LINK TO PETITION HERE: ‘Tell Ireland to Stop Obstructing Justice for Symphysiotomy Victims’ http://www.thepetitionsite.com/807/989/501/tell-ireland-to-stop-obstructing-justice-for-symphysiotomy-victims/
If people who are tortured are described as being forced to endure inhuman, cruel and degrading treatment we have no choice but to conclude that the interviews we filmed with Irish mothers for our documentary Mothers Against The Odds might qualify in that roll of infamy. The reasons why they were subjected to a symphysiotomy often without their consent represents a dark and unresolved chapter in Ireland’s history as they still await justice.
We have filmed interviews with people who were tortured and some of the testimonies by Irish mothers forced to have a symphysiotomy describe treatment in some instances that was more horrific. Anyone interested can make up their own minds by looking at Mothers Against The Odds or seeking out those mothers who were forced to endure that procedure.
When we started filming Mothers Against The Odds over three years ago we had not even heard of the symphysiotomy procedure or were aware of the shocking pain and suffering inflicted on mothers since it was introduced in Irish maternity hospitals in 1944, with the last one as far as we can establish being carried out in 1984. We set out to make a film comparing the experiences in childbirth of Kenyan and Irish mothers. Women have a 25/1 of dying having a child in that well-known African country so we expected Kenya to offer the most traumatic and painful stories. We were shocked however to find in Ireland mothers forced to live with the consequences of treatment during pregnancy that even Irish politicians from all parties felt was on a par with female genital mutilation.
Some talk of African societies often in very patronizing terms as “traditional” and “conservative” or even “backward” and “cruel” especially in their treatment of women. There is no denying we found real problems for women and girls in Kenya where many are second-class citizens. But women are raising their voices and seeking change, and there are hopeful signs for the future. Against that background we were quite unprepared for the traumatic, shocking and extremely painful interviews we conducted with a number of Irish mothers who call themselves Survivors of Symphysiotomy.
For the women it was also very difficult to give these interviews, as they had to relive what were quite horrific, very painful and difficult experiences. One mother even confided that when she did the interview she would become depressed for sometime afterwards but felt it very important in her quest for justice to go through that process. Perhaps the following evidence of mind numbing cruelty will help you appreciate what some of these women went through.
In the documentary Nora describes what it was like having her pelvis severed: “I saw the hacksaw, I know what hacksaws are. He started cutting my bone and my blood spurted up like a fountain.” She remembers how the doctor looked annoyed that he had gotten her blood on his glasses. Until she spoke to her son Wayne about it many years later, Nora believed she had gone through a C-Section. “You’ll never get rid of [the pain] until you’re not living anymore.”
To watch the film click on the blog post entitled MOTHERS AGAINST THE ODDS above. But please sign the petition to ‘Tell Ireland to Stop Obstructing Justice for Symphysiotomy Victims.’
Ronan Tynan Anne Daly
‘Mothers Against The Odds’
And Co-Founders Esperanza Productions