Just back from a week on Jersey! Beautiful island, and one we have been visiting for thirty years.
Gez booked this as a sort of “rest cure” for me after being so poorly!
Needless to say we had a great time, good food, great weather lots of walking with Buddy and wonderful scenery.
But don’t worry I am not going to show you my holiday snaps or bore you with all of the details!
I am mentioning it because even on holiday the childhood abuse issues never leave me.
I was chatting to two elderly Jersey born ladies near the beach one day, and after they told me how fed up they were with the freezing in pensions and the rent increases etc. the subject turned to childhood abuse.
Hardly surprising when there has been a lot of dreadful abuse history on that island, specifically in the children’s home “Haute de la Garenne” and and the “Sacre Coeur” orphanage.
The ladies did not know anything about me or my involvement with this cause, so it was good to listen to unguarded reports from local people who know a lot more than the media
They told me that it was “common knowledge” that certain “celebrities went over to the island and abused children, that it was “well known” that the nuns were prize bitches and were cruel and abusive to the children, and the priests sexually abused them.They talked about children who had “gone missing” a similar story heard in other parts of the world. They said they were terrified that their own children and grandchildren were sent to be “educated” in certain schools because of their appalling reputation, and they told me of a book :
“NO-ONE CAME” written by Robbie Garner a survivor of these dreadful creatures, which is NOT AVAILABLE to buy on Jersey!! (one of them had discovered Amazon and so had got it that way!) They say it is banned on their Island! the implication being that there are still people who want this all covered up.
They talked about Jimmy Saville’s crimes and how he was a prolific offender on Jersey, and they said how all of this was always a very guarded and covered up affair.They mentioned other names too.
They suggested that people were only “coming forward” now after Saville because of money! And this is a view held by many people who don’t understand why coming forward often takes decades and more often than not never happens. Money is very rarely the catalyst, but even if it were, it would be perfectly acceptable to expect proper redress from the criminals and their protectors that have caused lives to be destroyed.
But It was at this point that I had to declare myself! , what I do and why this is an erroneous and unfair assumption. What exactly it takes to speak out and why it often takes so long, what actually has happened to that human being and why they deserve a voice.
This is one of the reasons why we survivors need to talk about our “stuff” – who else is going to set these records straight? We are, after all, the only ones who really understand the issues, although plenty of people have opinions!.
We talked for a long time, they were both mothers and grandmothers and actually quite delightful.They realised the issues were a lot more complex and difficult than they had thought, and made me promise to buy this book and tell others about it.
It was a lovely connection, and I said I would look them both up next time I was there.
This is a beautiful island, and close to my heart. But I can see how easy it would have been for predatory pedophiles to abuse children who were so isolated, and quite often in the grip of the church! Similarly I grew up in an isolated seaside community, a vulnerable child in an isolated community is always a sitting target!
I hope as survivors we can continue to shine a spotlight into these dark and sinister corners and bring all this filth out into the light where it can be seen and where decent ordinary people like these two grandmothers will feel such revulsion that they will join our cause and make these criminals pay for their crimes and make sure future children are protected. I had a good holiday!