Wicked, debased 'special' world where children were destroyed
Michael O'Brien was buggered by a Rosminian brother only two days after he was incarcerated in a residential institution.
He'd been taken from home with his seven siblings, including his one-month old baby sister, after they were criminalised for being poor and young.
The buggery must have done awful damage to his developing young body and mind. But that was only for starters. The little boy was raped repeatedly, beaten up for it in the morning and humiliated verbally and emotionally almost every day.
This spectrum of abuse -- sexual, emotional, physical -- is unfortunately typical of what is finally being acknowledged after the Ryan Report. Sadists and sodomists had an unending supply of fresh meat, courtesy of a Church that forbade contraception and sex education, while insisting it alone must care for the many poor. Too many children, not enough resources. It was a recipe for corruption.
Michael told the nation on Monday's 'Questions And Answers' that he'd wanted to kill himself after being interrogated during the Child Abuse Commission. "You're only in it for the money," a Rosminian Brother had taunted him, when we now know the orders profited from every child.
This classic projection sums up the inversions at the heart of the perverted behaviours so many children endured. In sado-masochism's true sense, it is an economy of two-sided coins where cruelty masquerades as kindness, greed as charity, lies as truth.
The image of the Christ child was debased in every abusive act. And Michael is a strong man, who made the best of his life despite the damage, because a woman loved him. He served as a Fianna Fail councillor and mayor. He was always loyal.
While it's neater to separate sexual assaults from physical and emotional violence, they belong to one, distorted kaleidoscope that starts with bullying and ends in the Ryan documents. Buggery, oral rape and other sexual crimes were partnered by physical and emotional abuses which had absolutely no limits.
The perpetrators don't deserve sympathy, but they must be understood, in as much as we can. This isn't about ignorant farm boys becoming brothers and not knowing any better. They were adults who had choices and are responsible for their own destructive behaviour. Something about the religious orders and institutions enabled them to find the part of the kaleidoscope that pleased them best.
The abuses are about power. The perpetrators got off on their authority and used it to desecrate the littlest and weakest, purely because children are vulnerable. The weaker you were, the worse it got. If Judge Ryan had investigated homes for the disabled, or the psychiatric institutions where some were sent, the nation would be in even greater shock.
The abuses are not about sex, even when they take that form. Women know instantly that being groped, sexually assaulted or penetrated is about being humiliated, in the most fundamental way.
The devastating aspects for children are much more complex. Their developing bodies can be permanently damaged by what adults may consider a relatively minor assault, leading to problems from incontinence to infertility. Their selves are developing just as delicately and will never, never, recover fully from the psychic and emotional damage. So the children cannot become the people they would have been. They've lost the lives they could have lived. Taught that their perceptions were wrong -- that they were bad when in fact the perpetrators were -- they were destabilised by a group that thrust its own distorted perceptions on them and on a culture. That is real power.
Until the Ryan Report, the children, now adults, were treated as outcasts and disbelieved. Even this week, the discussion on what happened between Bertie Ahern, Michael Woods and CORI excludes mention of what survivors' groups were saying -- to the contrary -- at the time.
What is it about religious groups that draws such perverts to them? Perhaps the claim that they are 'special,' called by no less a being than God, and therefore somehow distinguished from the common mass of humanity. They do not consider themselves subject to the same rules as lesser mortals and don't feel obliged to abide by them.
This 'immunity mindset' applies across the spectrum of psychopathic and sociopathic behaviour and can infect normal people by lulling them into a position where that 'immunity mindset' is allowed. Wed this to the traditional favours the Catholic Church enjoys in Ireland, to its insistence for so long that canon law comes first, and the prospects promise extraordinary levels of difficulty.
Michael was asked why he didn't speak of the abuses on a 'Late, Late Show' where he reunited with his brother after 46 years. "I would have been an outcast again," he explained.
This is the principle of exclusion that shelters all abuses. It's the principle we need to drop now.