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.