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J.K Rowling and the Child in the Cage


J.K Rowling and the Child in the Cage

JK Rowling was reading The Sunday Times one weekend in 2004 when she came across a picture of a child looking distressed, perhaps screaming. She doesn’t think she registered immediately that he was caged. Revulsion made her turn the page — then a sense of shame made her turn back. If the story was half as bad as the picture, she told herself, she would have to do something about it.

The story was indeed as bad as she feared. Vasek Knotek, a boy of around five (his carers didn’t know his exact age), had been at Raby “care home”, two hours’ drive from Prague, since he was a baby. He was disabled and was taken out of confinement once a day to be cleaned, his only human contact. Vasek lived in the basement with other caged boys, and the descriptionof the children there turned Rowling's stomach: "Those who descend are confronted first by the stench of excrement and bleach then by the paralysing sight of human menagerie..."

Read and download the full article as PDF here.

"In one room, children with broken legs were held for days without treatment. In another, they were tied up."

In Bulgaria, parents who's babies were born disabled were told to 'go away and make a new one'.

The article is also available on The Sunday Times website here (£ subscription required).