Jimmy Savile – how’s about that, then?

What is there to say? Shocking? Terrible? Those poor girls and women? And boys apparently too.

I don’t need to say all that because everyone else has said it.

A couple of things I will say. They are currently allegations under investigation. That isn’t to say they aren’t true, but that legally they have not been proved.

Quite how they are going to be proved when Jimmy is no doubt turning, spinning, probably laughing in his gold satin-covered coffin in Scarborough cemetery, I have no idea. Perhaps some legal person can enlighten me? But you can hardly take him to court and expect him to defend himself.

Can one prosecute the dead? You certainly can’t libel them. So people are free to say whatever they want about Savile.

Oh and for non-Brits, Jimmy Savile was a British disc jockey, and a TV personality who did charity work, ran marathons, had strange blonde/white hair in a page-boy cut, smoked large cigars, and went on endlessly about his mother ‘The Duchess’. He had no partner which often gave rise to speculation about his sex life, eg was he gay because he wasn’t married? He held numerous honours including an OBE and a knighthood (making him Sir Jimmy Savile).

It’s not 12 months since he died. At the time, the coffin was on display at the Queen’s Hotel in Leeds. There was a funeral service in Leeds Cathedral. The following day, the gaudy gold coffin was paraded along the seafront at Scarborough before he was finally buried, wearing a tracksuit, a Help for Heroes wristband, and with a green beret presented to him by the Royal Marines back in the 70s.

Now, he is the bogeyman that everyone loves to hate. Did I like him? No. But I didn’t like Tony Blackburn either. I can’t remember whether I ever spoke to him, but because he’d bought a flat in Scarborough, when I was working on the newspaper there, we would sometimes ring him up to get a quote.

To me, there are a few key and very distinct aspects to this case.

1) There are allegations that Savile abused young women and boys. Or to be more accurate, sexually/indecently assaulted, molested, harassed, and abused them. Those are the least of the potential charges. Other charges could well include rape and paedophilia, especially given the ages of the girls/boys.

2) There are allegations that he abused patients at:

    1. Broadmoor (a high security psychiatric hospital in the UK)

    1. Stoke Mandeville (specialist rehab and spinal injuries hospital in the UK)
  • and

    1. also assaulted girls at Duncroft Approved School (Surrey, UK, now closed)
  • (See the link at the end for an interesting interview with Louis Theroux where paedophilia is discussed)

    3) There were previous inquiries into his alleged sexual abuse, by

      a) the BBC and
      b) the police.

    Over a period of nearly 60 years. There was never enough evidence to take a case any further.

    4) According to people who worked at the BBC at the time, there was a culture of sexual abuse, under-age sex ie rape, and general awareness of these crimes that were committed by a number of presenters/TV stars.

    5) There has been a huge media jump-on-the-bandwagon since these allegations first came to light. Why would there not be? As I said above, Savile can neither be prosecuted nor sued for libel. They can literally write what they want.

    What gripes me about this whole saga is the air of self-righteous sanctimoniousness that seems to be floating around the place.

    Bad police, bad BBC, extremely bad Savile. And – this couldn’t possibly happen now could it?

    Why not? Celebrities of whatever genre are even more in our faces than they were 20/30/40/50 years ago.

    Young people are just as aspirational and perhaps even more desperate than they were back in the Dark Ages, to get somewhere. To be famous. (For fifteen minutes). Women and girls are continuously bombarded with crass messages about the need to be sexy, beautiful, slim but curvy, because you know, women need to be approved of by men and fit those nice stereotypical images.

    I know, because I got those messages too 30 or 40 years ago, and sadly for me at the time, the only category I fitted into was slim. Not sexy, not beautiful, and definitely not curvy.

    When we feed girls and young women stupid romantic stories about being little princesses, and one day their prince will come .. blah boring blah .. it sits in their subconscious. When we show reality celebrity shows on television or glorify the wife of a footballer because she has achieved a rich and affluent lifestyle, we are reinforcing the old imagery.

    We are saying, ‘If you are a young, beautiful and sexy woman – you will get on in life.’ (So long as you don’t sign a pre-nuptial agreement, that is).

