Senator to set up help group for victims of sexual and violent abuse
A senator who made public her horrific ordeal of sexual and physical abuse is to set up a support group for people who have survived similar experiences.
Lindsay Simmons said she had been contacted by scores of people since she spoke about her attacks to The Royal Gazette last Tuesday.
Ms Simmons said: “A lot of people are hurting. I would like in the future to have a support group where people can get help and encouragement to go forward.
“It’s something I’m looking at doing. I’d like it to offer a bit of everything — advice and support.
“People need a space where they can be more vocal about what is going on.
“They need to be in a place where there is someone they can relate to, where they can feel comfortable and listened to.”
Ms Simmons earlier waived her legal right to anonymity to highlight the problem of rape and violence against women on the island.
She was the victim of three brutal assaults by a former boyfriend when she was 23, which led to her attacker getting a 14-year jail term.
Ms Simmons said the Covid-19 pandemic had made the problem of domestic abuse worse.
She added that when she spoke about her ordeal in the Upper House in November, a woman told her that it had given her the strength to get out of an abusive relationship.
The senator revealed that her former partner had attacked her with a machete on the night she broke up with him.
He subjected her to two more savage attacks before she took him to court.
Ms Simmons, a Progressive Labour Party senator, said she had earlier been intimidated into dropping charges against her rapist but was glad that she followed through after the third incident.
She appealed to women in a similar situation to contact the Women’s Resource Centre and the Centre Against Abuse.
Ms Simmons added that some men were also trapped in abusive relationships.
The Centre Against Abuse’s 24-hour hotline is 297-8278. The Women’s Resource Centre can be contacted on 295-3882