Child Abuse at Ireland’s Magdalene Laundries: Catholic Asylum Staff Robbed and Raped 30,000 ‘Wayward’ Girls For More than 100 Years 4

This story was hard to write. Hard to type, even. I had to unclench my fists a few times.

Twenty years ago, shock washed over Ireland. After the Catholic Church sold a parcel of a North Dublin convent’s grounds to a commercial developer, and the construction dig began, 155 bodies were discovered in unmarked graves. The place had been a Magdalene asylum for “wayward girls.” Apparently, inmates who met an early end had been buried in secret — many without a death certificate, without notification of parents or other family, and all without the dignity of even the simplest grave marker.

Initially conceived as rehabilitation centers for prostitutes, the Magdalene asylums — also known as the Magdalene Laundries for the “women’s work” slave labor expected of the residents — eventually grew into houses of horror. The girls, some not even teens, were forced to work seven days a week without pay. The short-term treatment intended by the founders eventually gave way to long-term incarceration. Though conditions varied from one asylum to the next, a strict code of silence was in place for most of the day throughout the Magdalene system. Long prayer sessions were mandatory.

Worse, for over a hundred years, beatings and sexual abuse are thought to have been endemic.

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Continue reading my piece over at the Friendly Atheist.

4 thoughts on “Child Abuse at Ireland’s Magdalene Laundries: Catholic Asylum Staff Robbed and Raped 30,000 ‘Wayward’ Girls For More than 100 Years

  1. Reply Nicolas Eyle Jun 28, 2013 9:27 am

    “The Magdalene Sisters” is an excellent movie about this institution. Hard to watch needless to say, but excellent.

  2. Reply Terry Firma Jun 28, 2013 9:35 am

    I know. I recommended it at the bottom of the article! ;-)

  3. Reply Lurker111 Jul 1, 2013 9:25 am

    I hear about all these abuses, and I wonder why a victim or even a relative of a victim hasn’t gone berzerk and committed mayhem on Catholic clergy and property. Did the church pick its victims so well that they knew there wouldn’t be reprisals?

  4. Pingback: Child Abuse at Ireland’s Magdalene Laundries: Catholic Asylum Staff Robbed and Raped 30,000 ‘Wayward’ Girls For More than 100 Years | WealthShare Society

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