    There is prostitution on the streets. In brothels. And then, there is socially approved prositution. Sell yourself to the highest bidder. And you aren’t just selling your body, don’t forget your soul and your mind are forfeit too.

    The bottom line is that our society continues to objectify women. To treat them as sex objects. And as women, we play up to that. We know no better. It’s our conditioning.

    However much our brain kicks in, we wonder if we will be that princess who captivates the heart of a prince? We won’t of course. And the prince may well turn out to be not so nice anyway. Better the frog than the prince.

    I’ve been there. I’ve been into the (married) star’s dressing room and was asked to go back to his hotel for sex. (More than once). I didn’t. But – it was a narrow escape. I would have been just another groupie.

    It’s time we encouraged our girls and young women to make their own way in life and that doesn’t mean on the back of someone else or on their back. Role models for women should include lawyers, doctors, judges, academics, businesswomen, scientists, accountants, but not a celebrity/showbusiness chattel.

    What’s this got to do with the Jimmy Savile case you ask? Fairly obvious I would have thought. It’s not just the BBC management, employees, and the police who are to blame. Let alone the sexual abusers. It’s a much broader issue that has, at its heart, the portrayal of women in our society as something that exists to give men sexual pleasure, but otherwise, is totally irrelevant in life.

    That’s one of many reasons women don’t pursue cases of sexual discrimination, sexual harassment, sexual abuse, indecent assault, and rape. We aren’t taken seriously. And therefore, we don’t take ourselves seriously.

    Interesting piece from Joan Bakewell looking at not just Savile but the whole culture at the BBC.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2214350/JANET-STREET-PORTER-More-men-TV-just-Jimmy-Savile-women-sex-playthings.html

    Interview of Jimmy Savile by Louis Theroux.

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0304938/quotes

    Savile’s burial

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-york-north-yorkshire-15667111

    Police investigations into allegations over the years against Savile

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/crime/jimmy-savile/9606494/Jimmy-Savile-police-officers-repeatedly-failed-sex-victims.html

    About roughseasinthemed

    I write about my life as an English person living in Spain and Gibraltar, on Roughseas, subjects range from politics and current developments in Gib to book reviews, cooking and geocaching. With other stuff sprinkled in too. My views and thoughts on a variety of topics - depending on my mood of the day - can be found over on Clouds. A few pix are over on Everypic - although it is not a photoblog. And of course my dog has his own blog, but most of you know that anyway. Pippadogblog etc
    This entry was posted in childhood, feminism, journalism, life, media, money, musings, news and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

    32 Responses to Jimmy Savile – how’s about that, then?

    1. Good piece despite the sweeping generalisations. There are a lot of apples in the barrel and they are not all bad! Personally I have a daughter and two granddaughters and a commitment to the respect and equality agenda – so there!

      • I have been extremely specific, added factual detail, and given links to all my sources.

        I didn’t target any apples in particular. Merely that when one is rotten it spreads to the rest in the barrel.

        Nor do I have any idea whether or not having female offspring is an indicator of awareness of gender equality. Judging by your comments about requiring nude sunbathing women to be beautiful, and the Moulin Rouge post, (the first two to come to mind), that doesn’t strike me as much on the respect and equality agenda. Did you get that phrase from a management course?

        I’m not sure what you mean by sweeping generalisations. Perhaps that society is patriarchal and objectifies women? I’ll stand by that one. Or that there is a celebrity cult status in British (and American) media? Or that little girls are told they are daddy’s princess?

        • Andrew Petcher says:

          I don’t disagree with your views, just now and again I dislike your extremism!
          As parents we are all guilty of gender reinforcement but hopefully not behaviour.
          Possibly a management course but I hope it was taught me by my parents.
          I changed the blog posts that you objected to based entirely upon your feedback – you were right – I appreciate it and I am always more careful now not to cause offence.
          Jimmy Saville may have been a rotten apple and should have been thrown out of the barrel but it seems that even Esther Rantzen (by her own admission) turned a blind eye.

          • But isn’t someone else’s extremism someone else’s norm? Or vice versa?

            The Suffragettes were extreme at the time, were they not?

            How about terrorists? Nelson Mandela? Yitzhak Shamir?

            Non-violent civil disobedience? Gandhi.

