The thing about abuse is that you would never know it was going on and that's the point. Whether Jimmy Saville is guilty or not it is upsetting to think that the women who have come forward aren't being believed, which is exactly why they didn't come forward in the first place. It's difficult in todays society not to question motives, having worked in a boys school I have seen the power that young girls have. Why come forward now? Money, sell a story or maybe just maybe as part of some sort of personal rehabilitation now is the time....we will of course never really know but today as a 5 year old girl is missing it just shows that society is split, ok to make jokes about Saville and his victims, not ok to question the parents of April as to why she was outside on her own.
Pete Townshend, remember him? Yep, he paid for, using his credit card, for pornographic pictures of children. Very cognitive actions. Many refused to believe the legendary Who member could possibly be involved in any such activity and have denied the sorry episode ever happened, his reproach was he felt so strongly about helping the victims of child porn he wanted to research it further in order to help them. Hmmm, I am not a fan and my instincts were one of 'What the fuck?' A musical hero to many, let off. We won't know the 'truth' but I include this as a example of of the danger of hero worship, when heroes become villains.
A few years ago I supported a very dear friend through an incredibly difficult time. The police were unable to help and while there was a happy ending the damage was done, she has never truly been herself again. Did I know what she was going through for all those years? No....not a clue. It took a particularly horrific incident for her to call me and tell me everything. Shocked beyond belief I vowed to help her but boy oh boy it was a shock, I had no idea, no-one did, she was too ashamed to speak up.
Sadly, we won't ever know whether Saville did like his girls young. The law cannot posthumously charge a person. Regardless of the sensationalism surrounding the ITV programme, one thing is for sure many inadvertedly colluded with Saville. Assuming these women are not lying, we say that times were different back then. Are we any further forward today? I'm not sure, abuse is spoken about more openly, schools are geared to spot signs of neglect or abuse, women can try and escape domestic violence, but one thing is prevalent, shame. I have discussed my feelings of shame here before, shame is a terrible burden to carry, it lays heavy on the shoulders. These women carry a shame, a shame that hangs around the neck like an anvil.....shame that they have allowed the abuse to happen, shame because they were unable to speak out thus allowing him to abuse again and again, shame that their families may have been tainted. I refer not just to the Saville case, for that would be unfair, however abusers love shame, it prevents usual reactions to unusual situations, a corporate wall of silence.
I have seen the results of abuse, be it in young people or good friends. There is no categorising abuse, it is different for everyone who suffers. Some follow suit and become abusers, many don't. What is key is being believed, that simple step of telling someone, of releasing the hold of the shame....
I defend the rights of anyone to speak freely, that's the beauty of our country. I am not surprised that twitter is full of jokes regarding Saville, I am surprised that I feel quite as strongly as I do regarding those jokes. I guess my work has been trying to rehabilitate kids that have suffered abuse in some form and it's just not that funny.