Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Charred past

11 followers at Daytime Office Girl Crisis and only a tiny handful of you even know the history of this unique blog! It was underground for quite a period when I was avoiding places I felt rather uncomfortable at but now it's back out in the open.
If you clever people were wondering what this weeks title is referring to, unless you were on Mars, I'm talking about a major public scandal in the UK (that strange place that gave us English) that centres around the deceased disc jockey and tv presenter Sir Jimmy Saville who worked for a long time at a veritable UK institution, The BBC.
If you'd been in the UK for over 15 years, you'd of know of him presenting such shows as the pop music show Top of the Pops, radio shows like Saville's Time Travels, the Old record club, his past as a club MC in Leeds, Yorkshire and his charitable works and he did raise an awful lot for places like the  spinal injuries unit at Stoke Mandiville.
No one would dispute his achievements as an entertainer, indeed many of us us watched and listened to his shows.
There is no nice way to say this - and I wish I didn't have to - but he had another side a very hidden one from the public and it was he enjoyed having sex relations with children  15 or under something general morality aside, is against the law.
Some of these at least were clearly 'forced', they involved boys as well as girls, either on BBC property or in accommodation provided for his charitable work.
A good number were invited backstage from shows such as Jim'll fix it or Top of the Pops to his dressing room arguable with some knowledge from associates where they were abused; in others they were taken from Hospitals or Corrective Schools. It also has been said he attempted to interfere with some during the filmed dancing at Top of the Pops when he was on the show.
If this wasn't enough earlier this week I read a harrowing account of how even a niece at 13 and 15 of his was molested and abused.  I cried reading it.
I can't presume to speak for everyone that may be reading this blog, but there are a couple of things that come to mind of which the first is I feel a part of my past has been sullen not least for seeing people on a show and then finding out what happened later to them.
The other is why it was he was allowed unaccompanied access to minors to the point even of being given a key to one hospital that he kept with him. Thinking back as a 13 or 14 year old, at the time I'd loved to met my idols and gotten their autograph but you'd of expected someone to be over that person you were seeing not least for their own protection.
It also appears a number of people were aware of his 'interest' in minors but didn't act. Was this because he was viewed as too important to the BBC and various charities to tackle?


mittfh said...

A large part of it may be due to the law making it extremely difficult to prosecute in cases of alleged sexual abuse - until 2002 there were seven different offences, some of which were applied differently to boys and girls, some of which could only be brought within a year of the incident taking place etc.

Add onto that it would invariably be a case of "he said, she said" and the entertainer being able to hire afford better legal teams who'd work ruthlessly to poke holes in the evidence, not to mention threatening to sue anyone who made an allegation for libel.

One of the main issues was that although there were plenty of rumours, nobody was willing to come forward with evidence, so suspicions were ignored and quietly forgotten.

Colleen Cawood said...

I lived in the UK last fall and winter and watched the news coverage about Jimmy Saville's death. Being an American, I did not understand his popularity whatsoever. He seemed like a creepy wacko from a bygone era to me. But being from the midwest maybe I am incapable of comprehending such sophisticated entertainment.

My daughter was molested by her uncle when she was 13. Our district attorney lost our case against him and his expensive defense attorney and he walked away a free man. So sadly we have firsthand experience with pedophilia and the emotional damage and pain it inflicted on my daughter and our family.

But let me assure you that I did not just fall off a turnip truck or climb out from under a rock. In fact what I missed most about the midwest when I was over there was modern conveniences, reliable internet and just wanting to return to the 21st century again. Not stuck in a 70's timewarp. Sir Jimmy's death would not have been reported by any of the national news networks here as he and his works are completely unknown in the US. Not just to us "huckleberries" from the midwest.

Caroline Rigby said...

I'd be the first, Colleen,to agree the infrastructure in the UK falls short of the the North American norm. It drives me crazy too! I sadly have personal experience of molestation so can understand what you and your daughter went through.I get what you saying about the defence Attorney as it happens here too.All too often their focus is your character rather than the culpability of their client.This plus the stuff mittfh points out makes it darn difficult to get justice in such cases.
If I left you the impression anyone from the midwest was in any way lacking, I unreservedly apologize.

Colleen Cawood said...

I apologize for coming across so harshly Caroline. It's a horribly sensitive topic and probably didn't do anything to improve my mood. But its an important issue also and should be talked about. Not hidden like a dirty little family secret. I am so very sorry to hear that you were a victim also. That makes me want to cry also as you seem to be a very sweet, lovely and highly intelligent woman. My wish for you is that it hasn't left you with deep emotional scars.

No need to apologize about midwesterners. American TV programs always paints us in a bad light and when they hear our accents they take an automatic 10 point deduction from our IQ test scores. I should be use to it by now!

And the UK is so beautiful and fascinating it more than makes up for any lack of conveniences us spoiled Americans are accustomed to. I will always treasure the memories of the kind people I met there and the amazing sights I saw.