Memories are selective. Times past get clothed in the gauze of misty eyed nostalgia. Reflecting on them we forget how appalling some people’s behaviour was. The seventies and eighties were a time when we woolly-headed liberals were decrying sexism. The right of centre mocked us. Certain snooker playing, Thatcher loving, homophobic, misogynistic, bigoted, racist, sexual predatory comedians were fondling young ladies in five star dressing rooms. This appalling behaviour was not frowned upon, it was promoted. People forget that. People forget how biased toward men the work place was. Innuendo flew with alarmingly regularity. Pop out and get some fruit for the office. Mind you, you already have a nice pair. How many bottoms were pinched, boobs touched. How a woman seen with another, arms linked perhaps, was derided as being a lesbo. Homosexuality was not acceptable. Gangs of boys went out on Gay bashing sprees. It was a time of change if not revolution but that sanctimonious select few were happy to print page three topless models, happy to perpetuate the concept of male domination. I remember seeing a man press his erection through the fabric of his trousers against a woman’s knee. She laughed obviously displeased but unable to say much for fear of losing her job. What else could she do but laugh? We forget how badly behaved then some men were. Memories are selective.
The outrage currently manifesting itself against paedophiles is a shared sentiment. No one, apart from those few who commit such acts, will condone this criminal activity. I condemn it. We must continue to uncover, catch then bring to justice those guilty of predatory paedophilia, in fact any kind of child abuse. This must remain a priority. In order to achieve this we must ensure we use the law to focus specifically on that crime and not allow ourselves to have our attention diverted.
We now have uncovered two major sex criminals, two paedophiles who were active from and during a period that included the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s and 80’s. Jimmy Savile is dead. Stuart Hall isn't and must now face the full weight of the law when he goes to trial.
There are others in the frame; one being an aged TV presenter much loved by UK audiences. He has been accused by someone who alleges to have seen him in the act of child abuse. We are yet to know the full story. If, and only if, these accusations are founded on fact and can be verified, should we arrest and send the accused to trial. Should his guilt be established then he too, no matter how painful it may be to some, should be trialled, convicted and imprisoned.
But the waters are being muddied. Along with hunting out celebrity paedophiles, which in itself may sell papers but deflects our attention away from those who regularly commit these heinous acts, namely family members, we are dragging in suspects accused of a completely different set of potential criminal activities into the paedophilia melee.
There are two English DJ’s who allegedly abused females but by two very different ways. The first is, yet again, a much loved, much respected man who admitted, if that is the word, long before his death, to having had sex with a great many young females one of whom may have been under age. His comments were not confessional but anecdotal. There are no excuses to offer but reasons that explain why this may have happened. The summer of love in 1967 was a time when the youth of the world, befuddled by dope and fuelled by hope, embraced each other in communal sexual activity. The DJ may or may not have slept with someone of fifteen. If he did then it was undeniably wrong. The fact he didn't check hers, or any other conquests age in a time when the very thing you were engaged in was considered both consensual and cool, is, if regrettable, understandable. It was not the act of the serial paedophile.
The second DJ is a man who, it would seem, was fond of shoving his hand down the tops of female DJ’s whilst they were on the air, fondling their breasts as though the whole thing was a joke. It wasn't If these accusations are verified then he too should face the consequences of his actions but they were not the acts of a paedophile even though they were wrong. They are a testament to the time they took place in; a time when male sexual predatory practise was commonplace.
The other gent is someone I have no affection for whatsoever but nonetheless, however unpleasant I find his right wing, male dominant, racism; he too deserves to be judged fairly but more importantly not dragged into the paedophile witch hunt in order to make the celebrity numbers up. He is, allegedly, the stereotypical office lothario - all mucky words and octopi hands; a lewd, crude, overpoweringly male and possibly very unpleasant person. If he is then let him be judged as such. From what is being alleged, and we haven't had the full report, he too is not accused of under age sex.
Finally we have the BBC. They are central to this continuing scandal. They handled things badly, certainly in the case of Jimmy Savile. Senior members knew his odd ways as did many colleagues, many of whom feared repercussion as Savile was known to be ‘connected.’ No one said anything until far too late in the day. No one whispered what they knew or suspected. I would ask why they didn't. I would ask why it took so long to come forward It would seem that the BBC are now taking the full brunt of not only the things they are guilty of but also those of other companies who turned a blind eye, not to paedophilia, but to the active pursuit of female colleagues. This pursuit took the form of using either offensive sexual innuendo or worse, by touching inappropriately. This activity was commonplace in the 70’s and 80’s. This fact should be remembered. It should also be remembered that many of us were promoting equality along with an end to sexual harassment. At the time the very suggestion of such soft liberal attitudes was sneered at by the right wing press.
I cannot stress forcefully enough how depressing I find all this. Not just the paedophilia which is awful enough, but also the desire by vast amounts of people to pre-judge when facts are absent. I also find it reprehensible that we lovers of democracy who owe our very freedom to the laws we have constructed then chose to ignore them when it suits.
Operation Yewtree is vital in its efforts in exposing a potentially massive paedophile ring. The current investigations may reveal more celebrity sickos. This is all to the good. Savile and Hall’s crimes are despicable. They are the high end of paedophilia. Let’s not lose sight of those who are committing the self-same acts right now under our noses and let us not generalise that all who have acted inappropriately are guilty of the same crime.
all words and art are copyright © of Russell 'C.J' Duffy.To view my books on Amazon/Kindle go here: https://www.amazon.com/author/russellduffy -- For another side of CJ go here: sOMeThiNg For tHE wEeKeND, SiR?