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. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-13548222 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: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=65JxnUW7Wk4
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.
* https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sZwfNs1pqG0 The Stanford Prison Experiment - Zimbardo