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The Hospital: How I survived the secret…
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The Hospital: How I survived the secret child experiments at Aston Hall

by Barbara O'Hare

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This is an autobiographical book about the abuse Barbara was exposed to as a child. Her mother, a gypsy, abandoned her at birth and she lived with her father, and was abused by his subsequent partners.

Barbara was sent to a children’s home, then a remand home called The Cedars and later to a psychiatric hospital called Aston Hall under the auspices of the ominous Dr. Milner.

Daily she is given tablets that drug and paralyze her, is tied up and exposed to strange, terrible “treatments” and subsequently while unconscious raped by Dr. Milner. She does not realize this at first, but subsequent to the treatments she is sore “down below”, and bleeding.

None of the girls in the institution are mentally ill, though there is one grownup woman, Jane, who always dances around and sings the same song, who is; she is not subjected to Dr. Milner’s treatments.

The nurses threaten to give Barbara electric shock therapy, which terrifies her, for good reason. Some are permanently harmed by this treatment and never speak again.

Barbara makes a good friend, Christine.

Eventually, Barbara’s father gets her out of Aston Hall, though he took his time and I don’t understand how Barbara seems to idealize him, since he practically never visited her, was abusive to her, and didn’t listen to her accounts of the abuse at first.

I give the book five stars for Barbara’s courage in writing it, getting in contact with other survivors, and bringing the whole matter to light.

Unfortunately, Dr. Milner is now long dead so cannot be brought to justice.

This is by no means a pleasant read, but it is important that the matter has been revealed. I believe abuse has occurred and is still occurring in other institutions, and the exposure of the horrors of Aston Hall can help bring awareness of the existence of other such institutions where abuse still occurs. ( )
  IonaS | May 31, 2018 |
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