Forgotten Australians, memories

Donna’s story

by Donna (guest author) on 4 October, 2011

‘I never spoke of the abuse because it seemed normal. I had been abused in the orphanage’. In 1957, Donna, aged three, was sent into institutional care with her sister and four brothers. Donna shared her personal history with the National Museum:

We were brought up on the train from NSW with my four brothers and sister. My last memory is that something that happened. I ended up in hospital with a lot of pain and I was bloody and someone gave me a pink marshmallow bunny and so I must have been exposed to abuse.

I was sent to Nazareth House, Wynumm, in Queensland.The hardest part for me was being institutionalised and being separated from my family was traumatic but being separated from my sister was heart breaking.  I still have memories of hanging on to the slatted wall searching for my sister hoping she would remember. I have nightmares of that memory that bring me to tears, searching for my sister.

We were stripped of all personal effects including my doll, Raggedy Ann, who was very precious to me.

The smell of the clothes in the orphanage was not too bad and I felt quite comforted by that smell.

The nuns used to deliver me to the house across the road to the paedophile priest. How can any person prepare a child, bathe and dress them, and then deliver them to someone who will abuse them? Had the nuns been abused themselves? Was this normal for them? I came back from the priest, broken. I wanted to die. I was just a little child. We were just babies.

My sister was released from the orphanage when she turned 14. My father came to take her home. I was only ten but I insisted on coming too. When my brothers saw me, they asked my father what I was doing home.
Dad replied, ‘I had to take her.  The nuns made me’. That reinforced to me what one of the nuns told me; that I wasn’t wanted by the nuns, my parents or by God.

Because of the abuse that my siblings had experienced in the orphanage, my siblings were dysfunctional. My father was an alcoholic and was abusing me and so at the age of 11, I ran away. I had to fend for myself. It was a terrifying period. I had been institutionalised. I had no idea how to live on the outside. I was waiting for bells to ring. I had to fend for myself.

I walked the streets looking for kids to play with, somewhere to go. I never spoke of the abuse because it seemed normal. I had been abused in the orphanage. My father put me in Mitchelton at 12 and I tried to commit suicide. I was then put in the lock up ward in Lowson House. I felt safe there.

Then I returned home – nobody bothered to ask me what was happening. I got tired of being belted up by my older brother. I got sick of sleeping with my father. So I slept in toilet blocks. I’d eat at friends’ places. Many days I didn’t eat. I became a human toilet. I allowed men to sleep with me for a shower. It was a heck of lot gentler than at home.

Then my father put me in a hostel at Indooroopilly (Brisbane, Queensland) and I was hired out to be a domestic. I ran away from the hostel and the lady who ran it put out a report that I was missing. I was 14 and living with a man and engaged to him and he got charged with carnal knowledge – but this was a man who loved me.

I was sentenced to be a ward of the state until was 21. I thought that being sentenced paid for the lack of support from my parents. My case worker organised for me to be a domestic in people’s houses.

I got pregnant at 18 and I had to find a husband so that my daughter wouldn’t go into state care. I found a husband and we married with the approval of the state. I had been trained since I was six to clean homes and care for children. The state declared that I was in the care, control and custody of my husband until I was 21 and he knew it and he saw my role as being confined to the home, caring for children and him. He used to gamble, and go to massage parlours. I never stopped him because I thought, ‘Better them, than me’.

The marriage ended when my children were teenagers and because I felt trapped. From the age of 12 to 18 I had multiple attempts at suicide.

I’ve learnt a lot. I’ve done a lot of therapy. I work as a volunteer for Lifeline. I’ve raised a healthy family. I raised five healthy children. I have 15 grandchildren aged from two months to 18 years. I’ve played an important role in the lines of my grand children.

My brother committed suicide as a result of the pressure during the redress process in Queensland after the Forde Inquiry into institutional care. There was no healing in the redress process. It was vicious. It was cruel that we had to relive our childhood by filling in the forms and sitting and waiting to see if we were worthy to be paid a pittance. It’s still raw. It was as if we were abused all over. A lot of people didn’t have their files so they couldn’t prove their past.

Nothing has changed. It was still the government way. It was a cruel blow. It was reminder that we were still worth nothing.

