Doesn’t this sound profusely grotesque now?
Ignorance is bliss, or so they say, but not at the sacrifice of 200 victims of Jimmy Savile and the BBC’s ‘paedophile ring’. Six decades worth of ignorance has come to the forefront of society in just over 3 weeks. How can something so prolific, so blood-curdlingly disturbing, be kept for so long?
For those who have watched the Panorama special on Jimmy Savile, Karen Ward’s case will be familiar. Ward, interviewed by Newsnight last year, described the sexual abuse that she endured at the hands of Savile, as well as witnessing renowned paedophile, Gary Glitter, partaking in similar acts with other girls. Ward, a student at Duncroft Approved School for Girls encountered Savile at her school, whereby she states that he took girls out of the school and abused them in his car. Ward herself was abused by Savile, he offered her the opportunity to be on his TV show in return for oral sex and molested her. In the BBC itself Ward visited Savile’s dressing room, teeming with teenage girls, and witnessed Gary Glitter having sex with one of them.
Savile’s exploits however were not merely confined to young females, he also used his status to molest young boys. An interviewee described how he, at the age of 9, was included on one of Savile’s shows with his fellow boy scouts whereby Savile presented the scouts with a shared badge for their efforts. However, after the show, Savile approached the 9 year old boy and asked him if he would like a badge of his own. Savile took the young boy into a small dressing room and began touching him, with the boys own hands forced onto Savile’s groin.
As seen in the media, the BBC is not the only institution coming under fire for permitting Savile to navigate so easily around young people. The NHS is also under fire. Broadmoor Hospital, a high security psychiatric hospital, also gave Savile access to the young and vulnerable. One female patient described how Savile put his hands between her legs, without looking at her or acknowledging her, as if this was an expected and usual occurrence.
From looking at these three cases alone out of a possible 200 arising throughout six decades of abuse; it is evident that Savile was a manipulative, repugnant and malicious paedophile. The way in which he navigated the BBC studios, Duncroft school and Broadmoor Hospital exemplifies the fact that not only do he victimise the young, but also the vulnerable- being those described as ’emotionally disturbed’ and mentally unstable. What is even more copiously infuriating is the way in which Savile portrayed his own antics to his colleague’s and other celebrities including the ‘Have I Got News For You’ panellists.
In the video above Savile replies to Ian Hislop’s question “What did you do in the caravan?” with “Anyone I can lay my hands on”. In hindsight this reply is incredibly poignant, Savile’s dismissive and instinctive reply seems obvious looking back. The roars of laughter from the audience are an echoing emblem of the ignorance in which we were once bathed in regarding Savile’s paedophilic nature, which shows a striking contrast with the most recent series of ‘Have I Got News For You’ where Savile’s picture incited unease amongst the audience. This purely highlights what a revelation this has been to the public, but in some respects how ignorant people were beforehand, and how easily victims of Savile had previously been dismissed because of Saville’s ‘celebrity status’.
What we need to prevent is the glorification of celebrities, or anyone, to god-like proportions, whereby the testimony of other’s is disregarded. Although this has been revealed now, the damages to these victims lives is unrepairable, not only have they been abused and manipulated by Savile, but they have also been failed by society and made to feel that no one would believe their word against Savile’s. It is evident that many victims attempted to report Savile but no further action was taken. Society should support and encourage victims of any form of abuse to speak out, if not for their own well-being but to prevent the further harm of others, and in Savile’s case to gain justice before it is too late. Coinciding this, authoritative institutions should also act effectively in response to any such claim in this case the BBC, the NHS and the Crown Prosecution Service.
We need to fix this.