Tuesday, May 11, 2010

uncushioned horrors

I posted this elsewhere, but I will post it here as well. It is so easy to consign the horrors of this world to a white-whine box marked "horrors" where they can be forgotten.

In today's Huffington Post, an opinion piece takes on the long-running sex abuse scandal in the Roman Catholic Church. Thousands of articles on this topic have come and gone, each discussing the topic from a cushioned journalistic distance. This was the first article/opinion piece I had seen containing direct quotes from the 2,600-page report by the Irish Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse (CICA).

It's the kind of testimony that, whether true or false, makes you want to close your eyes, so be forewarned ... and notice that the report is 2,600 pages, and not just several grisly paragraphs, long:

7.129 In relation to one School, four witnesses gave detailed accounts of sexual abuse, including rape in all instances, by two or more Brothers and on one occasion along with an older resident. A witness from the second School, from which there were several reports, described being raped by three Brothers: 'I was brought to the infirmary...they held me over the bed, they were animals....They penetrated me, I was bleeding'. Another witness reported he was abused twice weekly on particular days by two Brothers in the toilets off the dormitory:

One Brother kept watch while the other abused me ...(sexually)... then they changed over. Every time it ended with a severe beating. When I told the priest in Confession, he called me a liar. I never spoke about it again.

I would have to go into his ...(Br X's)... room every time he wanted. You'd get a hiding if you didn't, and he'd make me do it ...(masturbate)... to him. One night I didn't ...(masturbate him)... and there was another Brother there who held me down and they hit me with a hurley and they burst my fingers ...displayed scar....


7.232 Witnesses reported being particularly fearful at night as they listened to residents screaming in cloakrooms, dormitories or in a staff member's bedroom while they were being abused. Witnesses were conscious that co-residents whom they described as orphans had a particularly difficult time:

The orphan children, they had it bad. I knew ...(who they were)... by the size of them, I'd ask them and they'd say they come from ...named institution.... They were there from an early age. You'd hear the screams from the room where Br ...X... would be abusing them.

There was one night, I wasn't long there and I seen one of the Brothers on the bed with one of the young boys ... and I heard the young lad screaming crying and Br ...X... said to me "if you don't mind your own business you'll get the same". ... I heard kids screaming and you know they are getting abused and that's a nightmare in anybody's mind. You are going to try and break out. ... So there was no way I was going to let that happen to me.... I remember one boy and he was bleeding from the back passage and I made up my mind, there was no way it ...(anal rape)... was going to happen to me. ... That used to play on my mind.

At the end of the article is a request that others join and help fund an organization to which Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens have lent their support, a Project Reason. As turned off as I am by the testimony given, still the notion of joining an organization that revels in its reason and may turn a conveniently blind eye to to the human heart leaves me cold.

But I am happy to see the introduction of direct testimony (which may have been introduced in places I did not see it) into the world of cushioned horrors.

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