I came away with no positive vibes from yesterday's CSA meeting, the feeling in the room was unrest and agitation, no-one left feeling satisfied or singing The Only Way is Up.
I still do not understand what the Inquiry is about, and what it hopes to achieve? Are they going after the perpetrators in the hope of achieving justice, or are they seeking out survivors, so they can tell their stories and receive the compensation and support they so deserve?
As for seeking out the perpetrators, I have little taste for that. Ok, I'm 'lucky' I was able to face my abusers, well their representatives at least, in a Court room and shame them with the disgusting, vile acts they carried out in the name of God and child protection, but most don't, and there is a very good reason for that. As I stood in the witness box for one and half days, I was on trial, I was the jumped up low life from low life stock, that they rightly treated with great suspicion. The only thing missing was Charles Dickins in the corner making notes. Having faced a 'Lordship' from the witness box, and I'm sure many others have too, the idea of Judge leading the Enquiry appals me, almost as much as the idea of a former Police Chief leading it!
The Inquiry lacks focus, are they out for revenge on the perpetrators, or are they out to get compensation for the victims? The former should be of less importance in my opinion, when you set out for revenge dig two graves as Confucius told us.
The latter however is of much greater importance, what the authorities fear and are using Jarndyce v Jarndyce tactics to put off, is capitulation like the Irish Government. That is, in Ireland, survivors simply have to prove they were in whatever institution in order to be financially compensated. They did at least, in conjunction with the Catholic Church, admit the abuses had occurred and have made some efforts at least at amends.
In the UK however, it is entirely different, the 'victims' are put on trial and made to relive their worst nightmares. I was faced with multiple files giving the most excruciating details of my childhood, then barraged with questions about them. The barrister questioning me was determined to prove the bad characters of my young parents, rather than admit the abuses that went on at St. Anne's. And when I left the Court room and lost my case, that was it. There was no support, no ongoing help, I was totally alone. Its at this point that many survivors have committed suicide. I didn't, I wrote a book.
Unfortunately, the care profession will always attract psychopaths, nonces, and creeps. Its the ideal job for those with a penchant for sadism, control and bullying. And it is happening now, it didn't end in with the introduction of enlightenment, it just made the abusers more canny.
I know from experience that a trial cannot fix you. In fact, I went on a downward spiral. Having spent a lifetime of making bad choices, I was at my lowest ebb, but I was still angry, and even more angry that if someone like myself who can string a sentence together coherently, what hope was there for thousands out there so damaged that years of litigation and a traumatic court appearance would probably kill them. So who exactly is suggesting a former Chief of Police should do the questioning?
The Honourable Gentleman in his summing up, also pointed out that a win for me would open floodgates. Indeed. And this I think is the crux of the matter. These Institutions by their very nature were filled with abusers. In the late 1960's, some bright spark thought it would be a good idea to place single men in children's homes to live and work with them as father figures. The call for live-in house fathers attracted every weirdo within radius.
The Catholic Church have admitted the abuses occurred, what choices did they have? So many have come forward, it has been proved beyond doubt, but their coffers are already stinging following the success of survivor groups in Eire. Well we know there are millions, if not billions, left, and the payment they received to 'take care' of us, should at the very least, be returned.
Looking at the past won't repair broken lives, but looking at a positive future certainly will. Yes it is going to cost the insurers of many local authorities and the Vatican, millions, but they were quite happy to pay hundreds of thousands of pounds to defend the action I brought against them. A vast sum of money that could have compensated thousands, and in the UK they are doing this with anyone who dares to challenge them.
Lets talk about the cash, because that is what everyone seems to be avoiding. 'We are sorry we allowed it to happen you' and 'here is something to help you rebuild your life' would be the greatest resolution. Cases should not have to proved on an individual basis and perpetrators brought to trial in order to prove abuse occurred. Any trained psychiatrist or psychologist will confirm that Institutions are breeding grounds for abuse. If just one 'Uncle' or 'Aunty' are abusing, sure as eggs is eggs others will be too, because that is the culture that prevails.
I am not going to go into a long diatribe about religion, but women who sacrifice every worldy pleasure have issues - issues that lead them to lashing out at those in their care, some to the point of insanity. Lets not forget the abuses carried out by these women, already admitted by the Catholic Church in Ireland, were happening in every catholic institution in the land. And I stress again, the physical and psychological abuse was just as damaging as the sexual abuse and tens, if not hundreds, of thousands were affected. The Sisters of Mercy have acknowledged the abuse in Eire, but denied it in the UK, how absurd is that?
So, I ask again, what exactly are the Panel hoping to achieve? Who are they, and how can we contact them?