For decades, the Irish Catholic Church has denied abusing the abandoned illegitimate children of Irish mothers and African fathers forced into their institutions, but new allegations have exposed the horrendous torture these children experienced years ago.
In the 1950s and ’60s, biracial children were often ostracized by their families, communities and the whole of Ireland because of their Blackness.
“Our skin color was beaten into us as nothing but pure evil. … Our mothers were whores, our fathers were savages and we had to pay for their sins,” Rosemary Adaser tells The Guardian in a Friday, Feb. 24 interview.
At 3 years old, Adaser was sent to the orphanage by a couple that complained that she was “rotting the beds” and wanted her gone. She spent a decade in St. Joseph Industrial, one of the Irish Catholic Church’s institutions.
“They use euphemisms like convents or orphanages, they were industrial schools,” Adaser explains. “They were like workhouses. The last things they had in these places was love, care attention or the welfare of the child.
“When you’ve been in an institution for 18 years and you have been called a n—-r … beaten, stripped, sexually abused. You know why you’re there. You know your mother didn’t want to look after you.”
Adaser recalled the misery she felt after enduring sexual abuse by fellow girls, being told her skin would dirty the shower walls and how the nuns turned a blind eye to her suffering because she was Black. While at the industrial school, the woman was routinely thrown into the chicken coop as a form of punishment.
She wasn’t adopted by a good family until she was 17 and pregnant. Adaser has spent her adult life looking for records of her father, but she has had no luck. The Londoner told reporters that she has no interest in finding information about her mother.
Her story, and many like it, has gone undocumented for decades, even while rape and sexual abuse scandals involving the Catholic church have come to light.