I fought for years against the Catholic Church. We were informed that we had a case but because the Catholic Church had so much money – they could tie us up in litigation for years but even that was better than the redress scheme. Those who had made a life for themselves were disadvantaged because they weren’t seen as being desperate victims. I lost my son in a car accident ten years ago. That was traumatic for me. It was during the case against the Church.

I am now a foster parent. I am a specialised carer. I care for children with specialist needs.

Children are now aware of their rights but not of their responsibilities but as children in the Home we had no rights and we took all the responsibility even for our parents’ neglect.

I now live without a partner and that’s my choice. I am that marred by the experience that I am incapable of a relationship and intimacy. It’s difficult to allow anyone to love me.

Forgotten Australians, memories

Lowson House

by Jessica Dalton (guest author) on 10 June, 2011

‘I stopped correcting them, and certainly stopped respecting them’: Jessica Dalton describes her time at Lowson House, Royal Brisbane Hospital, in 1980. Jessica was 20 at the time but some of her experiences were similar to those recounted by Forgotten Australians who were admitted to adult wards of psychiatric hospitals as children.

I had taken an overdose after being dumped by my first boyfriend, and when I began vomiting I told my mother what I’d done. She took me to RBH where she worked and I was admitted to Lowson House where I was kept in isolation for three days on the locked female Ward D. Before being discharged, I was examined by a room full of doctors, students and staff.  The registrar assigned to my case argued that I was schizophrenic and should remain in Lowson House for treatment.  The psychiatrist invited me to give my version of events and I explained that I was very unhappy at home and when my boyfriend dumped me I wanted to die.  However I didn’t die and I thought my best plan was to return to finish my schooling so that I could get a decent job or go on to uni and get out of home as soon as possible.  He agreed with my interpretation of events and I was released.

When I was 20, I had finally made it to uni and had become extremely anxious prior to first semester exams. One night I couldn’t deal with the anxiety and walked to RBH and asked for help.  I hoped that I would find intelligent reasonable people with expertise to help me deal with my emotional problems and mental distress.  The anxiety was so excruciating that I told the doctor at admissions that if they couldn’t help I’d probably have to end my life. I was admitted to Lowson House again and the same psychiatric registrar I had met when I was 16, was appointed as my psychiatrist. She remembered me and told me that now I would get the treatment I should have received when I was 16. Although I had admitted myself voluntarily, I became an involuntary patient. I revealed that I had been sexually abused over the first 12 years of my life which I believed was the source of my mental distress, but this was interpreted as delusional, reinforcing the diagnosis of schizophrenia. I was heavily medicated, refused leave to attend my final exams, and refused leave to attend another doctor for a second opinion. I asked if I was entitled to a second opinion and my psychiatrist said that of course I was. So when I asked for leave she would smile and refuse. If I tried to discharge myself, I was put on an involuntary order and sent back to D Floor, the locked ward. If I refused medication, I was sent back to D Floor. If I refused again I would be held down by orderlies and nurses, have my jaw prized open and have syrup poured down my throat. I stopped there. The next step was injections. I couldn’t win that battle.

In the first few days on D floor I felt so heavily medicated that I used to fall over if I got up from bed, or stood up suddenly from sitting position.  They made me go up to E Floor for ‘recreation’.  I kept falling over and the orderlies made me crawl up the stairs, laughing at me and kicking me with their boots. Up on E Floor, sometimes people paced up and down but they’d be yelled at and made to sit down and be quiet. Mostly the patients sat around the room in the chairs lined up against the walls staring speechless into space, some drooled, until we were allowed to go downstairs again.

They did conduct tests on me including inkblot tests, intelligence tests and a couple of EEGs. I don’t know how my responses to the inkblots were interpreted but I had the feeling at the time that it didn’t really matter what I said, it would be interpreted however my psychiatrist wanted it to be interpreted.  Whatever results didn’t fit the diagnosis, were discarded as irrelevant or false, rather than revisit the diagnosis. I remember the psychologist bailed me up in the corridor and accused me of cheating on my intelligence tests. I asked how that was possible and she said I must have done them before. I told her I hadn’t, she insisted, so I smiled and asked if she was upset because they were higher than hers, and would she like me to repeat them in order to produce a lower score? She was furious, stormed off and she had no more contact with me. I didn’t really understand the ramifications of showing disrespect to the staff in this way but I believe I tried to be totally honest with them initially. But they didn’t believe me when I told the truth or they twisted what I said to mean something else. I resisted their definitions of me but they still got inside me and hurt.

