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Brave and compassionate campaigner Jill Saward dies

(35 Posts)
woman12345 Thu 05-Jan-17 16:20:07

A survivor who went on to help many other survivors. After her attack in 1986, and at the Old Bailey trial the following year, the judge, Sir John Leonard, caused an outcry when sentencing the men. He told Saward’s assailants: “Because I have been told the trauma suffered by the victim was not so great … I shall take a lenient course with you.”

Leonard, who later regretted his comment, handed down longer sentences for burglary than for rape. The case contributed to a change in the law allowing prosecutors to appeal for longer sentences.

She forgave her attackers, was a campaigner, counsellor and helped many others who had been raped.

Compassionate condolences to her family.

LassWiTheDelicateAir Thu 05-Jan-17 16:26:10

I don't recall shedding a tear when reading any of the celebity obituaries in 2016 but I'm wiping away tears now.

BarbarianMum Thu 05-Jan-17 16:32:21

I was just coming here specifically to start a thread about this. So glad I'm not the only one who thinks her passing merits a mention here - she was a brave woman whose treatment by the courts and subsequent campaigning did a great deal to highlight the plight of rape victims at the hands of our "justice" system and to improve matters.

The Ealing rape case was the first time I became aware of how badly rape victims were treated by the legal system. Sir John Leonard was an arsehole.

derxa Thu 05-Jan-17 16:35:16

What a brave woman. She could have just as easily hidden away and done nothing.

scallopsrgreat Thu 05-Jan-17 16:37:24

Just heard this. Very sad. She was an amazing woman.

Too young.

PoochSmooch Thu 05-Jan-17 16:40:07

51, goodness, that's young. So terribly sad.

Thank you Jill, for your bravery and for all of your work.

OutDamnedWind Thu 05-Jan-17 16:43:16

I remember hearing her speak on a programme, or maybe an interview, when I was younger and it very much stuck with me. Very sad, and so young.

woman12345 Thu 05-Jan-17 16:50:47

Not many would have heard of her, and herstory isn't taught in many schools, thought it was important to commemorate.

Mumsnet HQ, maybe you could run a piece on her?

Blondie79 Thu 05-Jan-17 16:55:30

My husband was a friend of hers (they met after the horrific attack) and he has kept in touch fleetingly through Facebook after they both moved away from the area where they originally met. He has always spoken of her in such glowing terms and of how much admiration he had for her and her dedication to helping others. I never had the privilege of meeting her but I am glad (and I'm certain my DH will be) that someone has felt that she should be thought of and spoken about on Mumsnet today.

Ginorchoc Thu 05-Jan-17 16:56:53

Amazing woman I've got her book and it's a tough honest read. Such a strong admirable lady.

tribpot Thu 05-Jan-17 16:58:12

There are a couple of threads running about her, there is another in In The News.

We owe her a great debt for waiving her anonymity and bravely speaking out - for showing us there is no shame in being a victim of this terrible crime.

therealsquireofwideacre Thu 05-Jan-17 17:01:03

I knew her for a time too when our children were young. She was brave and dignified. This is very sad news.

illegitimateMortificadospawn Thu 05-Jan-17 17:21:07

I am glad to see her honoured and mentioned here too. A brave woman. Fifty-one is no age at all.

TheCunkOfPhilomena Thu 05-Jan-17 17:47:06

A real pioneer and I'm so grateful to her.

Kevinbaconsrealwife Thu 05-Jan-17 17:49:59

Rest in peace Brave Lady.

derxa Thu 05-Jan-17 18:01:03

She should have had more recognition.

SparklyBusinessFuckingFairy Thu 05-Jan-17 18:14:46

She should have had more recognition

I couldn't agree more


AristotlesTrousers Thu 05-Jan-17 18:35:20

R.I.P. Jill.

I don't think much of the BBC's headline though. 'Ealing vicarage rape victim Jill Saward dies' sounds very disrespectful to me. Why couldn't they describe her in terms of the great things she did rather than what happened to her?

BarbarianMum Thu 05-Jan-17 19:22:36

It's probably the Victorian in me but I've often felt that their should be a museum of womankind somewhere. You could have different galleries looking at the contribution women have made in science, politics, medicine, another focused on female biology, and others looking at feminist issues such as sexual violence, women and the patriarchy etc (I guess these last would be very dark).
And a bloody great hall of fame where women like Jill could be celebrated.

powershowerforanhour Thu 05-Jan-17 19:27:53

We were shown her story including interview in school. It was called "No Great Trauma". I hope it is shown again as a tribute.

woman12345 Thu 05-Jan-17 19:29:06

BarbarianMum brilliant idea. So much could be learnt. We could start a thread on this, to nominate and educate about women to be celebrated?

Goingtobeawesome Thu 05-Jan-17 19:31:25

An amazing lady. RIP.

Destinysdaughter Thu 05-Jan-17 19:38:21

Just came on here to see if there was a thread about this, so glad that there is. Such a young age to die. What an amazing brave woman to use her horrific experiences to campaign on behalf of others. I think of all the celebrities who have received honours recently and whilst not wanting to take anything away from them, wonder why pp like this aren't honoured by our society?

M0stlyHet Thu 05-Jan-17 22:18:38

I remember the case at the time, and the appallingly low sentences handed down. I also remember it really hitting home because a good friend had been raped only a couple of years earlier and her case was handled shockingly badly by the police (I sat in on some of the interviews with her, and they were dreadful). Jill Saward was wonderful because at a time when the knee jerk response was to victim-blame, she spoke out, waived her anonymity, and placed the shame back on the perpetrators. If you weren't an adult back in the 80s it's hard to get across what an immensely courageous and ground-breaking move this was on her part - it really did transform the public mood when it came to rape victims.

RIP flowers

Cherry321 Thu 05-Jan-17 22:25:28

Amazing, brave lady. Definitely worthy of a feature Mumsnet HQ?

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