Saturday, 28 February 2015

CSA Inquiry - its the Economy Stupid

I am really not clear what the focus of the CSA Inquiry is.  If it is to track down and punish the perpetrators, then we will be here forever.  Obviously those still actively engaged in childcare should be dealt with as a matter of urgency, but the testimony of historic cases that have been proved over and over by other survivors should be accepted, and the survivors compensated without further delay.

The main purpose of the Inquiry, seems to be to disprove the stories of the victims.  And in this instance I will use the word victims., because they, and indeed I, were victims of the 'don't spare the lash' ideology that prevailed at the time.  There is not very much that can be done about that, 85% of us come from dysfunctional homes, and none of us knows what goes on behind the white nets.  Even the most 'respectable' families have many dark secrets.

What was unacceptable however, was the sexual, physical and emotional abuse that would NEVER be acceptable in any compassionate society.  Acts that would incur criminal charges outside of an institution. How can you justify raping kids and dragging 5 year olds  from their beds and locking them in a cupboard for the night?  How can you justify making a child eat its own vomit?  How can you justify forcing children to do hard physical work (often completely pointless tasks dreamed up out of spite) to the point where they can barely keep their eyes open?

Institutions were not too dissimilar to prisons, which is why the huge Mental Institutions of old were shut down and their inhabitants moved into the community.  Institutions are a breeding ground for 'Zimbardo' mentality. Those with power over others, especially the vulnerable, become tyrants*.  To deny its existence, in the face of the evidence, over and over again, is futile.  It happened in the past, and it is happening still, psychopaths hone in on the weak and vulnerable, look at what happened at Winterbourne. Its not just kids who suffer, anyone who is vulnerable is at risk. and of course the horrors of Deepcut.

The failure of the local authorities to check on HOW we were being cared for and who they were employing to take care of us was criminally negligent.  In my case, Peter Rand, a fanatical lunatic and ex Jesuit monk who envisaged himself as an Opus Dei martyr.  This man who should have been in a straight jacket and on very strong medication, had day to day care of us and he continued working with children until the late 1980's, despite in 1972 being found with 15 year old boy in his bed and crimes of serious financial fraud. But he was a good Catholic. 

Does anyone actually believe that creature treated us with responsible loving care and affection?  His favourite saying was 'Mortification of the Body is Good for the Soul', he believed pain would bring us closer to God.  Just how much evidence do they need?  Must we all be paraded as Victims, A, B, C, etc and reveal in excruciating detail the humiliation and physical beatings, and for some gruesome sexual ordeals, we endured for the delectation of the Media and those making a beeline for the juicy stuff. 

In the 1960's, some bright spark in high office thought it would be a good idea to employ good, catholic, single men, to be house fathers and mentors for children in care.  They opened up the sweetshop for every pervert, sadist, psychopath in the vicinity and of course many who were happy to travel any distance. Who advertised, interviewed, and encouraged these lunatics, the local authorities or the Catholic Church? 

At some point in the early 1970's the insanity ceased.  I remember my last year in Don Bosco as being happy, the nuns and lunatics had gone, replaced by a middle aged single lady, who was well educated, well travelled, and who understood us, from the little ones up to the sulky teens.  She was Aunty Mary, and we loved her dearly. For some of the kids, those who had been in care since they were babies, it was the first love and kindness they had ever experienced in their lives. 

In trying to understand what led to the freaky behaviour of Aunty Mary's predecessors.  St. Anne's Convent was an institution like many others that existed at the time.  Each run by their own Mr. Bumbles who saw 'abandoned' kids as a commodity.  And we were.  The local authorities were paying extraordinary amounts of money to the Catholic Childrens' Authorities to take care of us. My father a student nurse at the time had to contribute over half his wages, the Borough of Richmond paid the rest.  In many cases, the full amount was paid by the taxpayers.  Institutions are run on belief systems, and if that belief system preaches pain, suffering and hardship, that is what the inmates will endure.  There is no kindness in moulding a chid into a 'good Catholic'.

