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22.05.2009, 10:14
I just had a tentative read through some of the report launched here yesterday. Can anyone here imagine that the below practice actually happened. This is a quote from the actual report:

This is a link to a news item dated today:
The link to the full report is also on this page.

Bed-wetting and soiling

Bed-wetting was reported to have been targeted for punishment in all 26 Schools. One hundred
and twenty four (124) witnesses reported that they were harshly punished for bed-wetting, 99 of
those accounts related to witnesses discharged before 1970. The punishments described
ranged from being hit on the hands to being flogged naked in front of others. The persistance of
bed-wetting led to physical punishment becoming a daily ritual for many witnesses. With few
exceptions, the arrangements for handling bed-wetting were described as inducing fear and
terror on a constant basis and, with some variations, followed a similar pattern up to the 1970s.
It was frequently reported that residents who wet their bed were made to sleep in either a
separate dormitory or in a separate section of the main dormitory. It was also reported that nine
of the 26 Schools for boys employed a night watchman who woke habitual bed-wetters during
the night to use the toilet. The Committee heard consistent reports of particular practices in
relation to the management of bed-wetting, including all bed-wetters being woken, being
checked for wet beds, being beaten with a stick while in bed and being forced to wait for lengthy
periods in cold bathrooms to use the toilet. Witnesses also reported being hit as they stood
waiting; others reported that beds were inspected each morning, followed in some Schools by
an immediate beating if the bed was wet.

I was beaten stark naked for wetting the bed, 2 or 3 different people would beat me.
You would be called up after breakfast by Br ...X.... He was evil. He liked beating kids
naked, he would put your head between his legs ...(while he beat you)... for wetting the
bed, and more bed-wetting boys would be there as well ...(watching)... The night
watchman would get you up at night with a stick, every night. He would beat you out of
the bed. You’d have to bring the sheets up to be washed to the laundry and a bigger
boy would beat you with a stick there, he was the senior in the laundry.
One witness who was transferred from a junior to a senior School when he was eight years old
described how he had wet his bed for a long time and was used to it being managed fairly
sympathetically. On the first and subsequent morning’s inspection in the senior School when his
bed was found to be wet, the person in charge recorded his number. He was told to bring his
wet sheet to the drying room for use the following night. After breakfast he was sent to join a
line of boys outside the office and when his number was called he was sent into the office and
given ‘6 or 12 slaps with the leather on the hands, wrist or backside’. He reported that he did
not know why he was being beaten, he had never been punished for bed-wetting before and
could not understand what he had done wrong. Nobody explained anything to him. Another
witness explained his experience:

Every night I was beaten for wetting the bed, the first night I said “the nuns didn’t beat
me for bed-wetting”, he ...(Br X)... said “you’re here now”. Brother ...X... would make you
kneel down at the bed to pray, he would call out the boys every night ...(who had wet
their bed)... he would beat you with the leather, if you pulled away he would get hold of
you and hit harder, if you fell to the floor he would pull you up by the chin, twist your
ear, pull you by the hair. After the beatings he would play the guitar and sing
...(popular)... songs.

In other Schools the punishment for bed-wetting was reported to have been reserved for
bedtime when those who had wet their beds the previous night were lined up to await a beating
either on their hands or bare buttocks. Many of the 124 witness reported that they were beaten
in the morning and again at night. Other witnesses reported being sent to ‘the office’ where
punishment was meted out, usually in the form of strokes of the leather on the hands or
buttocks, described by one witness as follows:

You had to fold your bed every morning. Anyone who wet the bed had to stand out. It
was the fear. You were told to go to the office. Usually it was after school when they
bate ...(beat)... us. They never did it before school ’cos you’d be going to school crying.
There’d be 20 or 30 lads all waiting to be beaten, lined up outside the office ... it would
only be that size ... (indicated small space)... That’s where we would get our beatings.
You were just so scared; you didn’t know who was doing the beatings.... You were
better off not looking at the strap, it would frighten you more. It would depend who was
on and the form of the Brother how many slaps you’d get. You’d be told to drop your
pants and tip your toes. ... The lads, my friends, would try and get me out of bed at
night-time to go to the toilet.

Witnesses described trying to stay awake so as not to wet their bed. The rules in some
dormitories were said to preclude getting out of bed at night. In other Schools witnesses
reported being reluctant to go to the toilet during the night for fear of being followed and abused
by the night watchman or older co-residents. There were 43 witness reports of being beaten and
sexually abused by night watchmen and older co-residents in this context.
Cold showers and baths were described as a punishment for bed-wetting in the latter decades,
with six such witness accounts from three Schools in the 1970s and 1980s.
Witnesses also reported going to considerable lengths to swap or hide their wet sheets,
acknowledging that sometimes others were punished as a result. Other residents jeered those
who wet their bed and some witnesses spoke with regret about their actions as children in this

Soiling was reported less frequently and most often in the context of severe beatings. Fifteen
(15) witnesses reported they were either beaten because they soiled themselves or soiled
themselves as they were being severely beaten. Witnesses reported being publicly beaten with
leather straps and hurleys and humiliated by having their faces pushed into their soiled
bedclothes. Seven (7) witnesses specifically described soiling themselves as a response to
extreme fear.
I soiled myself a lot there, it was after a battering in the yard, it started after that, I never
done it before that. After I got a hiding in the yard, this Brother came over and caught
me by the back of the neck and swung me around.

In the classroom Br ...X... threw me out the window one day because I soiled myself. He
was a bully, he hit me with the leather on the hands and he’d fist you as well ...indicated
being hit on face....

The entire report is available online for those with a lot of patience and a strong constitution.
It's hard to think that this was going on just 30 years ago.
To understand the full context of the above excerpt, one should read the entire report. to understand the background.