Jimmy Savile: His Victims – Why didn’t they tell Sooner?
In the Afterwords of my book I wrote about Jimmy Savile the paedophile. I felt compelled to when the initial sexual revelations came to light via the first brave victims. I was incensed at the scornful remarks levied against the women. People were phoning radio stations to demand ‘Why didn’t they tell sooner?’ ‘If these allegations are true, why did they wait until he was dead and couldn’t defend himself?’ So I specifically wanted to address why people don’t tell about abuse sooner. Instead of at a time that might be considered convenient for others. Because they need to wait until they are ready to tell. I know from personal experience that one of the hardest things to ever do is tell. My not telling had catastrophic effects, not just for me, but for countless others.
A torrent of victims and corroborating evidence followed the first few brave women. Most sane people have come to accept that this toad of a man Jimmy Savile was masquerading as a children’s entertainer. Dressed in his brash colourful shell suits and flashy chunky jewellery designed to get closer to his victims. Jimmy Savile was in fact a highly manipulative sexually deviant monster. It seemed a lot of the women, many themselves now mothers, wanted to share their horrific encounters at his hands. For some this might have been a case of “I was ignored when I told then, but I will get recognition now”. Or perhaps some of them felt empowered by telling and experienced a sense of that Americanism – ‘closure’. It was as if in unison they were standing up against Jimmy Savile and paedophiles alike. Chanting ‘yes, what happened to us was wrong, and we refuse to be silent victims any longer!’
So, I thought we were all clear on how brave these women were. I believed we now lived in a society that applauded people speaking out and shaming the devil. Haven’t we long left behind the dark days of western society some 50 years ago. Or modern-day attitudes in some third world countries, where women are condemned and sometimes even placed in mental institutions for having been sexually abused. The message being loud and clear, sexual abuse victims are soiled goods, and should feel ashamed if a man has violated them.
But it seems not everybody shares this enlightened opinion. A recent article in the Huffington Post distressed and shocked me. It reminded me, that as a society we have not come as far as many would like to believe, especially when it comes to female rights. This article was written by a man who scorned Jimmy Savile’s victims for speaking out at all. Suggesting that instead they should just shut up, put the sexual assaults down to a bad experience and move on with their lives. Otherwise, he warned, the victims would be tarred with the brush of having been sexually abused and then seen as a one-dimensional abuse victim.
It is horrific to think that this kind of archaic thinking exists. Let alone that it can be written up and pose as valid and helpful advice. But the worse part by far is the irresponsible message he is sending to children who are being sexually abused right now – shut up, because you will come out looking like the bad one! This journalist’s view reinforces the idea that sexual assault crimes are not worthy of recognition. Such thinking is twinned with the view that women are the one’s with the sexual power, even when they are little girls. They somehow encourage sexual abuse, while men are mere animals, who cannot control their urges, so should not be held responsible.
Maybe his opinion just comes from plain ignorance and an abhorrence at hearing about such things. I suppose in the world of ‘ordinary’ people sexual abuse only ever happens to ‘other’ people. Those who have had the good fortune to only experience nice things, having nothing scarier happen to them than waking up late for work, perhaps struggle to comprehend the other side of the coin. While those of us who have known the inhumanity of mankind have no trouble seeing co-victims as whole people. But then why should this writer be allowed to express such ignorance and lack of compassion and understanding. Surely until you have walked in someone else’s shoes you haven’t the right to an opinion on their journey?