Jersey – Letter from HG

The lady named as “HG” in the Korris Report has published a letter which is posted on Bob Hill’s Blog.

JerseyDear Bruce Willing, Philip Bailhache, Gavin Ashenden and others,

I thought I would write in response to what I see as a smear campaign against myself by you in response to the Korris report that assesses the Dean of Jersey to have done wrong. I have silently endured your very unchristian response to the Korris report for a long time

I am deeply dismayed by your approach to the matter.

I am first and foremost very sad to see how far behind the rest of the world Jersey is with regards to attitude to mental health. You claim me to be mentally ill and you use that against me not only in a way that criminalises me but in a derogatory way that puts your view across in a way that makes it look as if you are removing credibility from all people with mental illness. I have several comments on that, firstly ‘mental illness’ covers a very wide range of illnesses, from mild forms of depression and anxiety/phobia to the more severe forms of psychosis and schizophrenia.

It is important to remember that even people who are seriously mentally ill are still human and have a side to things, and that the attitude you are showing is simply that ‘people with mental illness are not credible’, sadly it is people with mental illness and people on the autistic spectrum who are most vulnerable to abuse, because they are isolated, need care and are vulnerable, can be misunderstood and often isolated lacking in voice and effective advocacy or interpretation.

I am dismayed that you, in your positions, are not enlightened on the subject of mental health, to the point where you are using my supposed mental health condition to scapegoat and vilify me and remove my credibility.

The damage you have done to me by scapegoating me in your efforts to clear the Dean and clergy in Jersey of misconduct is pretty horrifying, firstly because, hopefully you would know better than to scapegoat and verbally bash someone who has a physical disability, I do not understand why you feel that the equivalent is not the case with mental illness but that you feel that you should further hurt someone who is already suffering illness in order to achieve your own aims.

Also, Mr Willing, calling me a ‘poor unfortunate woman’ is the kind of terminology that belongs in the dark ages, it really shows up how Jersey has not moved forward with the rest of the world in understanding mental health, autism and other conditions.

To conclude on mental illness, I am diagnosed as free from it. not only was I diagnosed as free from mental illness in a psychiatric report done in La Moye prison, but again in Winchester five months later, again in Sussex a few months following, and again in a comprehensive report from my current clinical psychologist who specialises in autism and trauma and has been in practice for 20 years.

You need to stop excusing the wrongdoing of the Dean and Church in Jersey by using mental illness that I do not suffer, and if you insist on proceeding to use my ‘mental illness’ as an excuse for the wrongdoers, you need to name my mental illness and back it up not only with clinical proof but with reasons why it is an excuse for the Dean and church’s misconduct.

Most mental illnesses can strike at any time and anyone can suffer rich or poor, believer or non-believer, I ask you, do you expect to lose your own credibility and rights if any of you were to be struck down with mental illness of any kind, be it mild depression or any other form of illness? In this day and age, even though Jersey is a long way behind most of the developed world in many issues such as mental health, human rights and equality, it astounds me that you are, in the media and in front of the world, behaving in this severely prejudiced way. I don’t know how to put this politely but ‘shafting Jersey to the rest of the world’ comes to mind.

And especially in the case of Gavin Ashenden making statements about mentally ill people being demon possessed and driving demons out during services, it is understandable why he was chosen as a Jersey clergyman, and his letters and statements about me when he doesn’t know me and only knows one side of what happened between me and others, he isn’t just showing how unenlightened he is about mental illness, or just how much an investigation into safeguarding in Jersey is needed, he is also showing that despite being an ordained Priest, he does not understand the basics of Christianity.

I am diagnosed as mildly autistic, suffering severe Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and severely psychologically damaged by my experiences not only of a very damaging upbringing but also of what happened to me in Jersey and the Diocese of Winchester. Those things are not so easy for you to use as excuses I guess.

You can read the rest of the letter at the link above. I’m not quite sure what this letter seeks to achieve, but it is clear that HG is upset by the actions of some on the island (Gavin Ashenden and Bruce Willing have spoken on BBC Jersey on this issue) in attempting to defend Bob Key, the Dean. She is also upset with the establishment on Jersey, and one interesting paragraph highlights the conflicting issues in this story.

I will discuss with you Senator Bailhache’s “campaign” to get the Dean reinstated. I know I am autistic but I do not understand why Senator Bailhache was so keen to clear someone who had done wrong at the expense of the person who had been wronged.

For some people, the Jersey conflict is simply about righting a safeguarding wrong (as the Korris Report alleges). For others it is about the issue of who is responsible for safeguarding, what processes have to be followed and most importantly whether the peculiar relationship between Jersey and the UK, both in statute law and canon law, means that the way that both safeguarding and this whole affair has been handled since the instigation of the Korris Report is the actual point of contention.

Dame Heather Steel’s report is now scheduled to be delivered towards the end of December. It remains to be seen whether the Diocese of Winchester will publish it in full or, as the Terms of Reference allow the Bishop to, will keep certain parts of it secret. One has to ask, if the issue is openness and transparency in safeguarding, why you would have to do that.

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