Many thanks to Jim (The Pope says....) , who kindly contacted me and is going to buy my book. I wanted to reply to Jim, but not just to Jim, to all those caught up in the debacle of the CSA trials and investigations. Or what will probably come to be known as New Labour's Witch Hunt.
I wanted to call my book Cry and You Cry Alone, 'The Invulnerable Child' and I kind of wish now that I had stuck to my guns. It wasn't a misery memoir and I wasn't a victim, I created an entirely different genre, one that a former lecturer of mine, used to teach on his HND course, bless him. I broke the mould, not that it got me anywhere, lol.
I always say I regret nothing, only because I like singing No Regrets Edith Piaf style when I get drunk. It kind of breaks the moment if you say, 'well there was that one time.......'. But I do deeply regret that I allowed the actions of those psychopaths in St. Anne's to have such a big influence over my life. I wasted 40+ years plotting ways and means in which to get revenge. I wanted to expose the evil that went on in that institution. Ultimately, I achieved what I wanted, I got them into Court and I got a major publishing deal. I got the opportunity to tell my story, but it didn't make me better.
I lost my legal case because of Limitation Laws (the time in which you can bring a case) and the fact that I did not present myself as a broken victim. 'And how does a person like you, know a word like 'malevolent, Miss Hutton', asked the barrister for the Defence. Which pretty much summed up the whole tone of the trial. When the Defence Lawyer and the barrister shared stories of their own jolly japes in the boarding school dorm, I knew I was doomed.
Not that I am bitter - the Noddy car will be mine one day! I regret spending so much time blaming other people for everything that has gone wrong in my life. In my case these people were 40 year old ghosts that I summoned up when the man I loved didn't love me back, or I didn't get the job I wanted. I blamed the nuns for spoiling my education by forcing me to scrub floors so I couldn't do my homework. I blamed the rabid ex opus dei monk for trying to force his fucked up ideology into our young and vulnerable minds. Who teaches kids 'mortification of the body is good for the soul' and gets promoted for it?
I still believe that those who survived the government funded gulags should be compensated for the horrors they endured but without being put on trial themselves. It is now, I hope, widely accepted that institutions are prone to turning into dystopian nightmares. They create the same environments as the 'Zimbado experiment'. That is, the inmates will divide into prisoners and guards and unless someone intervenes, there is likely to be tragedy.
The number of survivors of these 'institutions' would run into hundreds of thousands. The authorities are presently holding back the floodgates, which is why they are fighting the individual cases so vigorously. The institutional abuse of the 1960's and 1970's, was part of the hegemony that existed at the time. It was recommended that children (of all classes) be given a darn good thrashing. The bottoms of the boys in Eton were just as red as the bottoms of the undeserving poor. The difference of course being, that the Eton boys were being taught to be leaders, the undeserving poor were being taught to be obedient (and grateful) servants.
The victims of historic child abuse are not only up against Goliath, he has got several big brothers. That the abuse went on, is a given. How can vulnerable children placed in the care of criminally insane psychopaths come out unscathed? That adverts were put out for single men to become live in 'Uncles' to unprotected kids who needed religious and moral guidance, might just attract the most evil child predators in society was never given a second thought. In fact, preference was probably given to those with their own whips.
Far be for me to tell survivors to give up their fight, I doubt I would have listened if anyone had tried to tell me, so I know how hard it is. Pursuing these individual claims is pointless, it has created a whole new industry of experts who are doing very well out of your pain. They will listen to you, but they will never tell you 'get the feck over it', because if they did, their lucrative careers would come to an immediate end.
I'm afraid I have completely fallen out with the theories of Freud. If you have a festering boil, you don't keep topping up the poison every time it starts to look a bit better. Whilst I do believe that what happens to you in childhood moulds your character and personality, you have the choice to use it positively or negatively. If you see yourself as a victim, you will use past trauma as an excuse. If you are an 'invulnerable child' you will use it as a strength. Look at what Nelson Mandela achieved when he was released from prison.
It is only in recent years that I realised I had the 'ruby slippers' all along. Everything that happened to me had been my own choice. I wanted to be a martyr, so I chose a martyr's life. I believed I was damaged, therefore I was. I thought 'justice' would make me feel better, but as it turned out, bringing those old and infirm men and women to Court brought me no satisfaction whatsoever. At their advanced ages, they were rendered harmless. That they were ever troubled by the their own inner conscience is a matter of debate. Their miserable lives had made them what they were, or what they were, made their lives miserable. Either way, I felt more pity than anger.
In the whole scheme of things, I was fighting for something that didn't really matter, I told myself to 'get the feck over it'. All around us there are vulnerable children in dangers of epic proportions. I think those concerned with child protection should be focussing on the immediate needs of children in peril NOW, perhaps the island of Lesbos with the tiny shoes and babygro's strewn across its beaches and the food banks in this country where kids are literally going to bed hungry.
I still believe that those who suffered under the regimes of those sadists richly rewarded for the care of society's most vulnerable children, should be financially compensated along the same terms as those in Eire. That is, individuals should not be subjected to the 'you are a dirty little liar' approach taken by those examining their claims. I find the need for every single graphic and lurid detail bizarre. How many times over do these things have to be proved?
Meanwhile, I think all those survivors who are trying to numb those bad memories with alcohol, drugs or bad psychology, to put a sticking plaster over that boil and stop picking at it. Life is too short to worry about traumas from the past and the idea of reliving them over and over is just mental.
Every single day we wake up with the free will to choose any path we want. Worrying about the paths we have come down, won't make any difference to the one that is up ahead of us. Try explaining to a hungry tiger that you had a difficult childhood and were a misunderstood teen, and see where that gets you?