“The effect of sex crime is devastating for the victim. According to recent surveys in the UK the vast majority of incidents involving sexual violence go unreported; the situation in Jersey is likely to be similar. The reasons are multiple but include; fear of not being believed, or of being blamed, or shame. As a consequence victims suffer alone and in silence, without the vital support that they need. For the first time in the Island, Jersey Action Against Rape offers a helpline, specialist confidential advice, and counselling, to those who need it. It is a service that is badly needed and I am honoured to be asked to be Patron.” – Lady McColl
- To provide support for survivors of rape and sexual assault in Jersey and their families by, amongst other things, establishing and maintaining a supporting framework that includes a dedicated helpline, website and trained counsellors.
- To educate the general public on the facts and myths surrounding rape and the extreme trauma suffered by survivors of rape and sexual abuse. This will include being aware of and advising others of the latest thinking, research and treatments available to a survivor and their confidants. The Charity will raise awareness of these issues through the use of the media (both traditional and social) as well as organising fund raising events.
- To lobby and work in close conjunction with relevant authorities and organisations in Jersey involved in dealing with rape and sexual abuse including the States of Jersey, the Courts of Jersey, Victim Support, the Probation Department and the States of Jersey Police to ensure that the laws and sentencing regime regarding rape and sexual abuse are appropriate.
- To promote progressive and forward thinking attitudes regarding survivors of rape and sexual abuse.
- To establish and maintain relationships with equivalent bodies to the Charity around the world and in particular in the British Isles;
Our volunteers are the back bone of JAAR. Through their unstinting support we are able to offer the services that we do, providing information, support and counselling. If you would like to volunteer then see our volunteering page or contact our office on 01534 482 801 or email email@example.com
“All our counsellors who have face to face therapeutic contact with our clients are qualified and registered with their appropriate professional bodies. In addition, all our volunteers, have received specialist training, relevant to the charity’s aims and objectives and will continue to receive on-going training through a programme of specialist speakers and regular monthly supervision from our qualified and accredited in house supervisors.”
How We Started
Cassidy McIntosh’s speech for the launch of JAAR on the 27th January 2015.
Your Excellency, Lady McColl, Mr Deputy Bailiff, Ladies & Gentlemen
My name is Cassidy McIntosh. I am 27 years old.
On the 18th August 2012 I was raped at home when my parents were away on holiday by a 42 year old man who was a trusted friend of the family.
I am entitled, under Jersey law, to anonymity but I hereby waive that right so that what happened to me can be publicised. I hope that by doing this my story will help other survivors of rape & sexual assault to know that they are not alone. I am also entitled to name the man who raped me but that is not what tonight is about.
After I was raped I was bewildered, confused and frightened. The morning after the incident I was in a state of shock and didn’t know where to turn. Two close friends came to see me & I told them part of what had happened. I was too ashamed to tell them everything. I did not want to tell my family, as the impact on them would be devastating. I wanted to pretend it never happened, but as soon as I saw my mum I broke down. Within a few days, with the support & encouragement of others, I went to the police to make what is termed the first complaint.
The officers I spoke with were so kind, helpful and reassuring and played a large part in giving me the strength to take things forward. I will always be incredibly grateful to them both for that.
It is impossible to describe all of the emotional turmoil in my mind. Those who have not been raped or sexually assaulted may have their own preconceptions of what they themselves would do or how they would behave during and after a rape. Perhaps I was one of them. But what was really hard to deal with were those who had preconceptions of what I should have done or how I should have behaved. It seemed everyone had an opinion.
I was unable to understand why my whole body had frozen and why I had not fought back to repel this man who had broken my trust. Much later I was to learn from UK based psychologists that my behaviour and emotions were entirely normal for someone who has been the victim of rape or sexual assault. I did not know this at the time. On the one hand I was in disbelief that someone who had been so trusted by my family could have acted in this way, and on the other hand I felt shame and anger at myself for not having been able to prevent him from raping me. I remember describing it to the police as being in a cloud above myself watching what was happening but unable to do anything about it.
I thought what had happened was my fault and was utterly disgusted at myself. I have since learnt that this is a normal feeling and is so often why many victims of rape daren’t tell anyone what has happened to them at the time.
