Nicola Barry

Monthly Archives: October 2012

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Jimmy Savile scandal

Post about Jimmy Savile scandal. Image of BBC Director Ge...

BBC Director General George Entwistle.

Jimmy Savile’s Shame Is Our Shame

Most of us like to remember Sir Jimmy Savile, Britain’s first really famous DJ, as a multi-tasker: a miner, a wrestler, cyclist, dance hall manager, marathon man, member of Mensa, Top of the Pops presenter, arguably this country’s most successful charity fundraiser and, perhaps, most famously the fixer, the man who realised childhood dreams.

The man we do not like to remember is Sir Jimmy, the pervert.

Oh, come on, we all had our suspicions.

I interviewed him twice, in recent years. Twice I explained his reputation to the editors in question. Both men were quite clearly bowled over by the man’s so-called charm and willingness to befriend them.

Those two editors were in good company. Savile’s pals were many and powerful. They included the BBC, the Catholic Church, the NHS, the Royal Family and countless charities – most notably the wonderful Stoke Mandeville Hospital, in Buckinghamshire.

Never mind the shock of the Panorama revelations on Monday night, women are still coming forward to claim the DJ sexually abused them.

Now, suddenly, we are all surprised and horrified that a man we thought of as generous and caring is widely alleged to have abused children, many of them vulnerable and institutionalised.

For God’s sake, how many times do we have to be told that child molesters rarely come across as the monsters they actually are?

The fact that someone lusts after children is monstrous, all right, but, in the main, paedophiles look like ordinary men and women; occasionally extraordinary like Sir Jimmy Savile.

And that is where society has its biggest problem.

We may not like this fact but adults who are sexually attracted to children often present to the world as very nice people, real pillars of the community, churchgoers, priests, sons, lovers, brothers and husbands. Not monsters.

Sir James Wilson Vincent Savile, OBE, KCSG, was born in Leeds on October 31, 1926, the youngest of seven.

The family lived in the same house for 60 years then he moved to Roundhay Park, Leeds where he died last year.

He was remarkably fit for his years; completing 216 marathons. He loved to tell people that running had turned him into a sex symbol.

That jokey persona was his most precious weapon. Everyone fell for the loveable rogue on the surface.

His very respectability was what made him so difficult to catch. And, believe me, most paedophiles are not caught.

The BBC top brass, like Director General, George Entwistle, is agonising about how they should have known what Savile was doing; that they should have stopped it. Maybe so but, often sexual abuse takes place in the home and not even the mother knows what is going on.

Most of us want to protect children from abuse. It is therefore about time we learned as a nation to tackle the problem effectively.

Treatment is what paedophiles need. And I mean harsh lessons learned through confrontation with victims, through being forced to see how much children suffer at the hands of perverts.

We also need to learn that paedophiles lie about what they have done. Telling lies is their area of expertise.

Unfortunately, child sexual abuse depends for its continued survival on denial. And child molesters will go to extraordinary lengths to hide the fact they have abused children.

What was clear from the Panorama programme is that many people had suspicions – some even saw Sir Jimmy in action with young girls.

It is unforgivable when an authority with the clout of the BBC fails to take action after children have claimed – as adults now in the documentary – that they were abused.

By failing to act, those producers/colleagues have, effectively, condoned the abuse.

So many of the women interviewed said they wanted to report Savile but knew they would not be believed as children – because they were in institutions, because they came from broken, abusive homes.

Imagine that for a moment.

Imagine the devastation of a child who has plucked up the courage to “tell” and nobody does anything to help them. The child is disbelieved.

Yet statistics show that children rarely lie about sexual abuse.

Child molesters, on the other hand, lie about it all the time.

 

Article focus: Jimmy Savile scandal

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Political correctness in children’s books

Re political correctness in children's books: image of Noddy and Big Ears

Political Correctness Gone Daft

It seems people can do, more or less, what they like with the work of deceased authors.

Just look what happened to Noddy once the PC lobby got hold of him. Prudes are dangerous people. They interpret literature according to their own prejudices.

When, as a child, I saw pictures of Noddy and Big Ears in bed together, I thought they were asleep. I never once thought: ‘Oh look, they’re at it again, old Wooden Leg and the Weird, Red-cheeked, 100-year-old Brownie. What a pair of perverts’.

It takes an adult to think like that.

