The news surrounding Jimmy Savile has barely died down since I wrote my last blog a few weeks ago. With every day that has passed the police have announced further lines of enquiry. On the last count these exceeded 400 with the possibility of over 200 people being abused by the TV star.
It does seem incredible that such a public persona would have abused so many people during his long life and never been found out. If you consider how many people must have had suspicions about him, then it is even more astounding.
Hindsight, as always, is a wonderful thing. Interviews, conversations, patterns of behaviour that once seemed passable take on a new sinister light when revelations such as these arise. Perhaps most creepy are excerpts from the BBC Louis Theroux documentary in 2000. When Theroux asked Savile why he had told the press he hated children, he replied:
“We live in a very funny world and it’s easier for me as a single man to say I don’t like children because that puts a lot of salacious tabloid people off the hunt.”
Theroux went on to ask whether this was to stop questions arising about him being a paedophile:
“How do they know whether I am or not? How does anybody know whether I am? Nobody knows whether I am or not. I know I’m not, and I can tell you from experience that the easy way of doing it, when they say, all them children on Jim’ll Fix It, is to say, yeah, I hate them.
“That’s my policy. That’s the way it goes. And it’s worked a dream. A dream.”
But, looking at pictures and saying “he looked so odd – we should have known”, or reviewing past footage and cringing is not what will stop these things from happening in the future.
The only way that paedophiles can be dealt with is if victims feel they have the opportunity and support to come forward and challenge their abusers. Perhaps we should think about trying to create an environment where people can challenge abusers soon after the event, not once they are dead.
Abuse is an unfortunate reality; abuse on such a massive scale need not be so.