Father Paul Glynn recommended Dame Jan Ruff-O’Herne as an excellent speaker so we made contact with her and put it all together for our 2004 Eucharistic Convention. What a woman! Watch the videos below to listen to her incredible story.
Some background on her
The Dutch-born grandmother Jan Ruff-O’Herne was a sex slave for the Japanese military during World War II; at the war’s end she migrated to South Australia.
In 1992 she agreed to be a witness at the international hearing on Japanese war crimes in Tokyo – the first European victim to speak out publicly about the war crimes – and helped make rape a war crime under the Geneva Convention.
“It was so difficult to speak of my experience, it was the hardest thing in my life to do, but I’ve been able to do something with it, and all that suffering has not been wasted,” she says.
“My suffering has given me the opportunity to speak, not only for the protection of women in war but of this beautiful faith that we’ve got and of forgiveness, at the international level as well as in Australia.”