Being 'moulded' in your formative years by an institution based on the ideology of religious fanatics can be very damaging indeed, especially if you refuse to believe the same shit they do. And if your education is restricted to religious indoctrination that convinces you that your life is to be a journey of suffering, then you will be very fucked up indeed.

In my own lifelong quest to understand what it is that makes people evil, I tried to understand the nuns' stories, I tried to think of them as the young girls they once were, and I tried to understand what drove them, at a tender age, to give up all of life's pleasures to devote themselves to a man in the sky they couldn't see.  I hasten to add I didn't move into this mode of thought until past middle age, prior to that I just thought they were demons from hell sent to  wreak vengeance and retribution on the offspring of lowlives. 

All the nuns I knew were Irish, the Sisters of Mercy, but the mere mention of that particular Order's name sends shivers of fear worldwide, so its probably not confined to the Irish.   Fair dues to the Irish though, because their Government and indeed the Roman Catholic Church have admitted liability for the crimes committed by the Sisters of Mercy in Eire and anyone who was ever in their care (in Eire) is automatically compensated without the ordeal of a trial.

Those investigating historic child abuse should start with the religious indoctrination and practice of this Order of nuns, and indeed many of the other particularly vicious Orders, that these (mad)women received before they were unleashed onto the world.  What made them behave in the way they did? Those who believe Mother Theresa was a Saint, need to think again.  She wasn't and her form of 'faith, kept the poor, poor and inflicted more suffering and dying than is imaginable.  But don't take my word for it, watch the great man himself, Christopher Hitchens on the subject:

The CSA Enquiry needs to look at the overall picture,  rather than deal with each case individually on its own merits.  The Roman Catholic Church needs to accept that those nuns who were committing crimes in Eire, were committing exactly the same crimes in the UK  (and probably worldwide) - they were the same nuns, from the same backgrounds, with the same 'batter little children' training. 

Bizarrely, we accept without question that Priests, nuns, any clergy actually, are intrinsically good people because they have sacrificed their lives to God.  And a lot of them are good people.  Unfortunately, there are also many within their ranks who at some have point have thought, 'feck, I really didn't think this whole sacrificing thing through when I signed up, so I'll make everyone else suffer'.  There are also a few good eggs, who just think, 'well now I'm here, I'll make the most of it'. And then of course there are many who genuinely want to do good in the world, but need the security of being part of a group with a common goal in order to do it.

At the moment the focus of the CSA Inquiry is to track down and punish the perpetrators of these crimes.  Having battled and campaigned on this issue for way too many years, I can say to other survivors that bringing the abusers to justice doesn't heal the wounds and they are still hurting you if you believe it will.  In my case, Peter Rands and the nun were still alive, but very old and very ill - although there was certain irony that Peter Rands was dying from cancer of the anus.  I would like to say that they were remorseful and sorry for what they had done, but they weren't.  They lied to the bitter end.  If their faith is as strong they as they claim, they will take their lies with them when they meet their maker, that's fine by me.

We shouldn't be campaigning for more trials, we should be campaigning for compensation.  Not only were we being abused, our abusers were being paid for it, handsomely!  The Catholic Church should acknowledge the disparity between admitting the guilt of the Sisters of Mercy in Eire and the denial of it in the UK.  The wealth of the Vatican should be dipped into to improve the lives of those they wrecked and ways need to found to prevent institutional abuse ever happening again. 

From an economic perspective, it will cost much less to give each survivor a nominal sum, than to fight each case on its individual merits. I estimate that my case must have cost a minimum of 500K, that money could have settled the claims of 50 survivors at £10,000 each and prevented 50 further trials at a cost of £500k a time. Its economics Stupid, and the only way this never ending Jarndyce .v. Jarndyce saga to reach a conclusion, is for both sides to put their cards on the table and find an economic solution that will suit everyone.    

*  The Stanford Prison Experiment - Zimbardo


  1. Cristobell, you've just jumped the shark

    It has only ever been about the compo, hasn't it?

    How do I quantify my suffering into a 5 figure sum?