The EEG results indicated some sort of electrical disturbance similar to epilepsy, but that was not investigated.  The psychiatrist insisted I must have been blinking, even though I wasn’t. I complained of the smell on D floor caused by faeces smeared on the walls in the toilets. That was interpreted as olfactory hallucinations. I complained of feeling like a slug because of the effects of the medication. That was interpreted as a psychotic Kafka-esque metamorphosis. I stopped correcting them, and certainly stopped respecting them. My psychiatrist explained that I didn’t like her because I was projecting my hatred of my mother onto her. I assured her that I hated her for herself.

The psychiatrist refused to give me leave to have dinner with a dear friend who had come from Sydney to see me, when I actually wanted to go out. Well she didn’t initially refuse the leave, it was cancelled without reason at the last minute when my friend arrived to pick me up. Yet I was forced to go on weekend leave to my parents’ place although I begged them not to make me go … until I overdosed on my father’s heart medication and spent a week in coronary care. Then my parents decided that they wouldn’t have me and I was spared those visits. One registrar argued my case for me with the psychiatrist to trial me off the medication, but I guess he was disciplined because he wasn’t allowed to speak with me again.

Occupational therapy involved making a teapot stand with matchsticks or little tiles.  I was never a really crafty person. Then they decided I should learn to type. I was put in front of a broken typewriter in a cramped and messy office or storeroom with an old book on learning to type.  I was left alone and supposed to do something with that. The ribbon was worn out, keys were broken and I was medicated to the eyeballs. I was labelled as non-compliant and that was the end of my rehabilitation.

The food was revolting and at first I didn’t eat it. But eventually I lined up like everyone else, ages before the meal was served, in that long shuffling, dribbling line of human despair. Everything looked and tasted like porridge. I ate flies and bugs caught up in the food without a care. I put on four stone in weight.

I felt so tired and heavy, like my veins were filled with concrete. I didn’t want to get up, all I wanted to do was sleep. But every morning at 5 o’clock I was dragged out of bed, had cold water thrown on me a couple of times, and forced up to E floor for morning exercises. This consisted of orderlies physically placing us in rows facing the staff member who enthusiastically jumped about like a wannabee PE teacher or aerobics instructor, complete with whistle around his neck. Well, I’ve never been good at aerobics either but being drugged up at 5.30 in the morning, surrounded by people in a similar or worse state, did not inspire me … it was humiliating torture. And I’d be yelled at and called names, which also did nothing to improve my performance. I didn’t complain about all the courses of ECT because at least on those days I didn’t have to go for morning exercises and I really liked the IV valium. I had a really good peaceful sleep-in on those mornings.

I remained in Lowson House for 13 months, continued to be heavily medicated, received three courses of ECT, was not allowed to discuss the sexual abuse, and became totally dehumanised, demoralised and institutionalised by my experiences there. Although suicide had originally been an option to relieve the anxiety, I perceived it to be my only option after treatment at Lowson House. I managed to summon the energy to make a couple of attempts, which were not successful. Sadly, others I knew managed to do the job properly.  One man put his head under the wheel of a reversing truck while being walked to the canteen. I remember a nurse who was really annoyed about how inconsiderate that man was, considering the investigation the supervising nurse had to undergo. Another young man on weekend leave with his parents, threw himself off the faculty building at his university where he had graduated with distinction many years before. And another hung herself on the ward after excusing herself to get a tissue during a rowdy ward meeting. I was first back into the bedrooms, walked straight past her blue, lifeless, swinging body across the aisle from my bed and lay on my bed oblivious. Eventually someone else came and screamed. A male patient held up her body, while a young nurse aide ran to find scissors and cut her down. Those two did CPR together on the dead girl till the crash team eventually arrived and took her away. She had recently given birth and been forced to sign adoption papers. Then the nurse aide let loose on me for doing nothing. I don’t blame the nurse for that. How could I not notice? How could I not call for help? I knew why, but she didn’t.

