Witness describes abuse by 'cruel' nuns

Published Monday, 10 February 2014
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The Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry has been told how one woman was cruelly treated by nuns and beaten during her time at Nazareth House in Londonderry.

Witness describes abuse by 'cruel' nuns
Victims and survivors of historical abuse are giving evidence to the inquiry. (© Simon Graham/Harrison Photography.)

On Monday, the inquiry heard from the 58-year-old witness who was a resident at the home from 1957 to 1969.

She described how during her time there, some of the nuns were cruel and one nun would often beat her, hitting her with a belt she wore round her neck.

She told the inquiry that she was beaten black and blue with a stick.

The witness, who cannot be named, said that at bath time, 100 girls were forced to queue up with no privacy and the bath water was never changed.

When she was 12 years old, she was sent out to what was described as a placement at two farms in the summer and was forced to do manual work.

The witness told the inquiry she was sexually abused on both occasions. During one incident, she was sleeping with another girl in bed, when a man came into the bedroom and got into bed beside them.

She said a woman, believed to the man's wife, then came in and told them to get out.

She said she had tried to tell the Sisters at Nazareth House, but was told "go away, you're talking nonsense".

When asked what she felt the Executive should do, she responded: "I just want an apology, I would never want anyone to go through the life I went through".

She said the nuns had been "cruel", "never gave an inch" and had ruined her life.

© UTV News
Comments Comments
jean in Dungannon wrote (354 days ago):
Gave up the Roman Catholic Religion several years ago. I am very glad I did so for it difficult to believe how such a church could allow and turn a blind eye to all this cruelty until now.
norman.d in bangor wrote (354 days ago):
The catholic church covered up the abuse that went on in these homes and the church shame on them
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