Saturday, 6 October 2012

Of cans... and the worms that lie therein

In a blog entry written round about this time last year, I concluded with the observation: "In an age increasingly dominated by revelations of sleaze amongst the rich and famous, it's a refreshing change to have come across a genuinely good person".  Normally, I stand by what I write on here as being an accurate reflection of my thoughts and feelings, based on my own perceptions and experience.  However, I'm neither omniscient, infallible nor clairvoyant and so I wasn't to know that other peoples' childhood memories of the late Jimmy Savile are considerably less happy and innocent than mine were.

The full story is yet to emerge.  While I have considerable reservations about the principle of launching accusations against people who are dead and therefore unable to respond to them - and the cynic in me can't help wondering if there's a "me too" element involved with an eye on a prospective claim for compensation - can this many people really be making it all up?  There's certainly a disturbing element of complicity and cover-up allegedly involved and a better-than-average chance that other famous names may get caught up in the fall-out.

Thinking back to when I was a teenager at the time, I'd have been an innocent victim, too.  Would the word of an unknown 13- or 14- year old boy be believed against that of a "respected" broadcaster?  Of course it wouldn't.  Would I have been naive enough to believe that being groped - or worse - by a famous DJ was 'par for the course'?  I might well have done, having overcome the initial shock.  The "untouchables" rely on their victims' continuing silence, as well as on the co-operation of their accomplices.  No-one, but no-one is in a position to blow the whistle.

What's going to eventually happen is at the moment pure conjecture.  The police are still trying to build up a complete picture of the extent of what went on, and you can't of course prosecute a dead person - although you can strip someone posthumously of their knighthood (incidentally I think it's high time we ditched that particular anachronism which has its origins in medieval chivalry, but that's another story).  But if a prima facie case is eventually made out, what good's it going to do?  It's bound to give the victims some sort of satisfaction, certainly.  Perhaps more significantly, it might at last make some headway towards encouraging other victims of abuse to come forward and take a firmer stand.  As events in Rochdale have recently shown, the problem is still being swept under the carpet just as it apparently was thirty or more years ago.

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