Memories and Appalling Indignities and Pain of a Child Abused in Quarriers Care

This is in no way a letter seeking sympathy nor pity or for that matter even gratification. What i have cried out for so long for is just plain simple understanding. I feel now is the time in my life when people should listen to the awful truth of the horrific suffering of the forgotten children in some of our so called wonderful charitable and religiously based institutions.


One in particular being “Quarriers Homes Scotland”, a leading charitable organization. Their motto was "Have faith in God", but I often
wonder where their faith lay. What terrible things were done to many thousands of innocent children whose only crime was to have no one to love them.

 In my own case I was handed over to sadistic beasts and perverts, even maniacs. What went on behind doors of respectability just beggars belief, a complete crying shame to society and even now to think that such behaviour was ever allowed to happen in a so called civilised Christian society. The behaviour of so called religious people towards defenseless helpless
children in their care was nothing short of animalistic and barbaric. Such people have no real belief in God and it is appalling that they were ever given positions of authority.

When I was a child growing up in my precious years, my mind was warped, my body dirty, I was not allowed to develop normally. What could I expect from such cold, narrow minded, uncaring creatures who were incapable of showing a crumb of compassion to innocent children like me who were crying inwardly for a little love and tenderness. The humiliation and degradation and downright brutality towards children was a disgrace and once again I say a shame on our society.

When I think of all those holy pictures hanging up on the walls of my cottage, it makes me cringe. One said "Christ is the head of this house, the unseen guest at every meal, the silent listener to every conversation." This only further reminded we children not to speak as to speak was a crime. If you did so your mouth was washed out with carbolic soap or a spoonful of cooking salt. I was often found guilty of this crime. Another picture proclaimed "suffer the little children and let them come unto me". I grew up thinking this meant we had to suffer and were to be reminded of it so the punishment meted out to me seemed to be natural. There was no laughter, smiling nor talking in our cottage. These were such terrible sins, we had to use sign language to one another to avoid punishment. For example, to touch
ones nose meant you could expect a terrible thrashing as you were not putting enough elbow grease into your work. And when the thrashing came, the cottage "mother" would be roaring at the top of her voice when beating you with her thick belt calling you the scum of the earth, etc. Looking back it seems incredible to think what we innocent children had to endure.

Then of course one cannot forget evening worship which i called ridicule time as the cottage mother would point at you and say something like "what are you going to do girl when you leave and go out into the world" as we were usually spoken at rather than to. I was so petrified of this evil woman I would say something I thought she might want to hear. I once said I would like to look after babies but she only bellowed in return "that will be the day girl, a pigsty or lavatory cleaner would be more up your street, you imbecile." How sacrilegious those people were, sitting over us brainwashing and ridiculing us in such a manner after bible lessons and singing beautiful hymns. The sheer absolute hypocrisy, of all this left me feeling that many contents of the bible were meaningless for me.

Despite being constantly reminded of being such an imbecile it might surprise my former carers what a good memory i have. These are just a few of the hymns and psalms I remember:

Home beautiful home, bright home of our saviour, bright beautiful home.
There's a home for little children above the bright blue sky.
All things bright and beautiful.
Jesus loves the little children of the world.
Count your blessings, name them one by one.

What blessings can I count from my time in care, having committed the crime of being unwanted. My blessings were to suffer from horrendous mental, physical and sexual abuse. To be persecuted by ruthless and twisted narrow minded evil people who were supposed to protect me as a child, including many people from the body of the church. In my view these church people also need to address the sins of the past for the healing to begin for many innocents.

My past has taken a considerable toll on my health throughout the years and particularly in these latter years of my life. I have been in and out of psychiatric hospitals and have been dealt with by some very caring and understanding psychiatrists, but also by a few with very little
understanding whatsoever. I feel many professional people are so out of touch with reality that they are unable to help anyone. I have found out through discussion with many victims like myself that many professionals treat victims with complete disregard.

Despite many tragic cases, not all children brought up in institutions end up going through life as dysfunctional adults as is often portrayed in society. Many have gone on to contribute to society in a very full way. Voices of former children brought up in care homes will only get louder in respect.

Much of the abuse suffered by young children is unimaginable to those lucky enough to have had a normal upbringing. The failure of the public at large to understand the problem only compounds the matter further for most victims, alienating them from society and as a result many succumb to suicide as a way to escape whilst thousands of others remain traumatized for year’s even decades after the abuse suffered.

The establishment needs to accept the fact that widespread abuse has taken place in institutions throughout Scotland. The victims are now coming forward and want to be heard and it is right and proper that an independent public inquiry ought to be set up to address this grave situation. There is no use turning a blind eye to the terrible suffering in these institutions which are religiously based. It must be realised that abuse committed against vulnerable children by people purporting to doing "God's" work leaves a particularly profound effect on many victims, because children naturally grow to trust those looking after them. We were constantly told that we were liars and the word "truth" did not exist in our vocabulary and for this reason abuse flourished on a wide scale.

When I recall many of my experiences during the time I spent in Quarriers, a place which I never considered as my home. For there was no love of the type known as forgiveness, there was no comfort for the sad and lonely child, nor love and kindness. These things did not exist for me. What is required from Quarriers is an apology who seem quite unwilling to bring themselves to accept that the unacceptable did happen.

This is not a case of false memory syndrome
Elizabeth McWilliams (nee Miller)

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