            How many people believed in weapons of mass destruction? I didn’t. Easy to say after the event but it seemed awfully convenient to me when there was no proof. Was that an extreme view?

            Is Julian Assange extreme for his Wikileaks?

            I don’t see why everyone should fit within an extremely boring box. The world would never move on without thinking people and they tend to think outside the box.

            I’m not any of the above, but I’m sure as hell not curtailing my opinons on my blog. There is plenty of banal mediocre trite shite out there should you not wish to read my ‘extreme’ views.

            Gender reinforcement and behaviour are the same.

            Can’t have been taught to you by your parents if you were still wanting to see extreme naked beauties on Greek beaches.

            You don’t have to change your blog posts for me. At all. I would rather you change the way you think than the way you write your blog posts.

            I didn’t like Esther Rantzen either. I thought she was terrible. My father liked her for some reason on that ghastly late night show she had. That’s Life? I thought she was suck awful on the ghastly kid charity shows she did.

            If it wasn’t sick it would be funny. Charity worker and TV presenter JS allegedly abuses children. Allegedly, charity worker and TV presenter ER doesn’t know anything. Everyone else turns a blind eye.

            My point isn’t about the past. As Kyanite Blue says below, we need to move on and learn rather than looking for scapegoats.

    2. pinkagendist says:

      I agree 100%. I find the whole thing disturbing. Now we’ve got a situation where there may be real victims but also (at their side) attention seekers from all walks of life using the alleged abuse to get their ’15 minutes’. Give interviews, perhaps even sell a book…
      It’s open season. If anyone was ever alone with him they can claim abuse and that’s the end of that. I’m not saying abuse didn’t occur- it seems it did. I just find the handling of it now rather flippant.

      • Thanks Pink.

        I wouldn’t for a minute deny anyone’s claims, and I didn’t want that to come across. But like you, I do then think, how many people can just come up with this when he’s dead?

        It’s a no-win situation all way round (apart from Savile in his gold coffin). Expenditure from the BBC and the police investigating to what purpose? If people have been sexually abused, surely psychotherapy/counselling would be of more use? Or is this just about proving that perfect charity worker was a sexual predator? (I can understand that if I had been one of those girls).

        What I am looking for is a satisfactory end result. Vilifying someone’s name? Fair enough if that happened and putting the record straight, and – like you – I would say it did, but how to prove it?

        I am more interested in changing the way society thinks. Because that’s the only way to prevent this crap in the future. In my dreams eh?

    3. winslie says:

      We are saying, ‘If you are a young, beautiful and sexy woman – you will get on in life.’….
      Also taking into consideration lack of education,employment and parental affection. Surely a person begins to question their self-worth and when combined with all the aspects you have mentioned, it makes a heady cocktail.

    4. Kyanite Blue says:

      First, oddly enough I started to write my own Jimmy Saville post on Friday, but decided my ‘fluffy’ blog was no place to air such stuff!

      I remember JS from the early days of ‘Top of the Pops’ & Radio 1, and then there was ‘Jim’ll Fix-it’ on BBC tv. I was never a fan of his or like you Tony Blackburn but I listened / watched. As a teenager I even went to see Gary Glitter, another ‘fallen’ star due to his sexual preferences perform in his home town of Banbury!

      Moving on, I’m with you 100% that we need to empower todays young women to think glamour, celebrity status is not everything AND to speak up re abuse / rape when it happens whether by the rich & famous or the boy next door when it occurs, not to do it years later for effect.
      What’s happened in the past however sad / wrong can’t be un-done now, and in JS case, as justice can’t be served on the dead, he can’t defend himself against the ever growing number of accusations, some of which I’m sure are fabricated for that moment of fame and nice newspaper fee.
      JS’s it seems was not the ‘nice’ man we liked to think he was & his memory for the good charity work he actually did is now for ever tarnished but shifting the blame to others is no answer. People like Ester Ranzen as commenter Andrew said turned a blind eye as obviously did others, what surprises me that so many are saying ‘I knew’ now.
      Like you I think psychotherapy/counselling is the answer to the abused not more publicity.

      • I kept seeing references to it, and I decided to write about it, because not all the points are being made. It is not just, did this guy abuse children/young people, did colleagues and management turn a blind eye, did the police shrug their shoulders.