Noddy, in his beautiful red shoes with their camp blue bows, big jingling hat and tears which plopped endlessly down his little wooden cheeks, was my childhood hero.

Yet, as an adult, I have heard him described as racist – because of the golliwogs, ageist because of his treatment of Big Ears, even a pervert because of his obsession with spanking.

So, the books were changed.

In my day, Noddy would say to Tessie Bear: ‘I’m driving my car to Mr Straw’s farm and I expect he’ll be doing a bit of spanking, so you can’t come.’

OK, it does sound odd now, but the point is it didn’t when I was a child. Children take things at face value.

Tessie Bear, by the way, was a simpering moron of a girl who would not have been able to stomach the sight of her precious Noddy being beaten to a wooden pulp with a slipper.

Twerps also managed to ruin Bill and Ben, the Flower Pot Men by computerising them. The original Teletubbies, Bill and Ben only ever spoke when the gardener went for his lunch. And Little Weeee – eeed watched for him coming back.

What on earth will the TV producers do to George when they portray her as an adult in the Famous Five? No doubt they’ll be terrified of upsetting minority groups.

Smarmy Julian, his brother Dick, irritating sister Ann, cousin George and Timmy the dog, are just some of the creations of Enid Blyton, an author vilified and praised in equal measure, but read by millions of children the world over, nevertheless.

George was a good match for the boys, who, incidentally, were rather wet, weren’t they? Always dressed in neat little shorts and freshly pressed shirts, they did nothing but zoom off on their bikes to solve idiotic mysteries.

George was certainly a feminist, if not a rabid lesbian.

They enjoyed themselves, had an innocence about them. They had a childhood.

I wish they would leave these characters alone. They are a piece of our history and should remain an inviolate childhood memory.

 

Article focus: political correctness in children’s books

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Stranger danger

Stranger danger? Picture of April Jones

April Jones

Stranger danger paranoia – the real risk to childhood

In spite of our intense fear of ‘stranger danger’, most assaults on children are carried out in the home by fathers, brothers, uncles – relatives who daily betray the trust of youngsters they’re supposed to love.

Only a handful of children are abducted by strangers every year in Britain. The figure has never really altered. However, in this paedophile-obsessed century, an adult is always on hand, ready to curb a child’s freedom and, yes, that adult is caring and watchful but desperate to keep their young under their loving, if demented, parental gaze.

We are gradually moving towards an age where there will be no childhood. We are about to abolish it forever, because we reckon it presents too many dangers.

Perspective

During the so-called happiest years, children vanish, children are run over, children die on school trips and a few are abducted. Since 5-year-old April Jones went missing, the ensuing publicity has meant parents’ fears have been multiplied a million times over.

Even though one missing child is too many, the likelihood of it happening is as rare as it always was. Sadly, our response is to keep our children under lock and key, in a prison of our own making. We punish them for being children and wanting adventure.

Statistics reveal how paranoid we have become. In 1970, up to 80 percent of seven year olds in the UK travelled to school in the company of other children, unsupervised, but, by 1990 that figure had dropped to fewer than 10 percent.

Forty years ago we walked to school. Now, no matter how many times researchers tell us that driving children to school is making them fat, we carry on doing it anyway, in the belief that it will keep them safe. Thousands of children are killed or injured on the roads in this country, yet, remember, it is the GOOD parents who drive their kids to school.

Confused? You should be.

Parents try desperately hard to shield their children from the possibility, however remote, of being abducted, molested or run over. Not surprisingly, children are paying a very high price for all this supervision. We now have children reared on mindless videos and pap TV, the tellytubby generation, who, if they leave the house at all, it’s only to go and buy a fizzy drink and hamburgers to accompany a DVD.

There are no bicycle rides to the seaside, no picnics in the woods, no camping in the garden – not without adults present anyway.

The fact is children need risk in their lives in order to grow up. They can never be 100 percent safe. How can they protect themselves from weirdos in chat rooms on the Internet or drug pushers in clubs in big cities if they have never learned how to assess risk and cope with trouble?

Let’s be blunt: the possibility of your child being snatched is about the same as the possibility of you winning the Lottery.

The chances of it happening are one in a million, but then, when you see the hell little April’s family are going through, you begin to wonder whether that finger could one day hideously turn and point at you – and you panic.

Unfortunately, the only person who suffers as a result of your panic is the child you so desperately want to protect.

 Article focus: stranger danger

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