Over eight decades ago, a murky mystery inside the Kennedy family surfaced, exposing the heartbreaking story of Rosemary Kennedy, John F. Kennedy’s secret sister.

Rosemary’s life was ruined by a terrible choice that permanently damaged her mental state and made her invisible to the public. Her tragic tale exposes both the difficulties experienced by people with disabilities and the morally dubious past of lobotomies.

The Early Years of Rosemary Kennedy

Rosemary Kennedy was Joseph P. Kennedy Senior and Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy’s third child, born on September 13, 1918. Her birth was complicated, depriving her brain of oxygen, which led to intellectual problems and developmental delays. Her behavior become more problematic as she grew older, exhibiting violent outbursts and emotional outbursts.

Regrettable Lobotomy

At 23, Joseph P. Kennedy Sr. took the devastating decision to have a lobotomy on Rosemary in an effort to control her challenging conduct and safeguard his boys’ political aspirations.

Back then, lobotomies—a surgical operation in which a piece of the frontal lobe is removed or damaged—were thought to be a treatment for mental disorders. Sadly, the surgery went horribly wrong, leaving Rosemary with only a toddler’s level of cognitive ability and significant disabilities.

The Repercussions and Legacy

After the disastrous procedure, Rosemary’s life took a terrible turn. She was confined to mental health facilities and saw her family very infrequently. She was educated for several years at the Saint Coletta School for Exceptional Children in Wisconsin, and afterwards in upstate New York. The magnitude of her ordeal was only revealed to her siblings much later.

Rosemary had a horrible end, but her story also brought about significant change. Eunice Kennedy Shriver, her sister, started the Special Olympics in 1968 and went on to become a leading advocate for people with disabilities. The Americans with Disabilities Act was made possible by an amendment signed by John F. Kennedy, the 35th president of the United States.

The Debate Over Lobotomies

Once a common medical operation, lobotomies are now widely criticized and denounced. Lobotomies, which were first used to treat mental disorders in the early 20th century, frequently resulted in profound emotional and cognitive problems.

They have mostly been superseded by safer and more efficient methods of providing mental health care, and are now viewed as a holdover from a more sinister era in the history of psychiatric medicine.

Novels that shed light on Rosemary’s narrative

Books like “The Missing Kennedy” and “Rosemary: The Hidden Kennedy Daughter” have shed light on Rosemary’s terrible past in recent years.

These novels explore the effects of her impairments on her family as well as the moral conundrums individuals tasked with making decisions regarding her care had to deal with. Rosemary’s legacy serves as a reminder of the significance of standing up for and appreciating the rights and dignity of people with disabilities through these testimonials.