Another day, another headline. The press have been busy recently and a well known TV personality has been exposed as a paedophile.
Investigations into Stuart Hall the TV broadcaster had been ongoing for some time. Now, he has decided to plead guilty to committing 14 indecent assaults on 13 girls between 1967 and 1986. Previously, he had repeatedly denied the accusations against him; He was even awarded an OBE which is the most excellent order of theBritish Empire. An order of chivalry. It is hard to comprehend how he could be considered for such a prestigious award for his services to broadcasting and charity, when the victims he abused were aged from 9 to 17 years of age and he was abusing them because he could and because of his services to broadcasting and charity.
Stuart Hall has been described as an “opportunist predator” who would approach his victims “under friendly pretences and then bide his time until the victim was isolated”. Apparently, since his arrest he may have considered taking his own life but due to the support of his loving family he has not taken any further action in this regard.
However, how must his victims feel? Many victims of abuse suffer long term difficulties such as depression, suicidal ideations, relationship problems, employment issues and generally carry the burden of the abuse every single day. He, on the other hand, has suffered a “living nightmare” since the allegations were made and he was arrested by the police. It would seem that his living nightmare was delayed by 27 years (ie from the date of the last assault) as I suspect he has lived a normal lifestyle since committing these crimes. He has not been prevented from working, he has not had relationship difficulties, he is still living with his wife of 40 years, Hazel Hall, and his employability was not affected.
Like Jimmy Savile, Hall has been recognised for his 50 years of charity work where he has raised millions of pounds for charity.
Coronation Street star, William Roache, is denying allegations that he raped a 15 year old girl in 1967. His longstanding career is in ruins, like that of his co-star Michael Le Vell (aka Michael Turner); he has been accused of child rape, indecent assault and sexual activity with a child. He is accused of 19 separate offences between 2001 and 2010 and he is due to stand trial in September 2013.
Rolf Harris was also arrested in March 2013 in relation to sexual offences he committed in the 1990’s. Rolf Harris is 83 and he would have been in his 60s when the sexual offences were committed.
It is tragic that these well known TV personalities feel that they can take advantage of young vulnerable women, who are often excited to meet these celebrities in person when the opportunity presents itself. It is unlikely that the victims of these sexual assaults were aware of the manipulative personalities of these famous people, but instead were excited to meet them because they were famous and on TV. However, unbeknown to the victims, the TV personalities were merely using their fame and status to satisfy their sexual appetite in a disgraceful manner. Stuart Hall’s fun friendly family image on TV clearly was a smokescreen for his depraved behaviour off-screen.
As I have said in my previous blogs, victims must feel that they have the opportunity to come forward to challenge their abusers at the time of the abuse and not 20, 30 or 40 years later. The delay in coming forward for many victims can lead to other innocent victims being abused unnecessarily. However, it must also be recognised that for victims admitting that sexual abuse took place is a very difficult thing to do. Even more so, when it is a famous person who has committed the abuse and who continues to portray a clean living family image on TV. One of Stuart Hall’s victims has said that hearing his voice on TV and radio “has haunted her”, she was allegedly abused by him 40 years ago and every time she hears his voice on the radio she is reminded of the abuse.
Sadly, I believe that this may be just the tip of the iceberg and it is possible that allegations will continue to be made as more and more victims come forward and there may be many famous TV personalities/actors hoping the next police investigation will not involve them.