  2. On 27 Feb you said:

    "I don't consider myself to be a victim, I never have, that's coming from you. If I were a victim, I would not be here tearing your pathetic vitriol and accusations to pieces and I would not have the courage to state the truth in the face of so much opposition. I am no victim my friend, and you underestimate me if you think I am."

    Today you say

    " And in this instance I will use the word victims., because they, and indeed I, were victims of the 'don't spare the lash' ideology that prevailed at the time."

    and you want compensation.

    1. You must work through the night looking for contradictions and inconsistencies in my work, kudos on the research and tenacity, even if it is a bit weird.

      I'm glad you brought this up. Let me explain to you how compensating the victims of historic abuse works. The majority of victims are too broken, and too damaged to go through 5 years of interrogation and litigation, not to mention a gruelling 3 day trial (1-2 days in the 'dock') dedicated to proving they (and their families) are lying, low life toe rags. Those who can survive all that, are deemed not damaged enough.

      Play with semantics all you wish, I am no longer 'in the dock', and just in case you missed it, I am not the criminal. And just for clarity, the criminals were the ones brutalising the children in their care, not the children who were abused.

    2. Nope - I don't work through the night analysing your blog entries - I have much better things to do at night.

      It is quite easy for someone with a working memory to remember what you post from day to day.

      I never accused you of being a criminal - all I did was quote two posts from you.

      So which is it - are you a victim or not? (remember a five figure sum may depend on your reply)

  3. Oh shock horror, I've skipped all the bullshit, and got straight to the point! How dare I eh, there was at least another 10 years worth of prevaricating left.

    Of course its about the 'compo', did you think it was just about your entertainment? Thousands of lives were wrecked by these monsters who were employed by the Catholic Church and the Local Authorities. They can't give the survivors their childhood back, but they can apologise and they can do something to repair the damage, and improve their lives now. Whatever sum is quantified, will be but a drop in the ocean compared to the lives that were lost, and those that were never lived.

    I'm curious as to what you think it is all about? Whilst the crime and punishment aspect may draw the crowds, you seem to forget that real human beings are involved, and their lives have been devastated. Many of our friends and siblings are not here now because of the horrendous cruelty they suffered whilst in the care of the 'authorities'.

    Putting old men on trial and in prison might be an 'honourable' reason to have a CSA Inquiry and investigation, but it does nothing to repair the damage that has been done.

    You mention jumping sharks, and you sneer at the mention of 'compo'. In your world the rich and famous are entitled to hundreds of thousands, even millions, for hurt feelings and distress caused by harsh words, but God forbid ordinary people should be so tacky as to ask for cash apologies for being raped, abused and beaten as kids.

    1. But you had the opportunity to do something in your own small way when you were living at the orphanage. You had loving parents who regularly visited you, you COULD have told them. Not waited 40 odd years when you claims are so much more difficult to prove.

      How old did you say you was, 11-14? You were not a small child, you knew what was happening was wrong, you had a loving family network to support you and all those other little suffering children at the orphanage to back you up but you didn't do a thing, not even after you left when still you could have spoken out and maybe made a difference.

      You can't represent all victims of institutionalized abuse because you have no proof, any more than the court had when you went to trial. It always boils down to money, 'my auntie died of natural causes while a patient in bedlam, how can I blame it on Savile and screw 'em for a few million quid'? It's become a daily occurrence.

    2. So everything that went on was the fault of the 12 year old me?

      Have you ever lived in fear 12:30? Woken up each day wondering what new terrors those who had care of you, had in store? I assume that you haven't, happily it not something most children have to endure. And you forget that we were CHILDREN, we did not have the maturity or understanding to know what to do about it. The only thing we knew for certain was that 'telling' would bring further punishments, not only for ourselves but for ourselves and for the little ones. If you read my book you will see what happened when I did 'tell' and if you read the court files, you will see that my 'social worker' describes me as having become sullen, withdrawn and unwilling to say what was wrong.

      As for not speaking out after my father took us out of the convent. I loved my dad dearly, but he suffered from chronic depression throughout his life. I would never have hurt him by revealing what had happened to us while we were care, and it would have hurt him, because knowing that he had not been able to protect his kids, would have killed him. When I left the convent, I vowed that I would bring those creeps to justice, but I would not do it within my beloved father's lifetime. I don't regret that, and I don't care if you believe it.

