Today the world says goodbye to a courageous and inspirational woman who set aside her own pain and her anonymity, in order to help support others. Jill Saward, the woman who was involved in the Ealing vicarage rape – I can’t call her a victim because she was a survivor in every way. I am sure that she suffered the emotional distress and pain but she overcame that when she realised that the world was not a fair place for people who experienced this terrible crime. She spoke very publicly about her experience, about her decision to forgive her attackers, and about the changes that were needed in the way that this crime is treated in court. That meant that she couldn’t hide behind her right to anonymity and the peace that would have afforded her. Her choice was a brave move on behalf of all people affected by this awful crime and it changed the way that the courts and indeed the public understand the impact of rape.
Our thoughts and prayers are with her family and friends today and we applaud the work of this very modest but world changing woman. Bless you Jill – you proved that adversity can be overcome, that we can forgive the most awful crimes and that there is always a way forward and a life worth living after any sort of abuse. May you rest in peace in the knowledge that you made a difference.