My granny didn't let knickers or bras dry on the line. In case anyone saw. (She lived in the country). Looking at yourself in a mirror was a sin. Talking to a priest was forbidden. You weren't allowed back in church in those days after having a child until you were "churched".
I was told not to fold my arms in case I committed the sin of drawing attention to my chest. I was not to talk to boys on the bus on the way home. Everything was your fault. Women were at fault. If anything happened, the implications from the system were that it was your fault
It was a repressive, dysfunctional, deeply misogynistic and unsafe and unhealthy attitude that was embedded throughout systems. These women in the Mother & baby home; some were raped, some were abused. Others simply committed the sin of falling pregnant out of wedlock
But all were abused by that system. Abused by the system in full public gaze. The minimising & downplaying of that heinous abuse is terrifying as the acts themselves. Concerningly, I still see some of that dismissiveness today in modern Ireland when it comes to abuse
Sexual abuse, rape, assault, domestic abuse- sadly still some of the great taboos in this society. If something can come of this terrible chapter in history, let it be that abuse is wrong- the abuser is at fault, not you. And that it is never your fault. You will be believed.
I am so angry & heartbroken at what has happened and the deep and many violations that were perpetrated against these women and children including by the church. My childhood had some of these themes in it, but bizarrely I also found comfort in the rosary being said every night.
Catholic guilt, I suppose. I still find comfort in my faith though i struggle with it. I dont know if that's more me or what I'm seeing, hearing. But it makes me human and thinking. Although we are "blind faithers" in our house. Stuff like this upsets me on a very deep level.
Last thoughts; I have one of my granny's prayer books beside my bed with my own. It isn't the oldest, but I look at its words; sincere, earnest, heartfelt an insight on a God fearing trembling world. My granny had 10 children, 1 died as a baby, raised in a tiny county cottage
Her brother was shot dead, a baby at 18 months old, during the pogroms. She had had enough trauma in her life. My grandad lost him mum at a young age. These people were devout, humble folk who believed every word of authority. It hurts that so many innocents were lost.
The little prayer book.

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More from @SorchaEastwood

4 Feb 19
Bear with me, but I feel like what the Brexit debacle has done is highlight how unacquainted people within UK & indeed, the South, are with Northern Ireland. Maybe I'm just being precious, but I feel that we aren't a normal society. We have paramilitaries, segregated schools 1/
We had a conflict here for 40 years (and more) and people don't talk about it. We've people who don't ever mention what happened to them. People who get nervous when alarms go off in shops. People who still close the curtains & then turn the lights on 2/
There is no collective way to talk, about the utterly unimaginable trauma and hurt or to commemorate as a whole community. We have people injured in conflict who've STILL no pension. We have paramilitaries coercing communities 3/
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