I was not assigned a case-worker because, according to the social worker, she didn’t waste her time on hopeless cases. I began reading my file and was appalled by the fantastic rubbish written up as case-notes, informed by my mother and interpreted by my psychiatrist. Apparently, I was a lesbian because it was documented in my case-notes and all the staff and patients accepted this as fact despite my denials.  However, I was not abused as a child because the case-notes said it didn’t happen. I learnt early in my stay not to talk about the abuse, because staff abruptly got up and walked away if I raised the topic.

At one point I did make noticeable improvement and a registrar wanted to write a paper on me because she attributed my remarkable recovery to a new trial drug. I had to tell her that I had not been taking the drug and it was likely that the improvement in my behaviour (I was voluntarily getting out of bed, talking to people and feeling better) was due to not taking medication at all. I was forced to resume medication.

On my 21st birthday I was forcibly carried/dragged by 4 staff into the common room for a party I didn’t want to attend. After the party I stole my file, went to the embankment, drank a bottle of vodka, and burnt every page of my file. Another time I put a poster up on the front entry door to Lowson House. It was a picture of a sinking ship with the caption, ‘Abandon hope, all ye who enter here’. It was ages before the staff even noticed but eventually a visitor complained, an investigation launched and the culprit was tracked down. Yes, some of them really hated me. A new registrar let me read what she’d written in the file, and I was allowed to clarify it, if it was wrong. I thought that was respectful and sensible.

By the time I was to be discharged, my psychiatrist had left RBH and I had declined her invitation to be transferred under her care to another hospital. I don’t think I was allocated a new psychiatrist, because I didn’t see one again. I was not allowed to make my own living arrangements in the community and was given two options:  long-term accommodation at Wolston Park or a half-way house called Richmond Fellowship. By this time I had become institutionalised. I felt all my choices had been taken away from me. I had no hope for the future because I really was a mess by then, and besides that I’d been made aware that I should not have children because I would pass my mental disease on to them, and that I would never be able to work again, or achieve anything in my life. I badgered staff to help me make a decision about where to go, but nobody would give me any information about Wolston Park or Richmond Fellowship. The default option would be Wolston Park. I didn’t see how Wolston Park could be worse than Lowson House, I’d be fed and housed. Finally after following a registrar around for days, begging her to tell me what Wolston Park was like, she looked me in the eye and said it was a horrible place where I’d be treated worse than an animal.  I asked for an example, so I could differentiate between Wolston Park and Lowson House. She said that at Wolston Park I’d be herded with others, naked, into showers and hosed down. That sounded like a new experience I’d rather not be subjected to.

So I chose Richmond Fellowship, and discharged myself from there when it also proved to be less than helpful. When I arrived there I was not welcomed because a ward meeting was happening, which could not be interrupted. I was allowed to observe it from the corridor. I remember a young woman raised an issue about the way another group member spoke to her or treated her. The person responded by disregarding the complaint and telling her the problem was her inner child. The therapist agreed that she was dominated by her inner child and needed to use her inner adult more. The issue she raised was not addressed and she ran crying from the meeting. I thought that was interesting and some time later in life read about transactional analysis which shed some light on that strange interaction. Then I had to  complete several personality tests and was allowed to go to bed. Nobody spoke to me except the therapist conducting the test. I think they purposely made people leave you alone, in order to give you time to settle in. The next day the therapist asked to see me privately because there was a problem with my test results. The problem was that they were good. I didn’t know why that was a problem. He said they were better than most of the therapists. I still didn’t see why it was a problem. Then he told me that they have to show improvement between the before and after tests to justify the effectiveness of their programs. But my after tests wouldn’t be able to show improvement because my before tests were so good, and that was a problem for them. I offered to do them again and try to produce a worse result. He said that he couldn’t do that either, but he was pretty upset about it. I discharged myself and saved them the trouble of solving that dilemma.

After living in a share house for some months with other ex-patients, I was visited by the social worker who didn’t approve of my sleeping all day, eating hamburgers and watching television all night. She informed me that I was still under their supervision and would be re-committed if I didn’t assume a more normal lifestyle. I engaged a private psychiatrist, moved to another share house and never returned to a mental institution.

