(Or press escape)
Caz, as she prefers to be known , is also the founder of West Midland’s first Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) known as The Rowan Centre, Walsall. Caz explains here how it all came about.
“Welcome to our website, if you have questions or suggestions, just ask us, I welcome your input ”
‘…I was born in 1960, in Redhill, Surrey, I was 5 years old when my family moved to Streatham Vale in South London…..In 1971, when I was 11 years old I had my first experience of abuse, back then the world seemed very different…
In the news, Decimalisation had arrived and £sd was no longer legal currency, Rolls-Royce had gone bankrupt and was nationalised, Apollo 14 and 15 landed on the moon and the lunar rover was used, Charles Manson was sentenced to death and the Manson Family were sentenced to the gas chamber.
The films, Diamonds Are Forever, Fiddler on the Roof, Dirty Harry, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, Bedknobs and Broomsticks, and A Clockwork Orange were released.
In music, Jim Morrison died, ABBA, ELO and Queen began their musical careers, Deep Purple released ‘Smoke on the Water’, Led Zeppelin IV was also released.
In television, ‘The Two Ronnies’, ‘Upstairs,Downstairs’, ‘The Old Grey Whistle Test’ premiered and ‘Play for Today’ was a year old.
Streatham Vale, South London in 1971 was a very different place back then, more green and less built up, a complete contrast to Streatham Vale as it is now.
I have an older sister, and as younger sisters do, I looked up to her and wanted to be involved in her circle of friends. It was at this time , in 1971 that I was groomed by a man who became involved in my sister’s circle of friends, it is with hindsight and my professional experience that helps me understand that this man was a sexual predator…..in 1971. (My sister, at the time, was completely unaware of the abuse). The actual grooming was very clever and quite pleasant, sweets, fizzy drinks and bags of chips, perfect for any 11 year old child.
My second experience of sexual crime was in 1973, I was abducted and repeatedly raped by a violent man, I was abducted and held for about 2 weeks before I managed to escape. The man was caught, charged and convicted on a lesser charge of having sex with a minor, after plea bargaining and disclosing information about other crimes to the police.
Looking me in the eye, the judge stated ‘if you carry on wearing a mini skirt, what do you expect, my girl?’ …I will leave you to decide on how far times and mindsets have moved on since then…
It was at this point, I left home and went to live on the streets, no one cared about me (or so I thought), so why should I care about me?
My third experience of rape was in 1975, I was multiple-raped by a local gang of boys who lived near to Streatham Vale, I never told anyone and never went to the police. It just didn’t seem worth it, they wouldn’t believe me anyway and I did not want to be told off by a judge again!
I went off the rails, I became a problem kid, living on the streets, engaging in fights, after this I became promiscuous for survival, food and shelter. I eventually went back to my father’s house and in 1976, I applied to the Royal Navy, against my father’s wishes—as he was ex-RAF, he was right I did not like it.
In 1976, I then began my career in Nursing with the NHS, starting as an Auxiliary Nurse in a Children’s Hospital (Queen Mary’s), to Staff Nurse, Pediatric Nurse to Matron (I was one of the youngest in the country at the time!) and then into operating theatres. In 1979 and 1983 I gave birth to my children.
I studied to be a psychotherapist and achieved my PhD, when staff morale within the NHS was low, which included me. This became the best career move I ever chose.
I moved to the West Midlands in 2000, and that is were I began my fight for the rights of victims of sexual crime, and how I can fight, I had been taught so well on the streets of London.
I had a dream that all victims of sexual crime would never go through the same cruel experience of the apathetical attitude towards a rape victim that I had to endure, which included the law, police, legal system and aftercare. I looked at how, London, Manchester and Liverpool dealt with this crime, I wanted all that they had and more.
In 2000 I started a charity called Crisis Point, I wanted to help victims come to terms with what had happened to them. By giving victims psychotherapy helped them move on in life, no longer was the power of the abuse holding them back. I still wanted to do more for victims, though.
This is when I started the process of founding The Rowan Centre, a Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC). I began consultations in 2002, I visited the Haven SARC (Kings College) in London and New Scotland Yard. I campaigned for statutory sector help until West Midlands Police and Walsall NHS/tPCT listened to me, finally the doors of the SARC opened in 2004 with the help of set-up costs from the Home Office.
We still have a long way to go to change people’s views and attitudes towards victims, to make them understand that no matter who you are or how you are dressed or how old you are, it is never your fault when you are raped or sexually abused. We now live in the new milennia and not in 1971, when even though the judge’s comments were not correct, it was how people thought.
Today the charity sees a multitude of people, young and old, men, women, and children. Our youngest client seen was 4 years old, our oldest is 92 years old.
If this page has helped you realise that your are not alone, and that there is help out there, then our website is of some value and has done what is what created to do.
Thank you for reading and visiting my page…’
Please take a look at the next page ‘Are you a victim of sexual crime?‘, if you are trying to deal with your own trauma.