I am the eldest in a large family. Throughout my childhood I was treated differently to my siblings, and I often felt excluded. I would say it was neglectful. Things only worsened for me at home when I ‘came out’. Despite this, I felt determined at school to do as well as possible. I completed my GCSEs and A Levels. Alongside this, I worked part time to save as much money as possible to fund university which I was able to do. I did not receive any financial help from my family. My family did not support my decision to be at Uni and disparaged my aspirations and suggested it would be better to give up and come back to Jersey. During this first year away, I started to find it difficult both financially, and emotionally. It was during this period that I was raped. I reported this but there were no charges brought against the perpetrator and no emotional support offered.
My family refused to sign and submit documentation to Student Finance to fund my second year at University and I returned home. I initially stayed in my family home, sharing with my younger sibling but was not made to feel welcome and was moved into a shed in the garden. I was not allowed a key and had to ask permission to enter the house, to eat and to use the bathroom. I felt humiliated and ashamed and referred myself to mental health and rape support services. They suggested contacting JAYF.
I have now been living with JAYF for approximately 1 year. During this time, I have felt safe, supported and ready to make a fresh start. My mental health has improved, and I have been discharged from the Adult Mental Health Service and had my anti-depressant dosage lowered. I have now also been offered a full-time job which I am really excited about.
JAYF enabled me to have privacy within a supportive network of staff and other residents which helped to build my confidence. I have made new friends and am now able to think about my options for the future.