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Survivors of abuse in care celebrate ‘validating’ name change

For the men who survived “evil” sexual and physical abuse in a Catholic boys’ home in Christchurch, last week was the first time authority figures gave them a reason to smile.

The reserve and street named after Marylands School is being renamed Validation, in recognition of the decades it took for abuse survivors to be believed.

The school was run by St John of God, a Catholic order, from 1955 until 1984 for boys with learning difficulties – or “naughty boys”, as survivor Eddie Marriott puts it.

He and several other survivors spoke to the Waihoro Spreydon-Cashmere-Heathcote Community Board on Thursday in favour of getting rid of the name Marylands. After the board unanimously agreed, the room broke into applause.

Marriott, Peter Wall and Adam Powell told The Press they had not dared to expect the vote to succeed, after years of horrific abuse and then decades of being ignored by authority figures.

But standing in the reserve on a bright Sunday, surrounded by trees and people walking their dogs, Powell said he felt like he could finally begin healing.

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