      Like many other survivors I was trying to live a 'normal' life, by burying the pain of what happened, I didn't want my friends, colleagues and employers to know about my 'shameful' past. And survivors are left with a deep sense of shame that would take hundreds of thousands of words to explain to people like yourself.

      You have hit a raw spot. I am ashamed that I didn't tell, and for most of my adult life I was haunted by that guilt, I blamed myself far more than you do. But after years of study, research and navel gazing, I have accepted that I powerless and I have forgiven myself.

      I have also accepted that there will always be people like yourself who will try to lay the blame for these atrocities at the door of the victims/survivors. People who do not have the compassion or the intelligence to understand what it is like to live in fear and to feel powerless.

      As the poster above you so helpfully pointed, money can go a long way to putting right, those unforgiveable wrongs. The constant denials that these things happened merely adds to the pain of the survivors, it rubs salt into the wounds.

      Acknowledgement that these crimes occurred, acceptance of liability and financial compensation is the only practical and humane solution if the CSA Inquiry is ever to reach a conclusion and further abuses prevented. If 'institutions' know that they will be hit in the pocket if they allow their staff to abuse the vulnerable people in their care, then the standard of care will rise.

      As long as the 'delicate' subject of money is avoided (and who's interests is that in?), then the CSA Inquiry will drag on into the next century. The answer to EVERY question is money. Payments will not be made until cases are proved. Ergo, payments will not be made ever, because proving 40+ year old cases is nigh on impossible.

      The fear of the 'wrong' people getting pay outs, dominates the entire proceedings, it takes precedence over bringing the criminals to justice and repairing the damage. In order to support the denial that these atrocities occurred, the survivors are put on trial and crushed, it contains the secrets.

      The entire ideology of the CSA Inquiry, needs to be questioned, what is its purpose and who's side is it on?

    3. Wow, I am guessing you were an extremely confident and assertive child anon 12.30. In my experience, under the influence of extreme authority in that day and age, kids did not speak up against it. Also kids are often very protective of their parents and would rather suffer than cause their parents to. You seem to judge such a child's actions harshly through the eyes of an adult and I am curious as to what motivates your criticism here.

  4. I dont see the problem with financial compensation which would be very useful in funding long term psychotherapy/counselling (unfortunately barely available on the nhs). This type of intervention is proven to assist those who have suffered from abusive relationships and help them come to terms with their life path since and currently.

    1. good point, well made

      but hand on heart, if a 'victim' gets the offer of £ 10.000 pounds worth of psychotherapy treatment - or a cheque to the same value to spend on what they like.

      Which option would most 'victims' choose?

      That's why equating monetary gain with trauma - cheapens any debate
      about any 'victimhood'.

      It's the compo/no win no fee culture that has infested these isles - ever since some daft person in Des Moines - or wherever - burnt her hand with
      a McDonald's coffee some 2 decades ago.

  5. I can't believe how insensitive some of the comments have been on this subject. No compassion whatsoever for the poor children that suffered at the hands of their so-called carers, I doubt if they would have these opinions if the same had happened to them. It's alright saying I would have done this, and that, but challenging authority when you're a child is scary, it's a case of your word, against theirs, who is going to believe the child over their sadistic carer's.

    I don't suppose even a punishment book would have been much good either, were they (the nuns) would enter what punishment had been given, and why, then they could have been inspected say every month by someone independent, and the children concerned spoken to so they could give their account of the punishment that was metered out. But I suppose even that idea is open to abuse.

  6. Well worth watching a Youtube documentary called "Hot Coffee" - 'some daft person', my arse! McDonald's were grossly negligent.

    1. Nah, watched the New York Times video instead

      Stella got $ 650.000 for spilling the coffee over herself

      No McDonalds employee - super heated the beverage and/or threw it into her lap.

      Personal responsibility - a rare thing it appears.

    2. The video you want to direct us to

      has to be paid for

      Care to explain your motives?

  7. Victim (calming compensation) or not?

  8. Opportunist maybe?