Wednesday, 8 May 2013

(Celebrity) sexual offences.

Before I go into what I really want to discuss here, I'll give you a bit o' background, especially for those who live under a rock(/aren't living in the UK, really. Although if you don't live here, you may as well live under a rock 'cause it sucks to be you). There once was a British man called Jimmy Savile, who was quite the celebrity in the '70s, '80s and '90s. He presented, amongst other shit, a tele programme called Jim'll Fix It, where he granted ridiculous wishes (a group of Scouts want to eat their tea on a rollercoaster? Jim'll Fix It!) for kids. He died at the end of 2011 and after that, a shit tonne of allegations were made about him sexually abusing children he came into contact with. Since the story broke, there have been a string of accusations against various other famous men, here in the UK. The men involved don't fit your cliched image of a sex offender; instead they are mostly well respected men, from the entertainment business to politics, with careers in the spotlight spanning decades. The allegations are mostly historical and against both sexes. At the moment, there barely seems to be a day gone by where another formerly well renowned man is not accused of similar.

The celebrity sexual abuse allegations put forward have come up in the way that vomiting mozzarella does; slowly, but in one long string that never seems to end.  I think to those who do not know the scale of sexual abuse- committed by celebrity or otherwise- the sheer scale of the investigation makes them sceptical. How can so much abuse really have taken place, in any realm? How is it that so many people can have been abused by famous people? Are famous people more likely to offend? Because if not, assuming they did commit the offences, surely there are child abusers everywhere? It doesn't make sense.

Actually, well, it does. Every region, every county, every town, every neighbourhood, probably most roads, even... you'll find either survivor (like many, I'm not a fan of 'victim'. Even when you take out the pitying tone the word seems to suggest, I always wonder, what does that make the abuser? The victor? Ick) or abuser. Sexual offences are committed by people from every class and profession, and the abused can be any age and either sex. In short; it could happen to anybody and it could have happened to anyone you pass. You've never met a sexual offence survivor? Oh, trust me, you have. The scale we're talking about here is more vast than you can imagine. We're out there, hearts beating, brains processing, breathing, walking, talking. We dream, we laugh, we even have been known to dance. We look like everybody else and we try to live like everybody else, too.

Except... we can't, not completely. Life is spent sleeping with one eye open. Sometimes we can't at all. I'm currently detained on a ward for people at the extreme end of the Borderline Personality Disorder range. It should maybe be thought of more as a ward for women who have, mostly, gone through this type of trauma. I would never betray any of the amazingly strong women I have met here by sharing any of their stories, but let me tell you this- there are ones that would singe your eyes to even read. We range in age from 19-40, with the mode age being 22. Our heights, weights, eye colours, accents and backgrounds all vary, but most of us are linked through a shared knowledge of how fucked up people can really be. Would you look at any of us and see a 'victim'? Perhaps in our dark moments, the moments that have led to our having to be hospitalised, but not by glimpse. We don't carry neon signs or have facial tattoos declaring it. The dark moments, though, are darker than I can ever express. The harm we do/have done to ourselves, to compensate for the mental pain brought on by our pasts, covers a huge spectrum and includes things you'd not even have nightmares over.

It's not like this for every survivor, but even for those in the community, living in the real world- it never leaves you. You can live some semblance of a normal life, but still there is a beast inside you, some times bigger than at others, which never runs off; I went to university and pretended to be a student, when really I was little more than the sum of what my demons had spat out. Remember being a kid and that sickening feeling that you're about to get the bollocking of your life? Imagine that, all the time. We are millions and so, by extension, are abusers. Admitting yourself to have been coerced into a sex act is a great taboo... but I will not sit down. I sure as hell won't shut up. Did the celebrities mentioned previously commit these heinous crimes? I don't know, and that's not for me to play judge and jury over. I don't have the evidence either way. But I do know it's possible. It's so, horrifyingly, possible. And, even more horrifyingly, is the fact that the chances of a guilty party being convicted is extremely low.

1 comment:

  1. This is so true Rebecca... so many abuse survivors... my two sisters we sexually abused as were many of the friends I grew up with... I just do not understand the sickness that is in these 'people's' mind... it sickens me so.

    So much that I don't allow my Valentina to be with any man alone, ever... the only man she was alone with was her father and I always warned him if anything happened I would know it was him and I would injure him:)