A ‘Persecuted’ Magdalene
Me at 18years old
I was a survivor of a Magdalene Laundry, a child of the state, and a slave of the church…. A slave you say, isn’t that a bit of an explosive statement?
My response, what do you call a person who is incarcerated against their will and forced to work for nothing other than to save themselves from an even worst scenario, I choose the term slavery, yes even in this day and age it does exist.
Not only slavery but having one's child violently taken away from them without just cause.
Denied marriage and having signed a contract to marry, the child of that relationship was stolen from birth and given to strangers.
What do you say about a government that hid these crimes under adoption legislation and left its victims without one piece of paper to prove that these crimes were committed against vulnerable young women…. There is a word it is called corrupt!
What do you say when that victim seeks accountably through a legal system that is supposedly a separation of powers, where the legislature makes the laws, the executive put the laws into operation, and the judiciary interprets the laws; all independently of each other ….Trusting, Foolish, Yes!
What do you say when her experience is re-written and she is labeled an ‘embittered and angry woman with persecutory ideas that her newborn was taken for a baby stealing racket’ and her court case against her so-called guardian the State of Queensland is thrown out…A miscarriage of justice, a lack of procedural fairness, defamation of a victim of crime, a cover-up?
How would any human feel that this ’ judgment’ is prominent on a law site that lists landmark court cases, a scathing document that blames everyone in this woman’s life for the harm that the State and the Church have inflicted upon her…beaten, worthless, humiliated?
Eighteen years from that judgment, that State is now considering giving redress to women like her, forced to admit the harm they caused women like her, does that get rid of that decision that tainted her as being delusional, a judgment that is poured over, analyzed and discussed by law students, etc?
I was punished for bringing a court case too late, with no mention by the court that every piece of evidence was hidden under lock and key by the state for over thirty years, the only evidence being the scars on my body from the child I carried.
Fifty-four years of living with a nightmare including the past twenty-five years of activism to right the wrongs committed against me and my child has seen me lose the life and the peace of mind I should have had.
Yes, I may have been a child of poor and uneducated parents, but I was one of nine children that were loved and cared for by parents who tried to do their best, despite the struggles of being caught up in the thick of war and evacuation from family.
My upbringing did not make me a dysfunctional uncontrollable juvenile. At the time of my arrest, I was an emancipated minor having worked for nearly three years before my incarceration.
I was lied to by the police that arrested me saying that had I been a month older when I turned seventeen they could not have taken me away, as that was supposedly over the age of consent.
False information is given to me, the truth being that sixteen and one day was over the age of consent and I was legally of marriageable age with parental consent which I had.
So in fact there was no reason to imprison me.
What of the child I carried? Robbed of his history, his ancestors, his culture, his family, his mother, father, and the pride that should have been his of the courage of his Irish and Jewish ancestors that lived and fought for freedom and justice.
How does one accept the fact that one has lost every future generation into infinity to strangers, is one expected to accept this scenario with grace and gratitude?
Women like me have been queried why we have not ‘moved on' like we were told to after the theft of our children, and after decades of speaking to mothers like me I have yet to meet a mother who has ‘moved on', so I can say I am not the only one that will probably take her last breath saying ‘they stole my baby’.
As for the so-called redress etc, is it going to be a ‘Judas kiss’ to shut us up and legalize their crimes, or make us feel guilty by taking a few dollars for the theft of our children, and will it absolve the state of its crimes, and will we get our baby back, I don’t think so.
I want what is rightfully mine a public apology for the harm that the State has caused me, with the denial of its crimes committed against me. Restitution for the expense it has cost me to get justice, and the dissolution of a fraudulent birth certificate that gives my child and every future grandchild of mine the name and ancestry of strangers.
Finally, a scathing judgment (Arthur v State of Queensland) set aside and the truth behind it was acknowledged.