SOLIHULL’S Jessica Ford, a campaigner for the Survivor’s Trust, has spoken out following the killing of Sarah Everard.
Jessica, from Dorridge and the current Miss Solihull International, is a survivor of sexual assault, an event so traumatic it set her on a path to raise the profile of The Survivor’s Trust and to work to empower women via the Miss International Pageantry.
She said: “What happened to Sarah Everard is awful and definitely my thoughts and prayers go out to her family.
“A lot of people have been trying for a long time to raise awareness of violence against women and it’s tragic that someone has to be murdered for the issue to get this level of attention.
“For me it really brought back memories and the question is, who can we trust?
“The man arrested for her murder was a serving police officer, someone in a position of power and someone who you would normally turn to for help.”
She added she had been in contact with the Home Office to get the issue of sexual violence put on the school curriculum.
“I’ve also been in touch with West Midlands Police as I think, as things stand at the moment, it will be difficult to bring trust back with the police.”
Londoner Sarah Everard disappeared on March 3 after setting out to walk home from a friend’s house.
Seven days later her remains were discovered near Ashford in Kent.
Wayne Couzens, 48, a serving officer with the Metropolitan Police has been charged with her murder and kidnap.
Sarah’s death sparked vigils across the country and outrage when heavy handed police tactics broke up a peaceful gathering on Clapham Common in London.
Further outrage was caused by the Government’s Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill which referenced a maximum sentence of 10 years for people who attacked statues and a minimum of five years for rape cases.
Jessica has already won the backing of numerous Solihull businesses in her Miss International Pageantry journey.
The Survivors Trust is the UK’s umbrella organisation for specialist rape and sexual abuse support services for both men and women.
For more on the work it does visit https://www.thesurvivorstrust.org/.