My life has not been easy, but I have raised a beautiful son to manhood; eventually returned to uni and graduated with honours; and enjoyed a successful career as a primary school teacher. But the horrors of my experiences at Lowson House still haunt me and make me cry. Although my family and very close friends know about it, they understandably don’t want to hear about it. Telling people has proven to be a poor strategy for maintaining friendships. And if I raise it with a mental health professional, I once again lose my credibility when I reveal my former status as a psychiatric patient.  So, it is a very lonely experience that I have not really been able to share, and it still weighs heavily on my heart. I remember there were people younger that me at Lowson House, who definitely fit your category of ‘child’ and I hope that at least some of them, like me, were able to recover. Thankyou for the opportunity you are giving people to share their stories.

art, Forgotten Australians, memories, poetry

Six institutions, six poems

by Gloria Lovely (guest author) on 17 June, 2010

Barbara spent time as a child in Opal House, Opal Joyce Wilding Home, Wilson Youth Hospital, Vaughan House, The Haven and at Wolston Park Hospital (Osler House) between the years 1970 and 1979. Here are Barbara’s poems Remembering Osler House, Time, Tomorrow, Too Much!, Young and Word Games.

Remembering Osler House.

Screams echo down the hallway of my mind, as they did the cells
and hallways of that house of endless horrors, through the years.
My body still remembers all the shame of what I witnessed,
And the corrosive, all-pervasive acid-urine smell of fears.

I was thirteen years.

The sobbing, wailing background noise that ate away the night;
The soul-shattering, too-sudden… cessation of the screams,
These joined the tortured memories I buried in the abyss,|
To carve away my childhood, brutally, as they stole my dreams.

I was only thirteen.

The milling, naked bodies in the showers with no doors;
The excrement and sanitary pads, my first time, on the floors.
Betrayed by my own government, the state that had my care,
In an adult asylum for the criminally insane; I’d pulled out all my hair.

I was only a child.

Hollow-eyed people, shock-treatment blank, helpless,
And no longer knowing their names;
The intellectually disabled and terrified children
Still haunt in their drugged, bruised and bare-naked shame.

I was thirteen years old.

TIME

Time:
Master of Earth,
Dictator by Nature,
With Universal Power,
Sits in His Tower,
Solving all mystery,
Exposing
Success or Failure,
Truth or Lie,
By and by.
In Time you’re paid
What you’ve earned;
In Time the hands
Of clocks are turned;
In Time understand what,
With Time, you have learned.
Possessive Guard
Of Past and Future;
Undefeated, Eternal Master:
Won’t move slower,
Won’t move faster.
His Word is Law;
You can’t break away.
There’s nothing more:
There’s just Today.

Tomorrow

Tomorrow.
Always tomorrow.
Whatever it is,
it’s always left…
’til tomorrow.
Just a slight delay…
Tomorrow…
But not Today.
Today we are
too busy
Dreaming and planning
for tomorrow.
It’ll be a big day
with all that we have planned
for Tomorrow.

Too Much!

Too many thoughts
Spinning around:
Too much to think about.
Too many thoughts,
And too many thoughts
That I could do without!
Too many people
all in my thoughts:
Wish they’d all go away.
Too much can happen,
And all crammed into
A twenty-four hour day.
Too many things
that I should do
When I don’t want to do any.
Too many people;
Too many thoughts;
Enough!
Too much!
Too many!

YOUNG

You can grow old,
‘Though you were born young.
With impermanence weak,
You can be strong.
And, yes, you can walk,
‘Though you’re learning to crawl.
You have an idea,
Yet younger, saw all.
For you can eat fruit,
‘Though you suck from the nipple:
A stone’s throw’s a universe,
Seen through a ripple.
But always know this:
What you are, you can be.
You can open each door:-
Only you have the key.

WORD GAMES

I wrap words around their intent,
And knock pretext to its knees.
I push protests off their perches,
And with words, do as I please.

I pack speech with all its content,
And condemn the need to tell
With embellishment and pretence,
‘Cause exaggeration’s hell.

I write off the need for falseness,
And I verily will say
That all politic diplomacy’s
In over-use today.

I like truth without adornment,
(If the garnish leads to lies),
With no semblance of pretension,
With no mask and no disguise.

art, Forgotten Australians, memories, poetry

Remember Them, Those Poor Souls

by Sue Treweek (guest author) on 10 June, 2010

Sue Treweek was a resident of Abbortsford Convent from 1968 – 1970. At the age of 11, she was sent to Warilda, in Brisbane. She was also a resident of the Bush Children’s Home in 1973 and Nudgee Orphanage from 1978 – 1979, both in Queensland.

