When I was researching Hurt, I read a lot, spoke a lot, and thought a lot about paedophiles. I felt I needed to in order to write with any authority about the sexual abuse of children. In the opening chapter ‘ the unspeakable truths’, I wrote about the myths surrounding paedophiles. The media, at the time, would have us believe that they are gruesome monsters, grotesques. I was challenging that view in my introduction, exploring not the possibility, but the reality, that in most cases paedophiles are nicer than nice.
Here we have the sordid truths unveiling of how prolific sex offenders get away with it. By hiding in the open. The archetypal wolf in lamb’s clothing. The case of Jimmy Savile is well documented today, as people struggle to reconcile this magnanimous, generous, popular figure with another aspect – that he was a sexual predator of children. The same is true in the US, the football coach Jerry Sandusky. This time, it was a case of manipulating his role in sport to access children. Like Savile, his persona and work for charity was a cover. Sandusky was sentenced in October 2012 to a long term in prison (30-60 years) for sexually offences against minors following decades of abuse. There can be no case brought against Savile. His death has saved him from prosecution.
In my work at Mosac, a common theme would be the cry of “how did I not know”, from the non-abusing parents. This cry has been echoed down the helpline phone lines, and reverberates around the therapy rooms. They did not know because the paedophiles were not grotesques, they did not present as demons, but as caring, warm people. Grooming of the parent is as much a part of the manipulation in order to sexually abuse their child or children.
It is my hope that in exposing Jimmy Savile as a prolific child sex offender that the general public may stop looking in the shadows for those who steal the childhoods from our children, and start looking in the open.
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