THE TALKING HEADS ARE TALKING ABOUT CHILD ABUSE

Just a quick note to acknowledge just how MADDENING it is to listen to the same old talking heads talk about child abuse as if it’s some unfortunate bad thing that just happens and not something we can and should prevent. This time, it was about the horrific news that emerged from Tuam*.

As a country, we’ve been having the same conversation for thirty years and yet media commentators still manage to be genuinely baffled, both by the scandals and how things haven’t changed. They seem oblivious to the fact that you know, someone has to actually change it in order for it to change. 

You only get to say ‘I can’t believe it’ the first ten times it happens. After that, you start to sound like an idiot. There’s been 22 reports into the systemic abuse of children in Ireland. The circumstances differ, but the core message is the same. Children are treated like shit. And if there are women involved, they are also treated like shit. This is what happened in Ireland.

The same talking heads shake their heads at how it’s a “systemic problem” and “ordinary people in Ireland are really shocked”. Voices go up an octave, everyone gets whipped into a flap and then they go to a break and come back to talk about the afternoon’s sports fixtures. Or worse, they pause for the fucking angelus.

* A quick explainer, for non-Irish readers: for most of the 20th century, Irish women who became pregnant outside of marriage were sent to homes run by religious orders. Sex outside of marriage was considered deeply shameful, and they were sent away to have their babies. Usually, their children were taken from them and adopted/fostered. It’s now emerged that “significant quantities” of human remains are buried in the sewage systems of a home in Galway. The bodies of babies and small children were dumped there. 

P.S. I also read this whole statement (12 pages!) about how the religious orders feel that “a great wrong has been done to them” and how it has been “very painful” for them. I wanted to understand how they could feel that it was appropriate to think (not to mind say, not to mind issue a public statement) about how upsetting the scandals have been for them. These are the people who were guilty of/complicit in the systemic abuse of women and children. I read their statement in a vain attempt to understand their point of view. Needless to say, I didn’t get any answers.