For the simple act of rocking herself to sleep, the nuns sent Sue, at the age of 12, to Lowson House, a mental health ward at the Royal Brisbane Hospital. Even though the psychiatric assessment stated that she was not mentally ill, no children’s homes would take her and so she was admitted to Wilson Youth Hospital. She was then transferred to Osler House, from 1980- 1988, the maximum security ward for adult female psychiatric patients at Wolston Park Hospital. A feature-length documentary film is current being made about her life: Scab Girl Asylum.

Sue has founded No-Problem Cleaning Services which provides:

  • family lifestyle coaching
  • yard clean- up and rubbish removal
  • specialised cleaning services
  • cooking and nutrition training
  • child care/supervision
  • office cleaning

Here are Sue’s poems; Remember Them, Those Poor Souls, Out of the Ashes, A Child Cries, Jesus Loves the Little Children, People of the Cloth and Those of Faith Stand Up.

 

Remember them, those poor souls

Today I sit and wonder what became of them, those poor souls I left behind.
A deep sadness fills my soul.

Their bodies racked by illnesses confusing to some.

Their pain can’t be seen only heard through their cries for help.

The uncertainty to what is real; a deep fear dismissed, no logic found by those in charge.
Still these people feel the pain no rest for them those poor souls.

An act of ignorance papers are signed another poor soul loses their rights.

Abused and dehumanized in the name of therapy their worst fears are realized.

Not knowing any different they settle in to a life of pain and uncertainty no mercy for them those poor souls.

Awake again the daily ritual begins, the turn of a key their here again, who this shift, will they be cruel or kind, showered and dressed wait to eat pills to take before you eat.

The drugs take hold the voices are silent for awhile, reality strikes as for a brief moment they remember what once was their life as the memories flood in, tears well in their eyes as they wonder what is happening  to them, and for those who have never known different they wonder why were born not right.

Cruel words spoken sink to their soul those they trust hardest of all, told they are  unacceptable till they can bear it no more succumb to the pain you know you must, sent away from societies eyes, stay away you must.

Their silent screams for understanding and acceptance fall on deaf ears only those innocents that watch their suffering yet have no power, hear their screams and remember them.
In dreams and on the wind they hear and understand those poor souls and will never forget.

The turn of a key they’re back again what today when will death come for me.

For some death does come like an angel in the night, swept away on the wings of an angel they feel no more pain.

Accepted now for who they are at peace within no fear, the confusion is gone.

Shame on those trusted to care, forget them not, those poor souls.

 

Out of the ashes

Out of the ashes we walk alone charred from the flames of a childhood
Spent in care,

Still we live luckier than some, are we.

In shock we wander through life wondering what could have been, had we been dealt a different hand.

Each day a challenge just to stay,  still we stand alone,

The beginning of new, for some bring life to our world, a child to love maybe a spouse
Feelings of joy replaced by pain, the battle begins, learn the mistakes of those who had the
power, don’t repeat, or the next generation will walk alone from out of the ashes they to will
stand.

Packaged now, for justice and change, not with out more pain to come for those who speak out,
we watch as one by one our generations fade no justice found; finally, now they listen to those
who walked alone.

United we stand, now our voice is strong and clear, grouped together for effect and support,
some sink deep from the weight of their past others wander in shock yet again, a few move on
and realize their dreams.

The fight renewed society screams out in anger as more with power are exposed, fear have some
who carry their guilt, with the knowledge they failed their duty of care.

To the top they walk together, on common ground that binds them all.
Their voice is loud, all can hear; people with position back them in their fight.

In disbelief they watch society and government react with guilt and remorse
Promises made that have no truth, reports and recommendations gather dust.

Too late for some the changes come rest in peace with the knowledge your fight is over. For those
left behind the fight continues till no other will suffer as they did and history will show that those
who had the courage tasted victory and realized their dreams.

 A child cries;

A child of 13 sits waiting to be judged, two sisters of god sit either side.
A woman in white flanked by two men, approach the child, and lead her to hell.
The lift rises from floor to floor the sound of screams shoots fear to her core.

A child cries.

