My thoughts on Jimmy Savile

I never liked him.  Couldn’t watch him but didn’t mind him on the radio on a Sunday.  There was something about him that I just couldn’t look at, though.  I had no idea at the time why that was.

But I remember when he died that I tweeted, somewhat hesitatingly “I don’t like Jimmy Savile.  There I have said it”.

For saying anything against him seemed  akin to blasphemy.   People just didn’t speak ill of him.

Even as this scandal started to really gain momentum people were saying “why didn’t they come forward before now?”

What transpires now is that many of those people did.  People certainly tried to raise the alarm but they were not listened to.   They were either ignored or told “don’t be daft, this is Sir Jimmy Savile, he has raised millions”.

Society was different back then, wasnt it?  Children by and large weren’t listened to.  They weren’t believed.   It is the very reason that Childline was set up.  So that children COULD report abuse and WOULD be listened to.   But many of the children that appear to have been abused by Savile would have been deemed “not credible” anyway.  They were in the care system, or they were in hospitals or they were deemed “fame hungry” and wanting their five minutes in the spotlight.

A lone voice of a child in a children’s home versus Sir Jimmy Savile, raiser of million of Pounds for charity?   Those kids stood no chance of a full investigation being carried out.

In fact many kids didnt even class this as abuse.  I know that sounds unbelievable but it is true.  Some of the children in the home in Jersey have said that they viewed it as payment in kind for trips out to London.   It was what they did in return for cigarettes or a trip to the BBC.  It is only now that they realise this was abuse.   Those that did try and report it as not being right were told not to be so ridiculous, this was Jimmy Savile, and put in solitary confinement.

Each person who tried to report it, and we have heard of many, that did try were lone voices reporting to one person.  Dismissed.   There was no way of all those concerns being joined up and put together as one investigation.   These schools were not connected.   None of these hospitals were.   They all stood alone and had no way of knowing that others were trying to raise the same alarm.

We saw what happened with Ian Huntley when Police Forces failed to talk to each other.   The same is true of this case.

This should not be made to be about the BBC.  The Police forces themselves should also be investigated as vigorously.  Why was Savile interviewed under caution in 2008 and it dropped?   Why wasn’t more made of his involvement with Haute de la Garenne school?  Why did the NHS not investigate more?  What the hell were Broadmoor doing giving him keys?!  Why didn’t Social Services investigate further?

Stoke Mandeville are reported to have known what was going on but turned a blind eye and continued taking up to £40 million from his charity work.  That single fact, for me, is far worse than anything about the BBC being implicated.

What we have known for a long time is that when people did question him, he threatened to sue.  That’s why.  He threatened anybody who dared to dig deeper with withdrawing charity donations to Stoke Mandeville.   He said at one point “do you want to be the one that sees Stoke Mandeville lose all that money?”

That in itself now should raise alarm bells.

Read this quote from the documentary of when Louis Theroux met Jimmy Savile.  They make chilling reading in light of recent revelations.

If anything comes of this it is that we MUST listen to children.   To vulnerable adults.  To anybody who comes forward with allegations of any sort of abuse.   We must investigate and we must act.

And we must stop putting celebrities on pedestals.  They are human beings.  They are capable of vile and despicable acts, just as mere mortals are.

This must not be allowed to happen again.  Within any organisation.

 

 

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  • Beautifully put. There’s nothing that can be done now to punish Savile for his crimes but what must come of this is that we listen to children when they tell us something is wrong.

    And I’m another 70s child who thought there was something not right about Savile.

  • Great post. I liked him on TV as a child and always just thought of him as a bit eccentric.

    Thank goodness society has moved on since back then but I think it still has a little way to go yet x

  • You are spot on. It’s actually unbelievable that these atrocities have occurred on such a great scale and at no point any alarm has been raised. That children have said something and been ignored is unforgivable and I hope those people that turned a blind eye feel sick to there stomachs and have terrible trouble sleeping at night.

  • Well said. He gave me the heebeegeebees, just like Basil Brush….strange how’s it’s not a surprise…and how grateful am I now that he never fixed it for me?? After years of feeling slightly robbed of my childhood dream to meet the Muppets, I now feel positively blessed.

  • Excellent post. As soon as the allegations came out I remembered that discussion with Louis Theroux. The whole thing is shocking and getting more shocking by the day. The only positive is that children these days are listened to and believed and agencies (police, social services, schools, GPs etc) are so much better at working together.

  • We must keep in mind that he was a Papist and the RC Church has been past-masters over the centuries in hiding such perverted behaviour ! Just confess to a priest, then do it again, then confess to a priest, then do it again, then ………………………

    • After all the multitude of scandals in which RC priests were involved and now the Savile exposures (remembering that he had been awarded a Papal Knighthood as a stauch supporter), how anyone can be proud of being a member of the RC Church is beyond comprehension !

  • Amazing how one man had such an incredible hold/influence over so many people. What make the whol thing infinitely more despicable is the fact that he preyed on the most vulnerable. Disgusting. Great post and well said.

  • Yep must admit I never admitted it, but I wasn’t keen either – he made me squirm and something seemed off about him. Seemed pretty obvious to me and I wasn’t surprised about him.
    I remember reading an article from a long standing girlfriend of him who was convinced he was fine – but some of the ways that he behaved just didn’t stack up to me psychologically.

  • Absolutely awful that he was able to ‘buy’ and abuse so many children and get away with it. The Louis Theroux interview is very interesting when you look back.
    I didn’t really have any feelings towards him. I thought he was a bit weird and loved Jim’ll Fix It when I was younger but didn’t feel anything for him at all.
    Hopefully all this coming out will help his victims in some way.

  • I was the victim of child sexual abuse in the 1970s. My abuser wasn’t famous. But it was exactly the same. No one wanted to listen. It was brushed under the carpet. He was never charged, got a warning from the police and that was it.

    The pain of child sexual abuse lasts a lifetime. Nothing makes it go away. You learn to live with it, the memories change and alter over time, but the pain, you are stuck with it, forever.

    I applaud every victim brave enough to stand up now.

    I truly hope that they find some peace now.

    • I am so sorry that you have direct experience of this type of abuse. I do hope that having all of this in the press constantly is not bringing back painful memories.

      Should you ever feel you want to discuss it with anybody there are lots of specialist groups, and I know that Victim Support who I volunteer for have trained advisors. You can self refer at any time.

      You are right though. We must applaud every victim brave enough to speak up.

  • I loved him as a child, but as an adult he always made me uncomfortable but I never knew why… Lets hope that whatever failures have cause this to be hidden for so long never happen again…