Jill Saward

If there is one aspect of crime which I cannot watch as an entertainment, say in a film or a drama, it is the vile crime of rape.

If I even get a sense that a rape will occur as the story unfolds, I will switch off the TV.

The reason is, that despite feeling entertained in shoot outs and bombings and throats being slit (in a film context); I can’t tolerate the emotional effect a rape scene has on me long after the scene is over.

A few years ago, I was watching the opening of a drama on TV when a man and his wife stopped their car to assist a man whose van had broken down.

In the next instant, the man giving assistance was knocked over the head and without warning the scene flashed to a rape of his wife.

I could not get out of my chair quick enough to stop the image and the disturbing image has lasted with me ever since – it affected me emotionally because it was so unexpected and so vile.

So then, I come to the subject of my blog,  Jill Saward, who died earlier this week at the age of 51, leaving behind her husband and three sons.

Jill Saward, at the age of 21 was violently raped in her own home by two men out of a gang of four who broke into her fathers vicarage in Ealing and raped her, whilst beating very severely her father and boyfriend.

Jill Saward waived her right to anonymity, to fight for victims of sexual crime so that their needs were put at the forefront of the criminal justice system.

As well as forgiving her rapist tormentors, whose sentences were less than those given to the ring leader of the gang, she turned her attention to counselling and supporting victims of rape.

I never met her, but remembering how appalled I was when her ordeal was major news in the UK, and being of a similar age to her, and being a man of deep sensitivity, I wanted to write this testimony to her.


My next blog will be: Out of Sync

William Defoe


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