        It is far more than that, and so far I have not read one post that acknowledges that.

        This sexual abuse and rape could still happen today.

        I quite liked Gary Glitter (!) but then I liked glam rock.

        Moving on, I’m with you 100% that we need to empower todays young women to think glamour, celebrity status is not everything AND to speak up re abuse / rape when it happens whether by the rich & famous or the boy next door when it occurs, not to do it years later for effect.

        What’s happened in the past however sad / wrong can’t be un-done now, and in JS case, as justice can’t be served on the dead, he can’t defend himself against the ever growing number of accusations, some of which I’m sure are fabricated for that moment of fame and nice newspaper fee.

        Just absolutely, and extremely well expressed. Thanks.

        and

        but shifting the blame to others is no answer.

        is equally pertinent.

        May not be appropriate for your fluffy blog but you certainly made some excellent points over here.

    5. Kyanite Blue says:

      TY Kate!
      Like you, I think the situation runs deeper than Jimmy Saville.
      We know it’s happening right now, rape ,abuse by ‘stars’ using their status to intimidate the vunerable.
      I don’t watch programmes like the ‘X Factor’ etc but think they encougage individuals glorified there too live out fantasies.

    6. Vicky says:

      A truly excellent post!! ………
      …..and good to read a different view on the subject.
      Every day the UK news is full of more and more girls/women/boys adding themselves to the list of abused.
      The allegations have certainly opened a can of worms for the BBC and the police.

      I have to be honest, my initial thoughts when the news broke was, I wonder how many girls did what they did hoping to climb the ladder because he was a celebrity.
      Your words’ fifteen minutes of fame’ ring so true.
      It has also crossed my mind of how many, who to this day, didn’t see anything wrong in what they did then, have just ‘jumped on the bandwagon’ now though, still hoping for their fifteen minutes of fame.

      The most worrying thing to me, are those who’ve announced why they didn’t speak up…….
      ‘I’d have lost my job’
      ‘nobody would believe me’
      ‘his fundraising would have dried up’
      ‘I didn’t realise what he was doing’

      I can imagine a few heads will roll, when/if the truth comes out.
      As for Saville, he’s beyond reach, as it appears he was for most of his life.

      • Kyanite Blue says:

        Sadly the truth is never going to come out – it’s claims against a dead man.
        Re the Police & BBC, unless someone stood firm re the allegation @ the time – they couldn’t act against JS anymore than they could a lesser soul!
        My father abused me as a child, can I prove it, no, no longer as my mothers dead!
        I think there is noting to be gained here but to advise to the young & innocent not to trust easily, be dazzled by stars and to tell all when it happens.

        • @ D – I remember your comments about your father, and hope this post hasn’t upset you :(
          I really think, for the most part it is wasting public money, ie taxpayers money, sifting around in the ashes of time. Like you, I don’t see how any of it can be proved or disproved.
          I wish we could inspire young people to have some confidence in our legal systems. And our society. I don’t see it happening right now though.

          • Kyanite Blue says:

            @ Kate re abuse issues … sorry I shouldn’t make it personal re me, but having been there know what is about, but still think the JS issue is history.
            You cant solve it via publicity
            Education, yes!

            • No worries, it is an extremely relevant point, as was mine about being invited back to a star’s hotel/dressing room. I think JS is history too, but the wider points are most definitely not, as I think we both agree.

              But education v publicity? No, I think publicity wins hands down. And as I am not an educator, I will stick to trying to publicise :)

      • Thanks V. The only one I have read so far that broadens out the issue, because truth be told, I would rather read about replacing Land Rover brake lights, is the Joan Bakewell link I added.

        Girls wouldn’t see anything wrong with what they did, because, that’s what society conditions us to do, which you obviously understood was one of the basic tenets of my post.

        And aren’t those reasons that you have quoted horrifying? And so true. I think ‘nobody would believe me’ is the class one, quickly followed by ‘I’d have lost my job’, then ‘I didn’t realise what he was doing’ – as in, that’s actually ok for him to do that, and ‘his fundraising would have dried up’ – guilt factor, I can’t report him because he is a famous charity worker and it will be all my fault.

