told that when Arianna went missing from Crossroads, the facility told her mother that her disappearance was not their concern and that they couldn’t do anything about it. However, they also changed the story they told Arianna’s mother about how her daughter had escaped multiple times. When Arianna was finally back home with her mother on Sunday, though, Crossroads immediately wanted to take Arianna back and sent a van to retrieve her.
While looking into this story, we talked to Megan Stroup, a social worker who teaches Child Maltreatment at Indiana Wesleyan University and has worked with people who have experienced trauma in their lives, in order to further understand the psychological impact on a child put through any kind of trauma. We were also hoping to get a professional’s opinion on how Arianna’s case has been handled thus far.
We asked Stroup whether or not she considered Arianna’s behavior to be normal for someone, especially a child, who has been raped. Stroup responded to our question by saying:
It is clear that this child has experienced significant trauma in her short life. What we know about trauma is that it can cause a person to express a multitude of coping behaviors including some that are adaptive and help the person continue to move forward in their life as well as some that may be maladaptive that can be reason for concern. Being raped could cause the type of maladaptive behaviors we are seeing in this situation… A general rule of thumb is that children act out what they can’t talk out. In this situation it seems that this child may be having a difficult time processing the harm that has been done to her and even though she is verbal, she may not have the emotional language to put into words the grief and losses she is feeling.
We also asked Stroup for her opinion on how Arianna’s case in particular has been handled. She told us she believes there’s a need for “a very open conversation with the child and her family where they are asked what they think would be best to help their family.” She also acknowledges that it seems Arianna does not want to be in a residential facility and that being in this placement might actually be “more triggering to her than being at home” would be.
We asked Stroup what she might suggest in a case like Arianna’s, and she told us the following:
As tenet of trauma informed care is looking at a situation and asking what happened to cause this behavior instead of what is wrong with that person? I think it is imperative that whoever the family works with begins to seek out the underlying issues and seek to treat those to improve the family’s chance of success. A set of tools I’ve seen work very well for clients with similar backgrounds is the pairing of Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy so that may be worth looking into.
Stroup informed us that she is not familiar with the way Crossroads operates and deals with children like Arianna, and those of us at Channel 27 only know as much as Arianna and her mother have been willing to share with us. Therefore, we aren’t using this story to attack Crossroads, but there is a legitimate concern as to whether or not this facility is what’s best for Arianna and her specific situation.
While Richarh was at the Robisons’ home, he witnessed the Crossroads van and staff members take Arianna, to return her to the facility, despite how obvious it was that neither Arianna nor her mother wanted the girl to go back.
Those of us at Channel 27 have felt a great deal of heartbreak while reporting this story. We are committed to staying up to date with Arianna’s case, and we will bring the community any additional information the family may want us to share.
Here is the video of the on-camera interview we conducted with both Arianna and her mother. The video contains sensitive topics, including rape, self-harm, and suicide. Viewer discretion advised.