In the wake of revelations after the death of Jimmy Saville that he was a notorious paedophile and prolific abuser I have been saddened and dismayed to hear some in the public eye querying whether it is appropriate for people to report historical abuse.
Surely if someone has been abused, in any way, the most important issue is that it is brought to light and the perpetrators are dealt with? Whether it is reported initially or not.
There may well have been false accusations of celebrities since the police started cracking down on historical abuse but in my opinion they are few and far between.
Of course it wouldn’t be human nature without some unscrupulous people claiming false abuse for the notoriety etc but I hardly think such things are commonplace.
The celebrities and others involved who stand accused may well say “well I was just being friendly, having a laugh” or even that the 60s , 70s and 80s were more permissive but that is missing the mark.
Any behaviour that makes another person uncomfortable or feel violated is abuse whether it is the perpetrators opinion that it was encouraged in some way or not.
As a young woman I was subject to abuse on a couple of occasions. I believe it happens to a lot of young girls and boys. It wasn’t of a nature that I felt needed reporting but it did make me deeply uncomfortable.
One time I was in Leicester square to see New Year in and it was packed obviously, as I walked through the crowd with my boyfriend a couple of men took advantage of the fact that everyone was so tightly pressed together to grope me.
A small incident I know but even so… Another time I worked with a lecherous boss who was always saying highly inappropriate things. I was young and innocent and tried to laugh it off. The ironic thing was he relocated to another store where he was promptly accused of sexual harassment. He asked me to be a character witness, I had to decline for obvious reasons much to his chagrin.
I know on the scale of abuse I have suffered very little. My point is when these brave women or men have finally plucked up the courage to tell of their abuse they should not be castigated for it, whether they came forward at the time or not.
I realise this is a current hot issue but all I’m doing is giving my opinion. You may not share that opinion.
I cannot speak for those men and women who have their lives wrecked by false accusations of abuse. I cannot begin to comprehend what they suffer.
All I’m asking is that we don’t initially assume people are crying wolf or jumping on a popular bandwagon. Can’t we approach it from an attitude of believing victims who may have finally managed to summon the courage to come forward?
Till next time.