During the course of the last couple of years we’ve all been fairly astonished by the depth and scale of the British paedophile scandal.
Turns out that in the 1970’s, Light Entertainment was awash with predatory paedophiles abusing children, and procuring children for others to abuse, along with other criminal sexual and violent acts.
It seems barely a month goes by without new arrests, suspects and accusations being leveled at public figures, before a criminal trial in the case of the (few still) living, or a posthumous reconciliation of the fact that hugely popular cultural figures died having never answered for their abhorrent criminality (Savile, Cyril Smith and others).
Which begs the question; are we witnessing a witch-hunt? Are the public so buoyed-up by this tidal wave of historical – I hate the use of this word, in this context, because it suggests a distance that doesn’t exist – paedophile exposure that we want more? Are vulnerable ex-celebrities sitting targets for women who were kids in the 70’s, just waiting to prey on their wealth and notoriety for personal gain?
Well, the answer to that is almost certainly, no. And there are good reasons for that. Liz Kershaw, who has spoken brilliantly about her experiences with Savile and given some great insight into the culture of Radio 1 whilst she worked there, suggested that Operation Yew Tree don’t need evidence to go after certain celebrities, which is why she felt it wasn’t appropriate for her to pursue a sexual abuse incident in the workplace prosecution after a colleague (she won’t name) put his hands up her top at work. She says she felt this wasn’t a sexual act in any case, and was more about power, and putting her “in her place”.
It is, of course, her own choice about whether or not she wants to pursue the matter. And it is also her own choice as to how she wishes to view the assault.
Nonetheless; I think it is worth mentioning that Paedophilia and rape are always about power. Power and control are the central premise of all violent sexual criminal activity.
Which is why most victims of sexual abuse never report the abuse, either in the moment or retrospectively (once again, that historic word irks me, and I don’t think it’s either accurate or ethical) and why the current stream of child sex abuse claims aren’t really a witch hunt.
When a person reports an “historic” sexual abuse allegation, even in the current climate, and with great swathes of new jobs for people assigned to treat alleged victims more sensitively than before, they are forced to recite details of the incident. There is a burden of proof to be ascertained.
No famous person under the Yew Tree umbrella is going to go prison for one solitary accusation, or even several accusations, that don’t follow the same pattern.
It is possible, indeed probable, that many victims of celebrity child abusers felt that the Yew Tree investigation has afforded them the opportunity to speak out about their abuse, but ultimately the CPS needs to feel there is enough of a case for it to go to court. And we are talking about some of the wealthiest people in the country who have shrouded themselves in some of the best criminal defense teams.
Criminal profilers know that predatory paedophiles are most successful when they create an outward profile of impunity. Priests, teachers, scout leaders, community workers, religious leaders, and charity workers make for typical working choices for paedophiles. Which is not to say – of course – that everyone involved in these professions are doing so to abuse children. Of course, the vast majority of people in these professions won’t abuse children. But if you were wanting unsupervised access to vulnerable children, and a moral standing in the community that afforded you protection, these occupational choices would seem logical.
Reeks a bit of Daily Mail that, but I make no apologies.
Of course, parents, family members and family friends, perpetrate most sexual abuse of children, which is much harder in terms of social prevention.
The point is that this dynamic, of private predator and public saintliness serves paedophiles extremely well.
In the case of celebrity paedophiles, I’m sure we’ll see bigger ‘saints’ exposed, which brings me to the main crux of my argument.
As more and more public figures come under scrutiny – indeed rumours abound about Elm House Guest Lodge and a number of other celebrities and establishment figures. How long will it be before – and it’s sort of beginning already – this progress in examining the paedophilic activity of public figures, will be dampened by outcries from people who start to see people they like or admire exposed as child abusers?
Woody Allen’s a good example. Us leftie, thinkers love an Allen, film don’t we? We’ve loved to see the philosophical, neurotic, wit make films about… oh, fucking impossibly attractive young women again. And them fucking each other. And them fucking him for a bit, using words they’d never use, and then fucking off again.
You’ve got two clear camps here. You’ve got the “handy if you want to justify loving Allen films” version of bitter Mia Farrow, who fucked Sinatra when she was 19 anyway, so she hasn’t got a leg to stand on, and he’s been happily married for over twenty years and she wasn’t his adopted daughter, side.
And then you’ve got the… he was fifty and took pictures of his girlfriend’s nineteen year old daughter’s fanny, which she subsequently found. You’ve known this girl since she was eight, so the length of your marriage matters not one fucking jot, your adult daughter still maintains you abused her and your art belies your odd and unsettling preoccupation with young women. So there’s something disturbing about your sexual behaviour at the very fucking least. Also, to attribute an alleged survivor’s account to manipulation, is a really clever way to strengthen that dichotomy I spoke about earlier when paedophiles cultivate their public image to detract from their criminality.
“What’s the scandal? I fell in love with this girl, married her…”
Well, you met her when she was 8 and you were 45, Woody. She’s the sister of your kids, Woody. She was your girlfriend’s daughter, Woody.
The truth is, I don’t know whether Woody abused his daughter. But more importantly, neither do you.
Victoria Coren seems to though, give this shit a read if you can’t stand the thought of your favourite filmmaker being a paedophile:
Probably don’t read it if you’ve ever been the victim of a sexual crime though, because it turns out Victoria doesn’t trust your own version of what happened to you.
Which is the sole reason many survivors don’t ever want to publically accuse their abusers. They fear they won’t be believed.
“We’re not saying you’re a liar, because in your head it probably seemed that way…”
There’s no getting away from the fact that that Guardian article is potentially the most offensive, cunty thing I’ve ever read. Nonetheless, I do understand that compulsion to not want your favourite celebrity to be a paedophile. I myself am a big fan of the music of Michael Jackson, but those rumours persist and there is no getting away from the fact that his relationship and dubious proximity to great numbers of children is at the very least questionable.
It’s ok for Fred Talbot and Rolf Harris, but we’re not quite so fucking vocal about Pete Townshend’s book that never materialized or Bill Wyman’s marriage to Mandy Smith.
And these paedophiles, alleged paedophiles and men whose sexuality is at the very least questionable… they use their cool ticket in the same way priests and scout leaders use their social currency. Because people are unable or unwilling to look past carefully constructed power structures that may, or may not be, the very platform upon which their criminal activity rests.
There’s no witch-hunt. The people who bravely come forward to accuse their abusers face no five minutes of fame, usually constitute a wider body of robust evidence – Talbot wrote a fucking diary of abuse and was still acquitted of some of the crimes he was accused of – they have to make their way through the legal teams of much richer people, and – most often – their testimony never even makes it to court.
It’s time to separate the art from the crime. Which seems easier to do when it’s Rolf Harris, not the Rolling Stones. It’s time to understand, recognize and address institutional paedophilia – in all its guises – from Westminster to fucking Hollywood. While we’re at it, this Independent Review (which has had to be disbanded because everyone the Tories pick to run it turns out to be related or known to high profile politicians, Lords and royalty who are all implicated in an alleged paedophile ring of which Savile is alleged to have been a part, which might explain why he was effectively handed the keys to Broadmoor, where he allegedly abused the ill) needs to kick in, but it never will because all roads lead to Thatcher and the Throne. It’s time to recognize that the talented paedophiles are still fucking paedophiles. And it’s time Victoria Coren Mitchell fucked right off.