Forgotten Crimes – The Magdalene Laundries

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The Magdalene Laundries in Ireland once run by a Roman Catholic from 18th to 20th centuries, also known as Magdalene asylums. 

A British filmmaker Stephen Frears released the movie “Philomena” based on the true story of a woman that was searching for her lost son. 

The women “Philomena” in the film lived in the high catholic society and found herself pregnant out of matrimony relationship, and then a nun forced her to give up the baby to the wealthy family. 

The Roman Catholic nuns operated the laundries for the profit, girls and women were put in the laundries to work there as penance. 

The most unforgotten crimes were not only to fill the laundries with “fallen women” which referred to prostitutes and become pregnant out of wedlock most probably due to sexual abuse but also with orphans and abused children. 

This tragic crime was unable to justify the historical questions for many women who gave up all their dreams in the horrific Magdalenes laundries.  

Their names and identity were changed; they had no one to talk with; they were all alone in the laundries. 

The women were locked away and treated like criminals, no human rights, no visit, and now trial for judgments. 

They often clean the laundries floor, cook for all nuns, taking care of other prisoners, and did disgusting tasks that nobody even thinks about. The most heart-wrenching act, they lost all their loved children to affluent adoptive families who were chosen by the nuns.

More than 10,000 innocent women and girls are passed in the laundries between Irish independence from Great Britain in 1922and in 1966.

Many surviving women and girls upon their escape or release, left Ireland to forget and shrugged off the shame of having been in them and spent rest of their lives with bloodless emotions. 

Sadly, many of them tried to commit suicide after sexual abuse to get rid of doom; some left with grief, some, unfortunately, witnessed the same torture.

Most of them spent all their lives trying to find the family parents, children, or siblings who were once taken from them by nuns.

Magdalene laundries were invented by Catholic Christian churches in the Western part, including Great Britain and the US as a charity to support fallen women.

In 2001, Ireland admitted that the Magdalene asylums were the origin of abuse. 

In 2001, the UN committee against the Torture urged the Irish government for an investigation to find the truth and facts about Magdalene laundries.

In 2013, then the investigation committee found some evidence of unfair abuses, after the report the Prime Minister of Ireland, Enda Kenny issued an official apology on behalf of all nations to the victims of Magdalene laundries.

Today, the power of Christian churches in Ireland was decreased because of many cases of abuses, but none of the revelations of the terrible suffering of Magdalene laundries. The last laundry of shame was closed in 1996.