A woman screams for help no one listens the child listens and wants to help.
A naked woman sees the child looking through the small holes into the cell.
Help me child tell someone. The child tells but no mercy to be found for her.
A woman yells as her delusions take hold you child you are the one,
my children are dead, you the devils child you must be punished.
Punched in the head as another patient act’s out her delusions, many more to come, weakest are you.
Confusion sets in. 

A child cries.

A woman quenches her thirst; cup of urine in her hand, down it goes no thought of what.
She turns on the child and it starts again more abuse, no escape to be found,
she can’t help it she’s sick is the reply.
The child protests and is punished, labelled, drugged and isolated now she knows she is in hell.

 A child cries

Another day passes in hell assessed and processed yet again no illnesses found.
Frustration by all at no illness found labels are many. The child is confused,
words slice deep into the child as her soul dies, fear is overcome by rage.

A child cries

This child learns fast the hell she is in.
Punished for differences that make her stand out told she must change she wonders into what.
Caught again banging her head no harm has she done, remove her pillow see if she stops
Taunted and teased by staff, who must make this child conform it is their job.

A child cries

The child fights to change without knowing into what.
Hides her head banging by rocking side to side with care not to be caught.
Not acceptable was this, manipulative is she
Punished again for inappropriate behaviour and dress, back in the cell.

 A child cries

 Another Dr out of bed another needle in her leg, Striped naked and left in this cold dark cell,
Drugs take hold to cold to sleep, sat on the floor back to the wall,
rocking front to back the only comfort to be found,
prayed for sleep my only friend or death, either will do.
Awake again in this cold dark hell as the child fights her body’s pain.
Fear of death, her screams are now ignored by those who care.
Her pleas to be let out are dismissed as attention seeking, don’t listen or it could reinforce,
teach her a lesson, more time for her in that cold hard hell.
Pain shoots through her body as she holds in the wee, mustn’t have an accident no toilet to use.
A puddle in the corner sometimes more to be punished for, shame, shame on you, you dirty girl.
Judgement is made out of ignorance and frustration, trapped in hell.

A child cries as her childhood dies.

Jesus loves the little children

 A child sits cold and terrified by those charged to care
No thought of the future the child will conform
Break its spirit destroy its faith make it take the pain
It cries for mercy none to be found

 Abused and left in that cold hard cell, their guilt is hidden deep in their souls
Mistakes are many the child waits, and rebels the pain enforced
By those charged to care, in the depths of hell the child remembers the song once heard which comforted her before.

 A deep breath the pain subdued, as the child remembers the words through her drugged state,
they tell her to shut up and stop those words she struggles to stand as they knock her down again,
still she sings that song from deep inside her soul, the words strike hard the consciences of them all,
in their sleep they can’t escape, these words haunt them and always will as they remember the child they continued to abuse in that cold dark hell

Her only weapon the verse of a song called Jesus loves the little children; all the children of the world, red and yellow black and white, all are precious in his sight.

 Fury spurred by their guilt, they attack the child no thought for her,
Shut her up she must not sing, this song is an attack we must, stop, how dare she sing this song.

 The despair is relieved by the words she sings, her pain is comforted by the one she can’t see, but sing his name, louder now for all to hear
She gathers strength from the words she sings, with the knowledge she is loved by one who cares.

 With her faith she takes it all, sometimes wondering if she will finally die and meet her friend, the one who stood by her side through all the pain and suffering, he was there,
He sacrificed his life to save our souls, now he stands beside this child,
She feels his presence in that cell, fear subsides, she is not alone.
Til the next wave of pain in the name of therapy and discipline, is enforced upon the child, til
she can take no more, again Jesus stands by her side and shares her pain.

 The lord watches the struggle, as the child fights to hold on to her faith,
The lord steps in and takes her soul, wraps it in his arms protect it he can, what’s left will survive or join her soul.
Grown now is the child, survived the past her soul intact, an act of mercy from the lord he saved her soul, only now she sees the truth and knows she must never forget.
The love of the lord out lives it all.

What’s left of shattered dreams

 As a child we dream of years to come with innocence and a sense we can.
An astronaut will I be, a doctor, nurse, teacher, I’ll climb the highest mountains.
Or a general in charge of a war
Or a ballerina a great dancer or maybe a mother that cares

 All to soon we learn we can’t, as our dreams are stripped from us one by one,
Left with what could have been if dealt a different lot.
Trying to dream the child has forgotten how,
What a shame is what we hear, that child could have been.