The police conducted their investigation. The defendant was arrested and interviewed by the police and made no comment to the questions asked of him. We were advised that because of the high burden of proof necessary in criminal cases it would be very difficult to achieve a successful prosecution and he was not charged. Based on the small percentage of rape cases that make it to criminal court we were prepared for this, and had already discussed what our options would be. We were advised that had the civil burden of proof applied then he would have been prosecuted.
So, with the support of my family and friends I decided to pursue justice through the civil courts. I didn’t want to look back and think that I hadn’t done everything in my power to seek justice for what had happened to me. On 18 January 2013 I issued proceedings in the Royal Court bringing an action in tort for rape. This was the first civil case of its kind in Jersey although several such claims had been made in England before.
I would like to take this opportunity to say a huge thank you to my lawyers who advised and held my hand through the legal and emotional minefield that followed.
In support of my claim I was examined by both a Professor of Psychiatry and a Registered Clinical and Forensic Psychologist instructed by my lawyers as expert witnesses. I was also examined by an eminent Consultant Psychiatrist instructed by the defendant’s lawyers as his Expert Witness. Both my expert witnesses submitted their reports to my lawyers & both found me to be suffering from psychiatric injury or post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety & depression. This was judged to have been caused by the traumatic rape that I had been subjected to. The defendant never revealed to the Court the report he had received from his expert witness.
Throughout all of this I still experienced what so many survivors of rape do if they choose to speak out. I was questioned by friends, had people turn their back on me and a good friend of six years decided he did not want to be associated with me any longer, predominantly because I was not acting as HE felt a victim should act, therefore I must be lying about the rape. I also had another friend say to my face that I was now “damaged property”.
Many would comment to my parents on how well I was doing but for a very long period it was just a façade. In my head things were very different. I remember standing on a tube platform in London thinking “if I jump in front to this tube it will all just be over”. It was so lonely.
However, I had to make a choice not to let this ruin me. I was better than this and better than the man who had done this to me.
In the very early days following the rape my mother searched for someone who could help me. Someone who specialised in helping survivors of rape and sexual assault, such as a Rape Crisis centre. We learnt that, unlike the UK, there appeared to be no specialist support or counselling for survivors of rape in Jersey. Even though I had a very supportive family and a wonderful close group of friends who did their best to help me, I needed specialist help. I needed to talk to someone who knew, who understood.
Eventually, due to the nature of my psychiatric injury, the assessing psychiatrist in London referred me for a specialist form of therapy for post-traumatic stress disorder. Again, I was lucky that we were in a position to fund this treatment as it involved several trips to London. Others who have been the victim of rape in Jersey may not have been in my position.
On 24th December 2013 the defendant settled my claim against him. He also paid me over £150,000 in damages and legal costs, my expert witness costs and all the cost of treatment that I had received. My purpose in bringing my civil claim was never to enrich myself. I wanted something good to come out of the appalling act to which I had been subjected. I wanted others to not feel ashamed and to not suffer in silence. I wanted others to have the specialist support that I had not had and that would help empower them to reclaim their lives.
It is out of this horrific event that my family and I conceived of the idea of launching Jersey Action Against Rape. Having settled my claim and after paying my costs and other expenses, I have donated all of the general damages received from the defendant to setting up Jersey Action Against Rape.
I would like to add my sincere thanks to Lady McColl for taking on the role of our Patron. Thank you, and thank you Your Excellency, for your incredible support and commitment to JAAR.
I am also forever indebted to our amazing volunteers who are giving their valuable time manning the helpline & providing counselling support for those who need it. The positive reaction and encouragement we have received from all parts of Jersey society has been overwhelming. Together we can make a difference.
I must also thank each and every one of my friends and family, many of whom are in the room this evening. I really do mean it when I say I could not have achieved this without you. I am often told how strong I have been but this strength is only a reflection of the support I have been shown and I will be forever grateful to you all for giving me my strength.I will never be able to fully communicate everything that a survivor of rape or sexual abuse feels, thinks or experiences. It is something nobody can really understand fully unless they have been through it but I hope that JAAR will provide the support and information that is so vital to survivors. It is so important to talk to somebody, to be reassured that everything you are feeling is completely normal, to learn what options are available to you but most importantly to have people that listen and understand. It is a lonely and exhausting time so please, call JAAR for support. Making that call to ask for help is the first step to reclaiming your life.
I would now like to introduce His Excellency.