It’s my Opinion

YOUNGER readers under the age of 40, could be forgiven for wondering and asking just how Jimmy Savile managed to get away with preying on children over a period of some 40 years without being picked up the system.

The fact this evil man was able to continue his abuse says much about our whole society, for while it is easy to blame the BBC, the police and his colleagues over the years, we were all to blame - including those who watched TV.

His creepy dealings in front of cameras with young, innocent girls and boys were there for all to see, yet no one except the children raised any kind of protest, and were in the main ignored when they did.

“Shameful,” you under 40’s rightly say, and yet it happened, continuing through Savile’s career. What was happening?

Attempting to answer this justified question is difficult, but for what it is worth it’s my opinion that in the 1950s there was a different attitude to women in particular which with hindsight was wrong, bordering on ignorant. They were seen as lesser beings, made to battle for any form of kind of equality in a man’s world where anti-female attitudes were prevalent, leading to a dreadful societal imbalance.

Even our humour of the day was geared to keep women in their place. In my teenage days of the same era I well recall jokes which could not be contemplated in the 21st century, many aimed at not only women, but children.

For those of you of my vintage who do not recall these jokes, I would suggest you either have a short memory, or do not want to remember the appalling explicit sexual nature of them.

The truth is we were never able to say these excesses were wrong, operating on the basis that they were the norm, which staggeringly was not too far away from the reality of the day. I believe there will be a number of old men in communities throughout the land who dread every knock on the door, fearfully waiting for their mucky pasts to catch up them.

Personally I know of families where abuse was commonplace, taking place behind closed doors, but well known to the wider community in my own Border country. And yet no action was taken against the perpetrators.

Not that such behaviour was exclusive to the Scottish Borders, for when I came to Aberdeenshire in 1971 I discovered as a member of the Children’s Panel that incest was still an issue in rural areas.

Amazingly some mothers even passed on their sexual obligations to their daughters in some cases, or perhaps the majority, then men got away with it, except for the ones we had to deal with in the Shire, and on occasion Aberdeen City.

The workplace was not exempt, as I also recall in the mid 1960’s when men pretty well regarded the fair species as not only not unequal, but objects of desire which, if you dared, were there to be exploited.

Nothing is in fact new - unless it is in the facing up to the issues coming home to roost at an alarming rat, and resultant enlightenment.

We must hope so.