 The ones who lived there dreams are now the ones who destroy,
Feeding on the child as does the ravenous beast to its prey,
As dignity and innocence are replaced by fear and humility,
The child learns from those told to care, how worthless they truly are
As they endure the horrors dealt out to them their soul shudders at more to come and their dreams turn into nightmares relived day after day
No harm done the child will forget, we will rehabilitate it

As they rehabilitate what they cannot see and fear to be to be true.
More dreams die, till soon the child fears to dream and is lost,
As those who have the power wonder why.

The child grows and wonders what could have been.
Now an adult their dreams are new but tainted by the child within.
They dream of simple things now, like getting through one more day.

Nothing soothes there soul as they prey for death their only friend.
Some did not give in, they still struggle to dream, only now there dreams are of a better life, a life of peace and fullness they have never known,
They refuse to give in fighting for their lives they believe they can.
To their graves they take there dreams some never knowing how close they came.

 Forgotten by those who stole their dreams, passed of as a mistake made so many years before by those told to care
No remorse for the devastation caused.

PEOPLE OF THE CLOTH

Care for those unfortunate kids, sent to you with no place to call home
Treat them well for judgment day will come for you all
The lord watches on as you do your best to uphold his word
Remember well he sees it all

 As he watches the evil take hold of his people as they hide behind his name, they turn away from him and act out their evil on those defenseless souls,
Not a thought for judgment day.

 The children sent to his house, betrayed and abused they stand in line,
Jesus came he loves them all his sacrifice was for them,

 The lord his son by his side, watches as more souls are damaged by his people.
They are turned by evil yet preach his name
They use his name to justify their evil, first to the children then their peers,
All listen to them powerful are they.

The lord is saddened by the pain of his children, he watches and remembers them.
Those who came to him for sanctuary, now turn away thinking he has forgotten them
They can not see the sadness in his soul.

 He sends a message only headed by some, those of the cloth fear me now for your judgment day will come, no mercy will I have, on those who abused my children from
behind the cloth.

 People of the cloth chosen by him, to care for the children, our future cloth,
Those, whose faith is strong, separate the lord from the evil ones,
They stand by their faith to the end and the lord welcomes them
His arms open, they are home.

One by one the evil ones draw close to their end.
The lord waits with his son by his side, to pass judgment on them

 As the day draws closer panic sets in, no more can they hide behind the cloth
The time has come for those of the cloth, to answer for their sins.

 Brutal is the lord on those of the cloth, they betrayed him from within.

THOSE OF FAITH STAND UP

Unite as one within his sight.

Send a message to all who have faith to join as one, unite your souls to right the wrongs and embrace a future free of shattered children.

Welcome home his lost souls those who suffered a childhood shattered by those of twisted faith.
Only then can future generations of our faith be freed from those who betrayed the lord from within, cleanse his house renew the faith and trust lost by so many.

Heal the wounds of past injustices embrace the children past present and future, make a difference their will be no more evil within his house , gather strength from those who suffered in his house for only they hold the key and know the way, it is within they must see.

Remain united till the end the lord will see and join the fight together we will rejoice cleansing the cancer which threatens our faith.
The sky will open the earth renewed from his tears of joy
Remember well the lord sees it all.

Forgotten Australians, memories, poetry

When a child’s home is an asylum

by Rhonda Trivett (guest author) on 10 May, 2010

In 1967, at the age of eight, Rhonda was placed in Sandgate Home, Brisbane, while her mother tried to cope with the death of Rhonda’s father. Because Rhonda was dyslexic and became frustrated with her inability to read, she ran away from school. As a result, she was admitted to a locked ward in the Winston Noble Unit, a mental health facility attached to the Prince Charles Hospital at Chermside, Brisbane. She was later admitted to Lowson House, a mental health ward at the Royal Brisbane Hospital and then transferred to Wilston Youth Hostel. At the age of 13 she was admitted to a maximum security ward for adult female psychiatric patients (Osler House) at Wolston Park Hospital where she remained until she was 21 years of age.

Here is her poem, describing how her mother’s love helped her.

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Rhonda’s bed in Wolston Park