The Savile Case has disturbing parallels with just about every incident of institutional child abuse
October 26, 2012 4 Comments
Nothing irritates me quite like hearing pundits as well as normal people talk about all those echoes of the Catholic Church scandals in the Savile case.
There was a fascinating, if incredibly worrisome, truth laid out by Malcolm Gladwell recently in the New Yorker. The fact is, pedophiles have a nasty habit of working their way into positions of trust with access to a pipeline of potential victims. With their sick end goal in mind, this process can often take many, many years. Its a big investment, but the payoffs are huge for the dedicated child molester. It happens in churches. It happens in sports. It happens in charities. It happens in schools and even governments To me, the Sandusky case at Penn State and the case of Jimmy Saville are remarkably similar. In both cases, men won the hearts and minds of ordinary people due to their tireless charity work with poor, vulnerable children or the sick. Its incredibly disturbing to think that this was never done with the well-being of the poor or sick children in mind, but rather an elaborate way to get a constant supply of them for sexual pleasure.
Unfortunately, there is an equally powerful trend of people within institutions turning a blind eye, burying cases, making excuses and hoping it all goes away. “Pretend you’re asleep, he’s here” is what Stoke Mandeville nurses reportedly told patients when Savile came calling.
A combination of deception on the part of the pedophile and a habit of looking away on the part of colleagues in institutions. That’s how all these people, from Sandusky to Savile, as well as numerous pedophiles from the churches to the boy scouts, get away with it.
The most interesting aspect of the Savile scandal may not be how well, as a BBC employee, he fits into the institutional trend. It might instead be the silence of the notoriously tough and often vicious British tabloids, as noted by Michael White.