        But what good will it serve for heads to roll? And, I doubt Savile is the only one beyond reach. Dead or alive.

        • Vicky says:

          Yes, I thought the Joan Bakewell link was good too.
          You are right there, regarding others being beyond reach.
          The ‘you can’t touch me, because I’m rich and I can’ set come to mind

    7. A woman complained her colleague, not a star, had exposed his penis to her. Her boss laughed. So she shut up about it until months later, when her earlier apparent silence was used as evidence her allegation was not true. Except she had not been silent- but then, the boss was looking for evidence against the man for another reason.

      • An excellent example Clare, thanks for that. Exactly the point I wanted to make but luckily I’ve never been in that situation at work so didn’t have any examples to use. The sexual problems I faced were the usual boring old glass ceiling discrimination ones.

    8. EllaDee says:

      Excellent post. Why beat around the bush… I think that’s one of the points of blogging: a forum to say what you want, how you want… Isn’t there an unwritten dsiclaimer somewhere, if you click on my blog expect to read my opinions. Don’t like them? It only takes another click to vote. We had a recent samesame scenario hit the media in Australia… popular male TV star from decades past named as abuser of young female cast members decades past, with the accompanying knowledge of satellite people yada yada… just change the names… I agree with your comment “I wish we could inspire young people to have some confidence in our legal systems. And our society.” I would add, and themselves. We can’t change the problem or that there is one, but we can inspire a solution. Never even remotely been in similar situation myself. I’m far too blunt & pragmatic. Unwanted blokey attentions got the message hard & fast… And never thought I had to do anyone any “favours” to get ahead. My own steam’s alway been enough. I never had any special kind of upbringing to account for this. I wish I could inspire/gift my own kind of confidence and self esteem onto those who don’t have it… then God save the world from us :)

      • Thsnks ED. I did spend some time considering how I wanted to approach this post. It’s all too easy to slag off someone dead, and the BBC management and the police and .. and . and.. It’s been done so many times.

        The message I tried to get across is that this could so easily be happening now. And that the issue is much greater than one celebrity sexual predator. Anyway, I think most of my readers worked that one out for themselves.

        As for opinions on blogs, most of you know that this is the blog where you will find my more outspoken ones. They are the exception rather the rule on roughseas, never appear on EveryPic or Pippa’s, and the only time they occur on Just Landies is if I am criticising dangerous drivers or selfish people who aren’t prepared to help others.

        Like you – I think if you don’t like something move on. And people do (eg the animal cruelty post). I don’t mind a reasonable critique of what I have written, or even a disagreement based on personal opinion. I’m not too keen on invalid personal attacks but unless they are abusive, they can stand – although I will invariably reply :) I won’t tolerate spam or advertising though!!

        Interesting you had the same in Aus. But was the TV star dead like Savile or was he still alive?

        It’s not just about the confidence though is it? It’s hard for people to buck the trend and be different. It’s hard not to conform to what society and conventional rules seem to demand from you. It was hard not to smoke in my teens because everyone did it (apart from the goody two-shoes brigade) and the strength of peer group pressure can never be under-estimated. You really need inner spirit and resilience to be confident in yourself and your opinions. Not easy in early teens. (Not easy in early 50s either!!)

        I didn’t get hit on a lot in my youth :D I think I must have had a prickly auro surrounding me. Not that it bothered Partner who totally ignored it. Anyway, here is a tale of unwanted attention in my later 40s for your entertainment.

        http://roughseasinthemed.wordpress.com/2007/09/06/postscript-to-paul/

    9. bluonthemove says:

      I was catching up last night on this weekend’s episode of ‘Have I got News for You’ the satirical news quiz broadcast on BBC1 TV. They showed a clip of Savile on the show from years ago talking about how he lived in a motor caravan for 10 years. Ian Hislop then asks him what he did in his caravan, to which he replied “anyone I can get my hands on”.

      The point was made Savile was very good at hiding in plain sight, thats why so many people had heard of the rumours about him, but very few had any evidence. For anyone interested with access to BBC iPlayer, select the extended episode broadcast on Mon 15th and the piece about Savile begins 15 minutes into the show.

    I appreciate any comments you leave, so long as they are relatively polite. And thanks for reading.

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