January 20, 2005



CTV.ca News Staff

Prince Edward Island boasts some of the most beautiful scenery in the country and it's home to one of Canada's most famous literary characters Anne of Green Gables. She's on the cover of government tourist brochures and each year thousands visit the farmhouse that inspired the story of the orphan who never existed.

But P.E.I. has some real orphan stories that lack the fairytale ending. Ones that the provincial government would prefer not to talk about and unlike Anne of Green Gables, they're about real people. Their memories of the Mount Herbert orphanage are harsh and painful and although they have worked hard to put it behind them, some things cannot be forgotten or forgiven.

"Nobody could care whether you lived or died. There were no hugs and kisses. There was no affection," said Rihan MacDonald, a former resident at the orphanage.

"The strap would come down a number of times on a child and you could hear the screaming in the background. And then you were always terrified that you were going to be the next person that would get it," remembers Garry Genge who also lived there as a child.

The Mount Herbert Orphanage, run by Protestant Churches, was home to hundreds of children from the early 1900s to 1975. The orphanage was financed by donations from the public. ...

McPherson claims the only attention he ever received from adults at the orphanage was the kind no child should ever have.

"I'm not clear as far as how all the first sexual abuse started, but I know I was four or five years old. I'm talking about sexual abuse with a man and the first time he raped me," McPherson recalls the incident with difficulty. His assailant, McPherson says, was the janitor.

"It just makes you feel like nothing. You're just not a human being any more. The next day I was in bed and I was bleeding really bad and the matron comes around and says 'what happened to you'? I know I can't tell her what happened. And so then she gets angry and beats me because I've got blood in the bed. I bled for three days, and I got beat because I couldn't get out of bed."

Posted by kshaw at January 20, 2005 04:17 PM