Infanticide In The Magdalen Sisters

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Another problem was infanticide. Because of then stigma attached to single mothers, many women committed infanticide. These women were seen to be suffering from mental illness and were thus to be dealt with as a social and not a criminal problem. Consequently, many were consigned to
Magdalen Asylums. This was codified in the Infanticide Act(1949).Infanticide occurred for a number of reasons. Often the women were in poverty. Many of the women were uneducated. Often they were ignorant of reproduction and childbirth and care. The women were held solely responsible for the death of the infant and the responsibility of the male or the wider society was sidestepped.
By deeming the women temporarily insane, their political weight and identity
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The phenomenon of the Magdalen asylums was remembered by a number of artistic works.
These works in themselves illustrate different facets of the phenomenon of the Magdalen asylums in
Ireland. The Magdalen Sisters(2002) is an important film in this respect. This film deals with the lives of a number of inmates in a convent between 1964 and 1968. The convent is located on the outskirts of Dublin. The film illustrates several features of Irish society and the Magdalen Asylums. The first inmate is the victim of rape. The girl's family, to avoid the shame of having such a girl in the family, admit her to the convent. The situation also has incestuous overtones as the rape is committed by a part of the girl's family circle. The film then moves on to a second girl. This girl has given birth to an illegitimate child. In consequence, she is separated from the child and consigned to the convent. A third girl is consigned to the convent because she is perceived to be sexually promiscuous or flirtatious. A fourth girl is a mentally disabled unmarried mother. Within the asylum the girls are made to wear drab clothes and live in a dreary, colorless environment. They are given new
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This play deals in a more nuanced way with the nuns running these institutions. They are seen as confused and in some ways victims themselves. The play however does not condone the abuses perpetrated by the Magdalen Asylums. The play opens with the daughter of an inmate of a Magdalen Asylum visiting the asylum to gain information about her mother. She had been separated from her mother who was a single parent. The play shows a number of women penitents from 1963. These women were all in the asylum because they were victims of sexual abuse or single mothers. Thus the female victim of sexual abuse is punished by society rather than the male perpetrator. One of the women finds consolation in religion rather than face the ugly reality of the sexual abuse she suffered. Another considers that the convent protects her from men.
One of the women is seen to dream of a colorful life outside and to idolize Elvis Presley. There is a strong element of fantasy about the existence of these women. They find emotional sustenance in the meager object like old photos which they find and in each other's companionship. They are treated as children by the nuns, their individuality and autonomy are curbed. Memories of
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